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LaPaglia is an acclaimed actor for his outstanding performance as "Jack Malone" on CBS's series "Without A Trace", for which he won a Golden Globe Award and earned a SAG nomination. He won a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for his performance in the Arthur Miller classic "A View From the Bridge," a play that he is producing as a feature film. LaPaglia's other stage credits include the Off Off Broadway production of "The Guys," the story of a fire captain and an editor who discuss the men lost in the World Trade Center attack on September 11. Sigourney Weaver and LaPaglia starred in the subsequent feature film version. He has also appeared Off Broadway in "Bouncers," "Northeast Local," "On the Open Road" and "The Rose Tattoo," which earned him a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. His television credits include a recurring role in "Frasier," for which he earned an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Daphne's brother, Simon Moon. Other television credits include the series "Murder One" and the movies "Never Give Up: The Jimmy V Story," on CBS, "Criminal Justice," for which he received a CableACE nomination, and "Garden of Redemption." His numerous feature film credits include the critically acclaimed "Lantana," "Betsy's Wedding," "The House of Mirth," "Sweet and Lowdown," "The Client," "Company Man," "Summer of Sam," "Autumn in New York," "Lansky," "Phoenix," "Commandments" and "Brilliant Lies." He will next star in "Winter Solstice."
LaPaglia was born on January 31,1959, in Adelaide, Australia, and lives in New York City with his wife, actress Gia Carides, and daughter.
LaPaglia & Levinson Cross The "Bridge"
Barry Levinson is attached to direct Anthony LaPaglia, Scarlett Johansson and Frances McDormand in a bigscreen adaptation of Arthur Miller's play "A View From the Bridge" reports Variety.
LaPaglia, who won a Tony for his run in a Broadway revival of the play, has been the catalyst behind the film, obtaining permission from Miller, who died last week, to license the play for the screen and enlisting Fried. LaPaglia also brought in screenwriter Andrew Bovell. Fried hopes to shoot the film this year.
LaPaglia will reprise his role as Brooklyn longshoreman Eddie, whose infatuation with his niece strains his relationship with his wife and ultimately creates a scandal when the teenager falls for a cousin from Sicily. A version of the play was filmed once before by director Sidney Lumet in 196
Anthony LaPaglia stars in "The Guys"
Anthony LaPaglia is fittingly reserved when we meet in a Los Angeles hotel room. Never one to court media attention, the Australian-born actor took some time off between both fatherhood and a hectic TV schedule, to talk about The Guys, a moving, eloquent film based on the play in which LaPaglia had also previously appeared. The first film to address the immediate after-effects of 9/11, LaPaglia delivers his finest performance to date as a fire chief who has to deliver a eulogy for his fallen comrades. Dressed in an elegant, dark blue suit and tie, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor disagrees that mag The Guys was somehow cathartic following 9/11. "Because that implies that you were able to kind of process the event and somehow exorcise it from your psyche, so on that level I would say that it was not cathartic because I did not exorcise it from my psyche and it didn't really help me to particularly work through the enormity of that event," the actor explains. Yet shooting the film version of the acclaimed play had its emotional challenges, LaPaglia insists. "The biggest thing was the sense of obligation that I felt to get it right for the families of the fire fighters and the fire fighters themselves", LaPaglia explains when discussing the eulogy scene which was shot in a church in front of families of those fire-fighters who perished. You really felt an acute sense of responsibility there." Making a film dealing with 9/11 could easily danger of exploiting the tragedy. That was clearly not the case with either the stage play or film. "What I loved about it was the fact that it was imagined, not exploited; that it was trying to take a small experience that happened between two people in New York - a very large experience, in a way that I think every body could relate to and put it on film; in a way that did not exploit the moment."
In this Hollywood age of special effects and cinematic scope, The Guys, directed with an artful simplicity by Jim Simpson, is something of an anomaly, an essential two-hander shot primarily in the confines of a magazine editor's apartment. LaPaglia is unconcerned. "People have a certain expectation of what films are supposed to be now and I always question that; like who wrote the rule book for these cinematic experiences. To me, part of what I love doing is story telling which is why I like being an actor, the ability to get out there, become a character and then tell a story. And I think that somewhere along the line in our culture, we lost that and we are not that interested in story telling anymore."
LaPaglia has no doubt that despite these troubled times of war and international upheaval, the time is ripe for a film such as The Guys. "I think the movie is incredibly timely. The difficulty with all small independent films is that you're dealing in basically an entertainment market and therefore in the entertainment market what gets a movie seen is how much money you spend on prints and advertising and there is a whole political agenda in getting the film out there and getting it seen.' But as to the current war itself, the actor is one of many celebrities who have very strong opinions as to the war itself. "I think something strange has been happening in this country since September 11. I think it was a truly stunning event that actually shocked people into inertia, to the point where we have an entire country which is basically letting the government dictate a policy that will turn out, I think in history, to be a very unpopular one; and in some ways damaging, if we have reached the point where we are going it alone if necessary so you suddenly go from being a coalition into an aggressive force. I am not saying that Saddam Hussein is an innocent party that doesn't deserve some scrutiny, but rather, our foreign policy is really questionable right now and our decision-making policy seems to be completely irrational," says an angry LaPaglia. "I would like people to see this film, just to realize how they felt in the first week after 9/11 happened in order to bring some humanity back into it and still, maybe, wake people up a little bit."
The actor is also angry about his native Australia's position in the conflict, accusing its Prime Minister of being "up to his neck in this as well" and being in ["Bush's back pocket which is very, very depressing, but it's also a very complex issue that I am not qualified to really speak comprehensively about because I am, after all an actor." And it's an actor that LaPaglia has changed his priorities. Happily married to fellow Aussie Gia Carides [currently co-starring in TV's My Big Fat Greek Life], the pair recently welcomed their first child, Bridget. It was the prospect of impending fatherhood that led LaPaglia back to the regular grind of series television in the hit drama Without a Trace.
"At the time that I made the decision to go back do a series, Gia was probably about three months pregnant, and we had a long conversation about me and my inability to deal with authority," the actor says smilingly. "And with television to a certain degree, you have to capitulate on a certain level and a certain place, so her advice to me was, you don't have to do this. And, I said, that the alternative is that I do films and very few of them shoot in L.A. or New York. So the prospect of me running away to Toronto or Vancouver for two months at a time and missing that much time with my daughter was just not appealing. So I made a choice that if I could find the right television project, that I would much rather spend the first five years of my daughter's life with her. I have been very lucky in my career so far, in that I have had like a really good one. I have done lots of interesting stuff on stage, on films, on television and I have pretty much covered the gamut and enjoyed all mediums so I don't feel as if I'm missing out of anything."
LaPaglia decided on Without a Trace, in which he stars as the leader of an elite FBI Missing Persons unit, because "I looked at several scripts and some of them were just me starring, some of them were ensemble, but still me starring and then, I read this script which was truly ensemble. I kind of anchor this show, but I don't by any means carry it. Not only that, half of the show is done in flashback, because you are talking about the victim's life which I have nothing to do with, so, it meant that I had a really good working schedule and that I was not working 18 hours a day; so I get to see my daughter in the morning and at night."
LaPaglia, who remains impassioned with the stage, is still trying to fulfil his one ambition, to bring Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge to the screen. His Broadway performance garnered him both a Drama Desk and Tony Award. "Yes it is still happening; but it's a long process." In the meantime, he is happy to savour fatherhood and the fruits of a distinguished career that shows no sign of waning
LaPaglia Returns To His Acting Roots In Lantana
After 20 years of appearing in some of Hollywood's most interesting projects, including TV stints in Murder One and Frasier - Aussie-born Anthony LaPaglia had to return to his native Australia to re-discover his love of acting. The film is Lantana, the first Australian film to close Toronto this year and set for a US release in time for Oscar season. Paul Fischer caught up with LaPaglia in a Los Angeles hotel room.
There was a time when Australian-born Anthony LaPaglia shied away from publicising his work. He was uncomfortable dealing with the spotlight, and mostly, he confesses, was not necessarily worth promoting. These days, the 42-year old star of over 50 film and TV ventures, is prouder than he has been in years. The reason? A little known Aussie thriller called Lantana, a multi-layered gem of a film that explores many facets of betrayal and love. The first film to be directed by Ray Lawrence since Bliss, LaPaglia says that the venerable Australian director enabled him to go places where he hasn't delved in years. He was reminded why he was an actor. "What Ray required was absolute truth and honesty", he slowly explains. "I think what happens to a lot of actors as time goes by is that less and less is required of you and as you get more status as an actor, fewer people are apt to challenge you and your choices. So I think you gain success based on a certain bag of tricks. A certain persona or performance will get you attention and will make you a viable entity as an actor. Then if you're not careful, you can rely on that bag of tricks and so you stop exploring as an actor, something you see time and time again." LaPaglia adds that the more he has worked over the years, "the less I've had directors willing to challenge me." That is, until he met Ray Lawrence. "Suddenly I've got a guy saying to me: Do less. All I ever hear is do more. Suddenly I've got a guy who wants me to do less acting and tell more truth. Slowly, as we're doing it, he's stripping away more and more".
It is LaPaglia who is at the centre of Lantana's complex narrative through his police officer Leon Zat a man desperately afraid of his own mortality, married with two sons, who seeks something new in an affair with the desperately lonely Jane (Rachael Blake). Leon's wife Sonja (Kerry Armstrong) feels the dissatisfaction in Leon, and seeks assurance through a therapist, Valerie (Barbara Hershey), who is struggling with her own problems, such as the murder of her child and her marriage to the dour law professor John (Geoffrey Rush). From here we delve deeper into the web of characters that includes Jane's neighbours Nik (Vince Colosimo) and Paula (Daniela Farinacci), her estranged husband Pete (Glenn Robbins), another of Valerie's patients Patrick (Peter Phelps) and Leon's police partner Claudia (Leah Purcell). This slew of characters, each with their own stories to tell come into sharper (and more successful) focus once one of them disappears, and Leon and Claudia become involved in the subsequent investigation.
Though in genre terms, Lantana is a psychological thriller, it is a far more textured and complex work than first appears as its narrative unfolds. LaPaglia is the centrepiece of the film, and in this often mirrored look at society's fragmentation, LaPaglia had to dig deep to find this truth about which he speaks. "It was all about trust; I had to completely trust Ray and he's a big part of it, as well the material. I get to know Ray over a two-week rehearsal period and I realise he's a smart, sensitive and thoughtful guy, who really has the same ideas as I have about making a film, which is to convey the absolute truth of a situation".
There is a certain irony that for a man who has spent most of his professional career in the US, that he is doing his best work these days back in Australia. "That irony has not been lost on me", the actor says smilingly. Perhaps because he became like those complacent actors to which he referred earlier, a little bit lazy often working on mainstream projects in order to fuel his love of theatre or the odd, small Indie film. "I don't think it was a conscious thing, but a gradual thing, that if you work in a particular system long enough, you can be seduced by it and you can allow yourself to become more cynical about it, all of which have happened to me in the 17 years that I've been here." It's more ironic than Anthony, who was born in Adelaide, came to the US to build a career, "and how ironic that the best part of my career is happening there." Married to Aussie actress Gia Carides, the couple spends equal time in Los Angeles, New York and Sydney, but LaPaglia is unwilling to move permanently back to Australia, even after recent events that shook this country. "I certainly think about it and after what happened in New York, I think Gia thinks about it more so. I personally don't feel that way. I feel that was a good enough place for me to be for a good chunk of my life and suddenly things go bad I don't think it's good for me to run away.
LaPaglia is content to return to Australia to work. Apart from Lantana, he is also the villain of the local hit The Bank, which was also screened in Toronto, "and is an entirely different kind of film, and was a lot of fun to do." Meanwhile, Anthony will be returning to Broadway next year for another Arthur Miller revival, After the Fall, following his Tony-award winning performance in A View from the Bridge, which the actor is about to bring to the screen. Once a cynic, perhaps, Aussie Anthony has rediscovered why he is an actor.
Anthony LaPaglia plays dedicated FBI agent
Every day in New York, people vanish inexplicably. Some disappear by choice, a few by accident and, sadly, others are abducted or murdered. When the victim vanishes, detectives must delve into the missing person's mind to reconstruct their last known moments. That's where the work of the New York-based FBI Missing Persons Squad begins, as seen in Without A Trace.
The special task force, headed by dedicated senior agent Jack Malone (played by Anthony LaPaglia), hunts for missing persons by applying advanced psychological profiling. Malone's team peels back the layers of the victims' lives to trace their whereabouts and discover the truth behind their disappearance.
The task force then reconstruct a DOD (day of disappearance) timeline that details every minute of the 24 hours prior to the victim's disappearance, following one simple rule: learn who the victim is in order to learn where the victim is.
Jack's squad includes Samantha Spade (Poppy Montgomery), an agent whose good looks complement a tough, complex approach to work; Vivian Johnson (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a driven investigator with a special insight into victims' families; Danny Taylor (Enrique Muricano), an intense and private agent whose sensitivity is often covered up by his street smarts; and Martin Fitzgerald (Eric Close), who earned some respect last year as the newest member of the team but still has a lot to prove.
Eric Close has enjoyed working on Without A Trace, though the experience has made him more cautious. "I think because I work on the show, I've become much more aware of my surroundings. I keep a closer eye on my kids."
He's not alone in his observations, as Anthony LaPaglia has noted, "You deal with this stuff every day on the show. I mean, you're not any more of an expert, but your awareness level is very up, whenever you hear about someone gone missing."
"Without a Trace" starring Anthony LaPaglia finds success
"Without A Trace" follows the missing persons squad of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation. After a solid first-season performance, this fast-paced procedural drama was consistently in the top ten during the summer repeat season, with millions of viewers finding it for the first time.
Heading up the team of investigators is Anthony LaPaglia, who plays senior agent Jack Mallone.
“We've had the luxury of being able to evolve without too much pressure," he says. "We weren't expected, necessarily, to succeed. So we didn't have that much pressure put on us. Which kind of allowed us, I think, to grow during the year."
"In some ways, it's great to know that the show is being discovered and that people are very interested in it and starting to watch it more. On the other hand, you feel a greater obligation to keep the standard high,” LaPaglia adds.
And those high standards include trying to stay close to FBI procedure within the confines of a one-hour drama. LaPaglia explains, “In the scene that we just did, something felt off. And so the technical advisor was there. That constantly goes on. We constantly are trying to make it as accurate as possible.” At the same time, he notes, “Sometimes accurate is not interesting.”
While the focus of "Without A Trace" will always be finding those who are missing, viewers are about to learn more about the personal lives of the show's FBI agents, much to the delight of Poppy Montgomery, who plays Samantha Spade.
Montgomery says, “You know, it's always going to be a procedural show, which is what's interesting about it. But it's cool to have those little glimpses of their personal lives.”
Spade seems to be torn between her boss, Jack Malone, and the newest member of the team, Martin Fitgerald, played by Eric Close. So you can expect to see a love triangle this season, says Montgomery, “But I'm not sure how it's developing really. I know as much as the audience knows.”
So what does she really know?
Montgomery says, “I know that Samantha's still got feelings for Jack, and he's trying to work it out with his wife.” The question then is, does Jack still have feelings for Samantha?
“I hope so,” Montgomery says with laughter, “I think so. I think they're sort of torn, you know, and they really have this genuine affection, and attraction, and everything, for each other. But he is trying to give it a shot with his wife. And I know that there's chemistry developing between Samantha and Martin. But what's going to happen, I don't know.”
Perhaps Martin is going to be the rebound guy for Samantha. And Montgomery agrees, “I think so. That's how I would play it. He really likes her. She loves Jack. That's my theory,” she says.
But costar Close has his own theory: “We may really see that start to happen even more in the third season. Right now, I think what we're really trying to focus on, is them building a friendship. So, it's fun, because you see these two people working together. And you see that they like working together, and they're building a relationship, and a friendship so that hopefully, there may come that moment where they're in the middle of something, and then all of a sudden, they look at each other, and it's kind of like, ‘Oh, hey, maybe there's something more than just a friendship,’” Close says.
Asked if she looks at milk cartons and posters of missing people differently since she started working on the show, Montgomery says, “I do. I'm more aware of it. I also follow the cases a lot more. Laci Peterson, I've been really following that avidly. And theorizing. I've always been kind of fascinated. You know, Chandra Levy. I followed that case. But now, I find myself kind of trying to think from the perspective of the profiler: How did it happen? What would be the alternatives?”
You can see "Without A Trace" Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT on CBS.