Interview with Michael Rapaport from "Last I Heard"

Photo Credit: Photo by Fred Hayes – © 2011 Fred Hayes – Image courtesy
June 11th, 2013

Movie Room Reviews was lucky enough to spend some time with the great veteran actor Michael Rapaport.  Many people remember Michael for his role on the hit TV show Friends and movies like Deep Blue Sea.  Movie Room Reviews spent some time asking him about his new film Last I Heard.

Nick Leyland from Movie Room Reviews:  Hello?

Michael Rapaport:  Hey, it's Michael Rapaport.

MRR:  Hey Michael, what's going on man? How are you doing?

Michael:  I'm doing good, how are you doing?

MRR:  Great, great. I just actually got done watching your movie a little bit ago.

Michael:  Oh cool.

MRR:  Yeah, I thought it was really good.

Michael:  Thank you.

MRR:  Yeah, where are you at today?

Michael:  I am on the 10 Freeway in Los Angeles, California.

MRR:  Oh, is it backed up? [laughs]

Michael:  Yeah, it's actually moving pretty good so far.

MRR:  Well I appreciate you calling in, and we thank you so much.

Michael:  Thanks for having me.

MRR:  So many people have seen you in movies, like "The Sixth Day", "The Hitch", and "Men of Honor", and shows like "Friends" and "Prison Break" and "My Name Is Earl". The list goes on and on. First of all, congratulations on such a great career.

Michael:  Thank you so much. I appreciate that.

MRR:  But we're here to talk about this new movie that you...I believe it comes out tomorrow (June 8th) in the Seattle International Film Festival.

Michael:  Yeah.

MRR:  It's called "Last I Heard", and you star as Bobby DiBianco. You're alongside the veteran actor Paul Sorvino, who everyone knows from movies like "Good Fellas". Can you just give our audience a quick rundown on the film and your part as Bobby?

Michael:  It takes place in an area of Queens, Middle Village Queens. It's a really cozy area in Queens, New York. I play a regular family guy who happened to grow up next to a mobster that Paul Sorvino plays, who would be equivalent to a John Gotti, who goes to prison 20 years earlier. In the beginning of the film, this guy who was a big, tough, mean, scary mobster, he's out of jail and now he's an older man and things have changed. He's no longer a big tough guy. He's an older guy with physical problems and stuff like that. It's getting his life on track and getting him into the real world of the reality of his life today. It's a really heartfelt film about a relationship between these two guys and their family.

MRR:  Right. And your role as Bobby, it's a really interesting role because he's like a straight-up good dude. He's a really good guy and he wants the best, but he's not a pushover, either. That's the twist of it, I think. A lot of roles you see the good guy, but he gets pushed around a little bit, you know? What did you find the best part about the role? Did you model him after anybody that you knew?

Michael:  I really liked that part of the role. I like that he's a good guy, but also at the end of the day he's going to look out for himself and he doesn't really get taken advantage of. I model him after some of the people that I was hanging around in Queens. It was really well written, so I didn't have to go too far and come up with too much. The writer/director Dave Rodriguez did a really good job of putting it on the page, and I hope to think of myself -- my higher self -- as a good guy. It wasn't too hard to come up with the character, but there was definitely a lot on the page to work with.

MRR:  You know, you are a true New York guy. How did the film sit with you in terms of the reality of it?

Michael:  I think the film is so New York. It's very New York. It was an all New York crew. We were in a really specific, special little part of Queens, Middle Village Queens. That was great. I loved the New York-ness of the film, and I think it's as authentic as it could be.

MRR:  Right, that's the way I felt, actually. I just visited there recently. It felt like you were in New York. Some movies that say they're in New York aren't actually in New York. [laughs] You know?

Michael:  Yeah, this is definitely...It's all New York everything.

MRR:  You spoke of director David Rodriguez, and you worked with him on "Push" and "Should've Been Romeo". What does he bring to the table for a movie like this?

Michael:  Dave is a very collaborative director. He really respects actors and he really respects the crew and the community aspect of making a movie, which is a lot of fun because you don't feel like you work with a dictator. He's very inclusive and makes it a very good work environment, and I think it brings the best out in everyone who's working.

MRR:  For a movie like this, in "Last I Heard", it's the director's job, I guess, to...In terms of what comes across as the most important, what do you think? Was it the characters? Storyline? The redemptions or the violence or things like that?.

Michael:  I definitely think it starts with the story. I think the story is an age-old tale. Then it's the writing. It's what's on the page. I think that the characters are really rich and unique. All those elements make for something fun for an actor to be able to get himself into.

MRR:  It might be called a gangster-type movie, but there's not really that much gangster stuff that goes on in the movie. But as a fun question, what kind of gangster-type movies  are your favorite -- and why -- that you've grown up with?

Michael:  I think all the Scorsese stuff is obviously the cream of the crop. The Godfather Trilogy, that's all special and fantastic. All those films are just really compelling because, I think, it's a great story. There's a fantasy aspect that people relate to. It's a romanticized version of what these peoples' lives are like. It makes it seem like almost an enticing road to travel down, but at the end of the day usually the bad guys don't get away. Those are my favorite ones.

MRR:  Which is where your movie picks up, right?

Michael:  Exactly, exactly.

MRR:  Which is a cool take on it, I think.

Michael:  Yeah, me too. I really think it's a really original take on the gangster twist of this film.

MRR:  Now the film's debuting tomorrow at the Seattle International Film Festival. Do you know when the film's going to be out for audiences to see it?

Michael:  No, I don't know. I hope to have some more answers after the film comes out, but right now we're focused on the Seattle Film Festival and hopefully people up there get a chance to see it and enjoy it.

MRR:  Cool. What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future, Michael?

Michael:  That's it. I've got this movie at the film festival. I've got this Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy movie coming out on the 28th called "The Heat", and that's what I've got coming out for you right now.

MRR:  Well Michael, you have such a great resume. I thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. I really appreciate it, and I really enjoyed the movie and I hope everybody gets to see it.

Michael:  Thank you, I appreciate it.

MRR:  All right Michael, have a good day.

Michael:  Thanks for having me.

MRR:  Thank you.

Michael:  All right, bye.