By Alice O’Neill
When Andy Garcia first appears as a gray-bearded grandfather in Rob The Mob, I didn’t know, for several seconds, that the old man is actually the handsome actor Andy Garcia, so immersed is he in the character he plays, Big Al Fiorello, a mobster who teaches his grandson the secrets of Italian cooking. Then it dawned on me—the eyes. The Garcia eyes give him away.
“The beard was not in the script,” he told me at a press conference in Beverly Hills’ Four Sesaons Hotel where reporters questioned the stars, writer, director and composer. “I’d grown it before filming and he (motioning to director Raymond De Felitta) liked it.”
“As actors we bring emotional baggage to our characters,” Garcia said. “I drew on personal experiences. I wanted to humanize Big Al.”
A light twinkled in his eyes, the same eyes of the grandfather but looking decidedly younger. Here, in the well-organized public relations event, the smoothly shaven face, carefully trimmed dark hair and Armani-suited trim body quietly proclaimed,“This is a movie star.”
The child actor who plays Big Al’s grandson is Luke Fobb. Garcia explained how he worked with Luke, to loosen him up so he’d be ready to do a scene and stay in character. “Working with kid actors means you have to concentrate on the kid. A lot. We spent a lot of time together, making jokes, doing tricks. It’s all about the kid, about building a relationship. And we did build a relationship. We took meals together, played games. Actually it was good getting to know Luke. He’s an actor and he wants to continue working. He knows how to be natural for the camera. That’s important.”
Watch for Garcia’s performance in the romantic At Middleton, opposite Vera Farmiga and also featuring Garcia’s daughter Daniella Garcia-Lorido.
Also upcoming is What About Love with Sharon Stone.