Russ Russo is an Award Winning American Film & Television Actor. His work includes An Act of War, NBC’s Revolution, Ryan Phillippe’s Catch Hell, Blue Collar Boys, Williamsburg & The Book of Love.
Fun Fact: Russ can also be seen in the viral hit video sensation Batman Maybe where he played Bruce Wayne/Batman.
We had an opportunity to chat with Russ about his latest projects. Check out the interview below.
Hi, Russ! Congrats on the successful launch of Bad Frank. Any new projects in the works?
Thank you! Well, I’m currently involved in two pilot series, in which the pilots are now shot & being shopped to various networks & VOD platforms. The first one is Cypress Bayou, which is set in the voodoo entrenched south & has a very rich tapestry of southern magic. I play an immortal, which is something I’ve never really done for film or TV. I did play something of a vampiric character on stage at one point, but this is something new for me in this medium. I’m also part of a very different series, The Holdouts, which is about artists being priced out of NYC while corporations continue to buy up all the old famous Manhattan haunts. Hopefully, one or both will get picked up for Series.
What inspired you to co-write Bad Frank?
Well, it was my friend, Bad Frank himself, Kevin Interdonato, who had been shaping the script with Tony Germinario & asked if I’d like to help piece together a few scenes, write some dialogue & really get involved with the project from the ground floor. I had just written & directed a short film and had been shopping around a few feature film scripts, so, it was nice of Kevin to ask me to be creative with a film that was to be his vehicle.
It’s available on iTunes and other streaming sites. How has the reception been, thus far?
Bad Frank was in the New & Noteworthy section on iTunes for a couple weeks now alongside big studio movies. I couldn’t be more proud of this little indie that could.
Before Bad Frank, you wrote a short called Heat Wave. According to IMDB, during a heat wave in Los Angeles, friends awaken to find one of them dead. Anxious with amnesia, they must decide what to do before the heat wave becomes a living hell. What inspired the script?
Kevin Interdonato & I decided to attend a film festival in the middle of June & we wanted to make a road trip out of it, but it turned out to be the road trip from hell. We left LA in the middle of June driving through the Mojave Desert with no air conditioning in the car during a heat wave. In one of my hallucinations, more than likely from dehydration, I thought about friendship, loyalty as well as climate change. I thought about how I could tell that story.
Wow! Now that’s what we call inspiration! Tell us about your ideas for storytelling. Are they inspired by true events?
Nothing I’ve written thus far is really foreign to me. I know these worlds. I know why a man like Frank does what he does, even if one perceives it to be wrong, it’s complex and I like grey areas. I know why Gary in Heat Wave chooses to bury his friend rather than deal with the consequences. People like to make safe choices. They don’t like to confront their fears and certainly don’t like change. So, right now, I just write what I know. I think I may write a script that deals in the unknown, someday, but I’m still exploring only what I know, for now.
After a successful short film, television, and film run, are you planning to produce more?
I am planning on producing more, after Bad Frank. Right Now, I’m a producer on One Model Mission, a wonderful documentary project by model & actress, Katy Johnson, who will be travelling the world having thoughtful conversations with women about what it means to be beautiful & documenting how beauty goes beyond aesthetics. I’m very proud to be helping to send that positive message out to the women of the world. I’m also a producer on The Holdouts pilot as well. I’d like to continue to produce work that I write, co-write or act in because it feels good to be a part of the entire creative life of a project.
You’re an avid writer and filmmaker, who continuously hones his craft. What keeps you inspired?
I try to stay inspired everyday. I’ve lost my way a few times because life, just like this craft, can be all consuming and you deal in a lot of rejection as well as affirmation. So, I try to choose my projects wisely, really delve into things that make me feel something. Once I find a subject that unleashes that curiosity, I’m like a cat with a ball of yarn. I won’t let go.
Thus far, what has been the best experience working in the industry?
I was recently forced, through my own crossroads in this industry, to think about my previous films, projects & experiences up until this point & I’ve got to say that I think every one of them taught me something. Now of course there are going to be these great epiphanies on certain projects & some are only going to provide minor changes of attitude, thought & behavior, but everyone I’ve met up until this point, casts, crew, people in the industry etc. have led me to this place I’m at and I really thought about this and realized that it’s okay where I am and what I’m doing. I don’t have to be anything more than this moment and who I am. It made this question no longer linger in my mind .
Do you have any upcoming projects that we haven’t mentioned?
I am writing a couple of feature scripts right now that I will be seeking financing for, which is always a fun process, but I’ve watched friends with their pet projects take years to gestate on a film script they’ve wanted to make and I recently saw those films become their reality. So, I have belief in making these creative endeavors happen.
Complete this sentence, if I had an opportunity to do anything I want, I would do ___________.
Stories. Storytelling is a part of human history that will never die. The art of telling a great story, no matter what the story is, will never go extinct. The medium in which we tell stories is just getting better and better. We’re living in one of the greatest eras of this medium and I’m just happy to be a small part of it.
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Featured Image Credit: Vicki Miller Photography