Interview with Jay Giannone from Safe

Photo Credit: Life
March 12th, 2012

Recently, Movie Room Reviews had a chance to talk to Jay Giannone, one of the stars of the new action movie Safe. Jay was kind enough to tell us about his acting influences, his role in Safe, and his thoughts on working with his friend Jason Statham.

1. Hey Jay, fans all over the country are awaiting the release of the new action flick "Safe" and I bet you are
pretty excited as well. You play the role of Detective Kolfax, an undercover cop who has to face life or death
danger on a daily basis. Can you tell us more about your role as detective Kolfax and how you went about preparing
to play him?

-Detective Kolfax is basically the pit bull of the detectives that are operating under the captain played by Robert Burke. Kolfax is a serious guy who takes care of business and is ready to risk it all. He is a gun toting, ass kicking guy who is ready to do work. I trained with the Philadelphia Police department at the academy. We worked on target practice at the range, proper form, and on approach. Approach is everything for detectives who are constantly risking their lives and entering situations with weapons involved. I learned that its SAFETY 1st. I have friends that are detectives and they are regular guys so I kind of just approached this role using my instincts.

I also worked on the fight scenes with Jason, and the stunt coordinators, JJ and Chad. I had a lot of fun. Its hard work. Timing is everything when doing fight scenes. I wouldn't want to hurt anyone or get hurt. I got in really good shape for the film. I trained by lifting free weights and also did pilates with my friend Leasi, to stretch and tone up. I was ready and felt great by the time I was in rehearsals. My friend Arnold Chon who is an incredible stunt man and martial artist worked on the film as well and he had been training me and preparing me for stunt fighting for about a year before this opportunity presented itself.

2. Luke Wright, played by your friend Jason Statham, is on a serious mission to rescue a girl who has been
abducted. How was it getting to work with him on a film like this and did you two get to have a lot of scenes

-Working with Jason was a dream come true. He is a great actor and incredible at what he does. We are side by side and on a mission together. The writer director Bozaz Yakin wrote us in a lot of action sequences together. If you love fight scenes and guns blazing, then you'll love SAFE.

As a friend Jason is straight up and a brother. We knew one another prior to SAFE. I met him when he was doing The Italian job with Mark Wahlberg, who I had been friends with since back home in Boston, and Jason and I hit just hit off. He is the type of guy that if I call him or text him, he hits me right back always. He is a very busy guy too. He is the hottest action star in the world filming movie after movie but yet he takes time for his friends and that shows who he really is. A brother.

Working with academy award winning producer Lawrence Bender (Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Bastards) was also dream come true. I look up to him as an artist. He is a great guy too. He has made some of the greatest movies of our time. It was an extreme honor to work with him and to watch him work on set.

3. From the pictures I've seen, "Safe" looks like it is definitely going to have some intense action scenes. Did
the stunts and fighting scenes make your role more challenging?

-I would say yes to the stunts and fighting, making the role more challenging. Its all about timing. There are other actors working and everyone has an assignment so coordination is important. Everything has to be timed perfect for a specific shot or sequence. It was a lot of work and when your making a serious action film like SAFE, perfection is essential.

4. in 1996 you landed a part in the TV series Pacific Blue and have gone on to do shows like Entourage, The Mullets,
and Without a Trace. Was landing the role in Pacific Blue your big acting break? What show was the most fun to
work on?

-Ahh Pacific Blue was my 1st big break. I had a chance meeting with Alan Mruvka that came through my friend Jacky Gilardi who was an up and coming producer at the time. His dad is a big agent as ICM and they had told Alan about me who was the Executive producer. When Alan and I met he seemed to like my street saavyness so after a general meeting he had set me up with an audition and I landed a role. I played a drug dealer on the boardwalk of Venice beach. It was a great experience. I cant really say that I have a favorite show that I worked on because they were all blessings and great experiences.

5. I see that when you were growing up your family was full of artists. Your grandmother was a song writer and your
mother was a musician and an actor. How much influence did this have on you? How cool is it that your mom was in
a rock band?

-Growing up in the projects in Southie was rough especially after my father was killed. So we used art to keep our minds busy and to ease the pain. I was an artsy kid and I owe all that to my Mom. She was a theatrical actress, did stand up comedy and she also sang in a band. My mother would do impressions and accents all the time when I was a kid, and me and my brother Anthony would be laughing in hysterics at her. She is a real character. My grandmother loved to sing and her mother was a painter. I can remember my great grandmother with a brush in her hand painting pictures in the living room all the time.

6. You were involved in the music scene for awhile but then switched to acting. Why did you switch and do you miss
doing music?

-I had a recording contract at 17 as a rap artist. By the age of 21 I was signed to Destiny Records out of Washington D.C and was in a group called Urban Attitude during the height of the boy band days. When the group split I came to Los Angeles to pursuit music and wound up with my old pal Mark Wahlberg and he invited me in to a group that he created called One Love. We traveled around the world and had a lot of fun. After Pacific blue, I met an writer producer actor named Jimmy Cummings. Jimmy was getting ready to make a movie called Southie which would be my feature film debut. From there on acting become my new found love and music too the back seat. Although I still write and produce songs for film and tv because of my love for music. I will always be a song writer and performer.

7. What's the best piece of advice you have been given about acting that you can share with all the aspiring actors
out there?

-My mother always told me to be myself. She taught me to live in the moment, to act things out as if it were really happening to you. She told me that the key is to not act and to just be you. I would give that advice to any up and coming actor with a dream. Be yourself and use your past experiences to your advantage. They are attributes.

8. Between the upcoming release of "Safe" on April 27th and currently working on the new Crime/Drama "The Iceman"
with Chris Evans and James Franco, are you excited about your future on the big screen?

-The ICEMAN is jsut as exciting as SAFE. I am really blessed to be given the opportunity to do what I love. I am in to expression and in the form of acting. I am quite passionate about it. The ICEMAN was a dream come true. I really like Michael Shannon and Stephen Dorf. They are 2 of my favorite actors so to be in a picture with them, Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, and James Franco, written and directed by Ariel Vromen is out of this world to me. I cant believe God has blessed me with this much opportunity. I feel honored to be a part of all the wonderful films that I have been invited to perform in. Right now its all about SAFE, and it hits theatres in the U.S April 27th before spreading across the planet like a wild fire. I am extremely excited for the wolrd to see this film.