CATEGORIES Interviews


It feels like we haven't really seen Andy Garcia for a while, except when 'The Godfather: Part III' or one of the 'Oceans' movies plays on TV. Long known as a reclusive and very private actor, Garcia is back on the big screen as Vince Rizzo in 'City Island.' He's not only in the starring role, he's also executive producer.

Independent, lower-budget films are often plagued by their own reputation; they're either considered 'genius' or 'groundbreaking' or they fall on the other end of the spectrum, where they're seen as 'pedestrian' or 'amateur'. In the case of 'City Island', it can't be classified as either – it's funny, smart, engaging, and is a pleasant surprise. Garcia charms as Rizzo (and he's complemented by a very shrewy Julianna Margulies as his wife), and it's as much a joy to watch him as it is to see him return to the public eye.

Moviefone sat down to talk with Garcia about 'City Island', what it was like working with his daughter, and how on Earth he made dysfunction look so convincing.

It feels like we haven't really seen Andy Garcia for a while, except when 'The Godfather: Part III' or one of the 'Oceans' movies plays on TV. Long known as a reclusive and very private actor, Garcia is back on the big screen as Vince Rizzo in 'City Island.' He's not only in the starring role, he's also executive producer.

Independent, lower-budget films are often plagued by their own reputation; they're either considered 'genius' or 'groundbreaking' or they fall on the other end of the spectrum, where they're seen as 'pedestrian' or 'amateur'. In the case of 'City Island', it can't be classified as either – it's funny, smart, engaging, and is a pleasant surprise. Garcia charms as Rizzo (and he's complemented by a very shrewy Julianna Margulies as his wife), and it's as much a joy to watch him as it is to see him return to the public eye.

Moviefone sat down to talk with Garcia about 'City Island', what it was like working with his daughter, and how on Earth he made dysfunction look so convincing.

There's something very genuine and lovable about this film.


Thank you. That was very evident to me when I read the script. It was obvious that it was very well-written and well-crafted. I knew it would attract a very good cast.

How did you get involved with the movie in the first place?

Ray [De Felitta, the director] had it before me, trying to get it made, and he was having difficulties. It came to me through our mutual PR agency... someone suggested, 'Hey, what about Andy?' and he said, 'Why not?' At least I hope that's what he said. You'd have to ask Ray about whether he really wanted me or not. Regardless, I fell in love with the script, and I told him that I'd help him produce it, too.

What was it like playing prison guard Vince?

I loved Vince Rizzo. I love the fact that this character was put in these farcical situations, but they were all based in a very real, human emotional reality. You'll note that there are no jokes in the movie, it's all behaviour and situational. He has this private, deep-rooted painful dream of being an actor, and he's so embarrassed by it. His obsession with [Marlon] Brando too, which is something I brought to the script, is very charming. It's easy to fall in love with him.

How was working with your daughter [Dominik Garcia-Lorido], who plays your daughter Vivian in the movie?

She's great. It's the third movie we've done together. She played my daughter when she was 11, and then she played my sister-in-law in 'The Lost City.' I've been watching her act since she was five, and my middle daughter also started in theatre. It's pretty normal in our house, and you know, when she's on set she's a fellow actor. When I look across at her sometimes, I feel that pride, I'm so happy for her since she's living her dream.



How was your chemistry with Julianna Margulies? You two were hilarious together.

I love Julianna, and this is the second time we've worked together as husband and wife, so that was easy going. The first scenes we shot of the movie were the dinner table scenes [read: dysfunctional], back to back. It was the first day, no rehearsal, and when I sat down across from her it was like sitting in a comfort zone. She's an extraordinary actress.

Come to think of it, the entire cast seemed to have a very strong, likable chemistry.


The camaraderie was instant. There was an underlying current of respect and love, which is important in any family dynamic. No matter how much screaming at each other or dysfunction there was.

Do you have a favourite scene?

I really liked doing the audition scene – it was lots of fun.

I personally loved the climax of the movie, where Vince falls to his knees with anguish.

Oh, yes. Now that's another one. The night after I read that part of the script I had this dream. I saw myself in the street doing that scene, and at the end of the scene I saw myself sit down in the middle of the street out of complete exhaustion. I thought, man, if I can get there organically... because, you know, you have to have the emotional catharsis to make it believable... if the audience believes that you've truly hit rock bottom, you're ready for rehab, everything's over, then that makes for a powerful scene. I told Ray and he started laughing. It's funny, but you've got to almost earn the right to fall to the ground.

Let's be real: Vince's life is constructed on web of lies, so I'd say he earned the right.

He has nothing left. Exactly. It's a connection with reality, pathos and emotion, but also with humour. It's a very powerful combination. He can laugh and cry at the same time.

What's coming up next for you?

I did a movie with Renny Harlin called 'Georgia,' which is based on the conflict between the Republic of Georgia and Russia. I play Mikheil Saakashvili, the president. It was intense.

I'm trying to imagine you as a Russian president.


Just go on YouTube! [laughs]

'City Island' opens at the Cumberland Theatre in Toronto on March 26, with other Canadian cities to follow. The film is already screening in the US.

Read Moviefone.com's interview with Juliana Margulies for 'City Island'