BH Interview: Andy Garcia Avoids Politics on Screen, the Movie Set and Social Media
Andy Garcia wants his work, not some phony Facebook page, to speak on his behalf. The versatile actor/producer has closed down several Facebook pages filled with political quotes incorrectly attributed to him.
“People think a lot about me politically, and they have no basis to know it," Garcia tells Breitbart News. “They presume they know."
“During the elections people send emails with my pictures on it. How do you control that?" says Garcia, who is far more comfortable talking about his craft than any hot button issue.
Garcia manages to exert more control over modern Hollywood, a place that doesn’t take kindly to films without car crashes, superheroes or R-rated antics. He leverages his star power, producing experience and hustle to bring movies like the religious freedom epic For Greater Glory, City Island and At Middleton to the screen.
The latter, just released on home video, casts Garcia as an uptight dad dropping his son off at a college orientation. His character has a rough introduction to a fellow parent (Vera Farmiga). When the two are forced to spend time together they find themselves drawn to each other in ways you won’t often see in standard rom-coms.
The film features two middle-aged characters falling in love and a complicated third act, but Garcia pitched a few studios on it all the same.
“You always approach the studio,” he notes, even if they won’t look past how atypical the story might be for a large demographic. Plan B meant gathering as much independent financing as possible to complete the project.
"Once you have the money, a lot or a little, you make a movie with what you have and pick the best people to support you in that process ... I know what it takes to produce a movie independently,” he says, laughing. For him, that means attaching himself to scripts that speak to him and “begging” other actors to join him.
“That’s your job as producer,” he says.
Garcia shares palpable chemistry with Farmiga in At Middleton, and the actor says he never made a movie where he failed to properly click with a co-star. Some, he admits, have made the process unnecessarily difficult. Some actors think if their characters are at odds with the one you’re playing they shouldn’t be social with you off the set, Garcia says. He discovered how unnecessary that technique early in his career while shooting 8 Million Ways to Die with Jeff Bridges.
“I was playing a character who was a really evil guy, a real thorn in his side, and [Bridges] couldn’t have been a more generous and loving guy to do it with... I don’t need to hate you [to play a character].”
Garcia, who has a plum vocal role in Rio 2, the sequel to the 2011 hit coming to theaters April 11, gently deflects questions about the sudden crush of faith-based projects hitting Hollywood as well as the hypocrisy of liberal actors embracing tax incentives for film productions. He says the government should try to support the arts with tax shelters, to "support the cultural stamp we're trying to create."
He says he hasn’t been treated differently for any perceived political stances he has taken through the years, nor would he do the same to anyone else with whom he disagreed. He acknowledges that does happen from time to time in the film business but he strives to stay above the fray.
"I’m a public figure ... how do say, I just take the high ground ... people who know me know who I am," he says.
Garcia's pragmatism extends to a movie industry which doesn't always embrace mature storytelling. He works within the system and does all he can with the tools available to him.
"That’s the fate for me ... to make a movie that has resonance, the quality I want to live up to," he says. "That will have a long shelf life."