Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lazy Sunday # 287: Give Nick Mancuso A Break

One of the untold stories of the Canadian Film Biz is that I gave Nick Mancuso his first big break. Yep. I’m the guy who first put him in a movie.

It wasn’t a tough decision by any stretch. We’d worked together a lot on stage and it was clear to everybody in theatre in those days that he possessed an awesome talent.

But while I’d done a number of films, Nick hadn’t. And so when I managed to sell a script with me playing the lead, I wanted him to be in it.

Trouble was, the only role he fit was a single scene bit part, playing a sexy Latin lover and waiter named Manuel, who unsuccessfully hit on the film’s heroine when she was on the rebound from my character.

It was a thankless part. I mean, seriously, who was going to believe that any hot movie actress faced with a choice between Nick or I wasn’t coming right back to me.

But as the saying goes, “There are no small parts, only small actors”. So Nick said “Yes”. And he never looked back.

That first credit was soon followed by “The House on Garibaldi Street”, “Nightwing”, “Ticket To Heaven”, “Maria Chapdelaine”, “Heartbreakers”, “Stingray” “Under Siege” and about 130 other titles.

None of which, of course, would have happened if I hadn’t given the kid his first shot.

And now Nick is looking for a few people to give him his next one.

Somewhere along the way, Nick, like a lot of good actors, started to write. Only he mostly wrote poetry.

I first met Vigo Mortensen at some Poetry Jam or Slam or whatever they’re called where actor poets like them take one another on. It was just like that scene with Eminem in “8 Mile” -- only with not as many hoodies.

Now, I don’t know why so many really good actors are obsessed by poetry, but they apparently are. That Ryan Gosling can rhyme like a sonovabitch.

Anyway, Nick is now trying to launch a film based on the works of beat poet Gregory Corso, who Jack Kerouac called '"the herald of the Beat generation", and he’s looking for crowd-funding to finance it.

The film, entitled “Bomb! Burning Fantasy”, has a cast which includes Nick, John Savage (“The Deer Hunter”, “Carnivale”), Bill Moseley (“The Devil’s Rejects”, “Grindhouse”), Sally Kirkland (Oscar nominated for “Anna”) and Ray Abruzzo (“The Sopranos”, “Mad Men”) –- so, you know –- heavy duty actors. Not those flash-in-the-pan pretty-boy Hollywood types.

Nick is also coming off a run of producing some exceptional independent features, notably “The Big Gamble”, winner of Best Feature at the New York International Independent Film Festival and “Real Gangsters” which this week won Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the Action On Film Festival in Pasadena.

So you have the opportunity here to put a few bucks on somebody with a ton of experience who is, as they say, “On a Roll”.

You can find “Bomb! Burning Fantasy” on Indiegogo here. And what follows is a taste of what you’ll be funding.

As Spike Lee, Rob Thomas and other Hollywood heavyweights have recently proven, crowd-funding may be the only way we get movies in theatres that don’t feature guys in spandex suits.

That’s the kind of film Nick Mancuso is making. And somebody (namely you) needs to cut him a break.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

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