Nav chats with ex-soccer player, Actor/Producer, Gianni Capaldi, about his new film Ambushed

I was lucky enough to catch L.A. based British actor, Gianni Capaldi, during his vacation, to talk to Influx Magazine about his new movie Ambushed, where he stars alongside, Dolph Lundgren, Vinnie Jones and Randy Couture. He also featured in The Cross and Blood of Redemption. Gianni has worked with the likes of Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman, Danny Trejo and the late Oscar-nominated Michael Clarke Duncan. He spoke openly to us about how he drew strength from his beliefs, and what inspired him, which he cites as being, his grandparents, his church Oasis, and his soccer team, Glasgow Celtic.

Nav Qateel: How did you actually get involved with Ambushed?

Gianni Capaldi: I was initially approached by the writer who wanted to put a film titled Rush together. Augustin and I, then began to brainstorm as to who would be ideal targets. There were many hurdles we encountered on the road to getting it green-lit, including even changing the name Rush to Hard Rush, then Ambushed, due to Ron Howard’s Rush coming out.

NQ: Can you explain to our readers what a producer actually does, and what the difference is between a producer and an executive producer? You produce on Ambushed, and I know from experience, your average cinema-goer generally doesn’t know.

GC: A producer is basically the person who puts it all together. He or she gets the script, packages the actors, directors and budget of the film. An EP basically finances the producer and deals with selling the film and all complicated matters associated. Some cross over and do both, for example, my friend and mentor Phil Goldfine. It was actually he who inspired me, through his dynamism, and is another who wears both hats.

NQ: So, this was basically a way of keeping yourself busy?

GC: Yes, I could never sit on a couch and wait for an audition or a call-back or someone else’s film to go. Something people have loads of in LA is time, and I want to use mine to the fullest. God has given us all the ability to make things happen and no better place than LA to make them reality.

NQ: What sort of style were you looking for in Ambushed, was there one you had in mind, or were you leaving that up to the director?

GC: Well, I’d been looking to do a Snatch type movie. I wanted to try something with a bit less explosions; things being blown up, and try more of a character-driven piece. I want to enjoy characters and let them dictate and create story-lines. Look at Snatch; an absolute masterpiece in this field. If I could have picked one film, (apart from Braveheart) to have been in, it would have been Snatch. It allowed every actor to bring-it, and that created twists and turns as well as humorous plot obstacles. Sheer Brilliance.

NQ: Why Snatch in particular?

GC: (Smiles) Tarantino and Ritchie, I’m their number one fan. What they touch, it turns to gold. They are not afraid to over-develop the character and let their extremities drive the story. Look at ‘Boris the Blade’ or ‘Bullet Tooth Tony,’ as they were overly elaborate, turning every color of a character into a comical aspect. Another great example of this is Robert Carlyle, who was amazing as ‘Begbie’ in Trainspotting.

NQ: Speaking of ‘Bullet Tooth Tony,’ how did Vinnie Jones come on board? I believe you two happen to be friends?

GC: Yes, Vinnie and I wanted to work together, and being on set with friends for a change, and the thrill of filming in LA, allowing us to sleep in our own beds at night was too much to turn down. Then our utterly amazing executive producer Phil Goldfine, went to work by securing Lundgren and Couture.

NQ: What I enjoyed about Ambushed, was that each actor played to their strengths, and suited their characters well. Was that a conscious decision?

GC: When the writer gave me this script, we discussed who would be great in which role. Vinnie and I were a given, the rest eventually came into the fray. When it was down who the director would be, there was nobody better for the job than Giorgio Serafini. I was an utter fan of his work. After I had dinner with him and discussed Ambushed he agreed to step into the role and since that moment we have never looked back. We have developed a great relationship and a bond of trust between us in our jobs. It’s great, he is great and I love working with him. When I was asked to produce Blood of Redemption for the EPs, I insisted I would only produce the film if Giorgio Serafini was at the helm. Not many directors have the skill to get a great job done in 18 days of filming. Giorgio is a rare commodity. For the record, the other co-director listed, with no fault of his own, was asked respectfully to step aside and let Giorgio fill the shoes of director and thus relieving him of all his duties before we even started. I felt a little sorry for him but we all get replaced by bigger and better, it’s happened to me as well and he won’t be the last.

NQ: I see you from your IMDb bio, you’re related to the new Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, who, coincidently, is in a new production with Vinnie Jones; is this where the acting bug came from?

GC: You know, I’ve often pondered that question, and yes, I think that watching Peter do so well in the business, was definitely something that inspired me to try for myself. I can only hope to be as highly regarded one day.

NQ: What’s next for Gianni Capaldi, and is there any advice you can offer any aspiring actors or producers, looking to move to this line of work?

GC: I have two movies coming out shortly, Certain Justice and Wicked Within. As far as offering advice goes; I’d say that keep your goals realistic. If your budgeting for a film, keep that realistic too, and don’t reach too high to begin with. When going for roles, again, start small, don’t aim too high, because, the trick is to keep working, so that potential employers can see what you’re about.

Interview by Nav Qateel

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