I recently got the chance to talk to Rich Ceraulo about his role in ‘The Bling Ring’. Here, Rich talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and shares an anecdotal bar story featuring Kevin Bacon…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Inspired by actual events, the film follows a group of fame obsessed teenagers who party, drink, and rob their way through the homes of their celebrity idols. It’s a movie about America’s unhealthy obsession with wealth, celebrity, and the pursuit of “more” and how that negatively affects the culture of our youth.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play a police officer involved in the arrest of teen robber Nicki Moore as portrayed by Emma Watson.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I initially met with casting directors Nicole Daniels and Courtney Sheinen who then called me in to read for Sofia. A few weeks later I was hired.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
Like much of Sofia’s earlier work, the film doesn’t allow you to take sides and that to me is what makes it a provocative piece of cinema. There is something both comically fascinating and morally repulsive about these characters and their “we can do whatever the hell we want” attitudes. You don’t know whether you want to wring their necks or take them home to their Mom’s house for an intervention. Also, the gorgeous cinematography by the late Harris Savides and Christopher Blauvelt is top-notch. You feel like you are right there in the room with these kids as they clumsily make their way through each of the celebrities homes.
The film stars Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Georgia Rock, Leslie Mann, Carlos Miranda, Gavin Rossdale and Stacy Edwards – with Sofia Coppola onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
It was a great set to work on. Laid back and organic. The actresses in the film had formed a really strong bond with one another as well as with Sofia who gave each of us the freedom to explore within each scene and improvise off of the script. This really added to the naturalistic feel of the film.
Let’s talk a bit about you Rich. What made you want to get into the acting industry in the first place?
Well, I started out as a pre-med major at NYU but found myself daydreaming about different Broadway shows and films I had seen while trying to wrap my head around organic chemistry. Two years later, I transferred into the theater program at Tisch School Of The Arts where I tried to wrap my head around Shakespeare, Chekov and Stephen Sondheim. It was there that I decided that I wanted to have a career as an artist. After graduating, I was fortunate enough to make my Broadway debut in the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Flower Drum Song’ and book some work in TV and film.
I’ve always been fascinated with the art of storytelling and acting is my way of being a part of those stories. I think we have a unique opportunity as actors, film-makers, and artists to act as a window into the soul of the human condition and inspire others in the process, and on a really good day, maybe even influence the world in a positive way. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
The best thing I’ve learned so far is how important it is to trust your instincts and not get too caught up in what other people think about you or your work. When you make something your own, whether it’s a character, a film, or a piece of art, and it’s something that you are truly passionate about, you’ve done your job. Embrace what makes you unique.
I also can’t stress enough how important it is for us as actors to create our own opportunities. This business can be incredibly difficult and frustrating at times but don’t allow that to stop your creativity. Write a film with friends and cast yourself. Try directing or learning how to edit. You never know what will inspire you and ultimately build your career as an artist, so make the most of every opportunity in front of you.
You’ve been in a number of different TV series and films – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with and why? Any good stories?
Kevin Bacon was awesome to work with. Aside from being one of the most down to earth and genuinely nice guys on the planet he is also an incredibly generous and gifted actor. We worked on the film ‘Death Sentence’ together in Columbia, South Carolina a few years back. One night during the filming of the movie, the cast met up at a local dive bar for drinks. Of course all of the patrons and employees there wanted to shake hands with the guy from ‘Footloose’ but little did we know they were also going to call him up onto the stage to sing the theme song from the film with the house band. Now most actors I know would have just smiled and went on their way but Kevin knocked back a shot of tequila, jumped up on stage, and sang the song for the whole bar. The dude became my idol that night.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
Bob Dylan, Daft Punk, Haim, PAPA, Radiohead, Ray Charles, Vampire Weekend.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Martin Scorsese, Jesus, my wife, and someone with a very large wine cellar. I know, that’s four, but I’m going to need to be drunk for this gathering.
Which film was your favourite of 2012 and why?
‘Silver Linings Playbook’. Smart writing, great performances, and solid direction. A great blend of heart-warming drama and sharp humour. I thought everything came together perfectly in that film.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
My next film is an independent sci-fi movie entitled ‘Shockwave Darkside’ which pays homage to the classic morality tales of ‘The Twilight Zone’ and films like Sam Fuller’s ‘The Steel Helmet’, Anthony Man’s ‘Men In War’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’. In the film, I trek through unknown lands, struggling to survive against the elements, all the while battling extra terrestrial life forms hell-bent on keeping me from reaching my destination. Come to think of it, not very different from a typical day as an actor in LA. I don’t want to spoil the ending but there’s a decent chance I’ll make it out alive.
Thanks for the interview!