In Session: Richard Lounello

ALBANY – Actor/filmmaker Richard Lounello has been on quite a creative tear. Starting his acting career over 20 years ago, it wasn’t until recently that he delved into filmmaking itself. Now, with his upcoming short film LifeQuest in post-production, as well as a continuously busy acting schedule, Lounello is looking forward to the future, all while staying focused on the present.

I had a chance to speak with Lounello last week. What follows is our conversation.

Richard Lounello

Lucas Garrett: Hello, Rich! It’s nice to meet you.

Richard Lounello: Nice to meet you, as well.

LG: I was given your name by Chris Gaunt, whom we spoke with fairly recently. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

RL: I’ve been a professional actor for over 25 years. I started writing and directing films for the past five or six years. That’s been keeping me busy for most of my adult life.

LG: What got you started into acting?

RL: I had a random offer to move to New York City in my twenties; I was bartending at the time. I was working at a night club and all the people working there were actors; I started taking classes with them.

LG: What enthralls you the most as an actor?

RL: Usually when I’m on stage: the freedom of being somebody else.

LG: What made you get into filmmaking after being an actor for so long?

RL: To have greater control over what you’re doing; I get to write my own projects and act in them as well.

LG: What kind of productions do you like to be a part of?

RL: Most of my work has been in independent film. I’ve done some TV shows: Curb Your Enthusiasm; the CBS show, Bull; Sopranos, I had one line on. But with independent film, I can generally get a supporting role, or even lead role. Obviously, that’s far more attractive.

LG: Is there a specific genre you like to work within, or do you like all sorts of things?

RL: I don’t have a specific genre I lean towards. I just shot a World War II movie in Buffalo last month. I did a detective horror movie right before that. I do comedies… if it’s a good role, a good script, I’m happy to do it.

LG: Who are some of your favorite filmmakers out there?

RL: I just saw one of Stephen Spielberg’s movies, The Fabelmans. He’s one of my favorites. John Carpenter is one. David Cronenberg. Sydney Pollack. Just to name a few.

LG: When Chris and I talked a bit ago, he mentioned you were working on a film called Life Quest

RL: Yes, that’s a film I wrote and directed. Your timing is fortuitous as I got word of its completion yesterday. We’re going to have a cast and crew screening for that in a couple of weeks.

It’s a project that’s been in my mind for many, many years. I’m very thrilled for how it came out, and I’m thrilled to show it to the world when it goes through the film festival circuit.

LG: Tell us a bit about the story of this film?

RL: We follow this character, who’s a physicist, through his life. We follow him from 28 to about 48. He’s about to go to China – twenty years in the future – to work on the new particle accelerator. It’s a real thing they’re building today, so it should be ready by then. The night before he leaves, something happens that changes the trajectory of his life and we discover all is not quite what it seems.

LG: You said you’ve had this vision for a while and you’re excited it’s going to be out relatively soon, but what about that topic interested you to make that film? Is there a certain part of your life that inspired you to make a film about such a thing?

RL: I’m a layman’s aficionado of physics: I read a lot of physics articles. I’ve always leaned toward sci-fi, but I’m very into science, as well. This percolated over the years and melded a bunch of different ideas together. That’s why I’m so excited to get it out.

LG: Is there anything you’d like to discuss that I may have missed or not gone over?

RL: I’m leaving for South Carolina next month to do a regional theater play. It’s called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? It’s based on the 1967 movie and it’s a timeless project even though it’s over fifty years old. I’m really looking forward to that.

LG: That’s the Sidney Poitier movie?

RL: Yes, it is.

LG: That’s one of those classic films that’ve stood the test of time.

RL: Absolutely.

LG: It sounds like you have your hands full with lots of different projects right now.

RL: Yes, I’m very fortunate right now. I’m very busy, and hopefully things will be even busier next year.

LG: Alright, Richard, well thanks for taking the time to talk to us today!

RL: Take care! Bye.

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