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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nick Leshi posted today about his experience working as an extra on the set of Carlito's Way-- here are some excerpts:

Even though you can't see a glimpse of me in the final film, it's still one of my fondest memories.

I had done some stage work before and had just finished a stint as an extra on Law & Order, so to me this was the big time. I first had to go to Kaufman Studios in Astoria to get fitted for my costume. This was a period gangster film, so they had me decked out in platform shoes, bell-bottom pants, a polyester shirt like the kind Larry used to wear on Three's Company, and big framed slightly tinted glasses. Gotta love the disco era!

The film shoot took place at the Palladium, the old night club in Manhattan. It seemed like there must have been over 200 other extras for the scene in which Carlito Brigante and his lawyer were celebrating his release from prison. Even though I was one of many, I was thrilled to be on the same set as actors Al Pacino and Sean Penn, and director Brian De Palma...

...I was one of the lucky ones chosen to be near the principle actors. They had me walk behind the table where Pacino and Penn were doing their scene. I did it a bunch of times, and each time I strutted like I was the king of the world.

I stayed professional and focused while cameras were rolling. At one point between takes, I made eye contact with Pacino and I couldn't resist giving him two big thumbs up and a goofy grin. (I swear, I was still in character as a goofy nightclub patron!) Al Pacino just rolled his eyes at me. Correction -- Carlito Brigante rolled his eyes at me!

Months later, I went to see the movie and I wasn't surprised to see no trace of my brilliant strut on the silver screen. It didn't bother me too much. It was still a wonderful experience that I'll never forget.

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 12:04 AM CDT
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Friday, February 27, 2009
Time Out New York's The Frame-Up blog has been running a series this week called "NYC Antiheroes," in which Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle represents "ground zero," according to blog host Joshua Rothkopf, who states that Martin Scorsese's film is "about a man who fails at being a New Yorker." In today's entry, Keith Uhlich interprets the New York of Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way as a "metaphorical prison" that uses everything and everyone from Carlito's past as barriers to the freedom he can ultimately only dream of. Here is how Uhlich eloquently puts it:

Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) has a dollar and a dream. He just needs a little more ($75,000 to be exact) so he can leave his criminal past behind, retire to the tropics, and buy into a car rental dealership. Destiny has other plans for him, but we know this from the start: The first image is Carlito getting shot down in Grand Central Station. The film that follows is his dying-moments reminiscence. A Proustian whirlwind begins in a courtroom, where Carlito is released from jail on a technicality, only to enter another, more metaphorical prison: a city greatly changed from the way he left it. It’s easy to relate to the desire to escape New York, its towering edifices and worlds-within-worlds, as oppressive as they are awe-inspiring. Carlito’s instincts still serve him well in this environment, but they’re now more a force of habit than a true moral code. He’s ready to move on, in body and spirit, even if his aim to please his friends (Sean Penn as sleazy lawyer David Kleinfeld) and lovers (Penelope Ann Miller as whispery-voiced dancer Gail) prevents him from saying so. It’s obvious that there is no exit for him. Befitting director Brian De Palma, Carlito’s death rattle is at once a sublime joke and a cutting indictment of dreamy, age-addled nostalgia, while Pacino’s performance (one of his wizened best) complements De Palma’s acid tongue with quiet dignity.

Posted by Geoff at 3:38 PM CST
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