This past Wednesday, I became the luckiest filmmaker in New York when the fabulous Julianna Margulies leapt aboard the runaway train known as "City Island" and agreed to play Andy Garcia's wife, Joyce Rizzo. How the hell can a movie be one week away from shooting and still not have such an important part cast? I think I'll leave that story for my memoir--titled "Raymond De Felitta: A Life Of Waiting Around", currently scheduled for a spring 2043 paper-less release.
The truth is: everything truly does happen for a reason and there was never anybody nearly as perfect for the role of Joyce as Julianna. So why didn't we offer it to her first? This goes so far back in the putting together of this movie that honestly I can't remember what we were thinking. But from the moment her name was mentioned it made perfect sense; and as soon as I sat across from this beautiful, tough, thoroughly at home in her skin woman over lunch a couple of weeks ago I knew I had found my Joyce. Adding to my good fortune is the fact that she and Andy have worked together in the past--in a very good film called "The Man From Elysian Fields". So they're comfortable together. Believe me, that takes a hell of a burden off of a director--when two people are supposed to be married or in love and the actors playing them don't particularly like each other, it's hard to seperate the personal from the professional and you're always wondering if the performances are going to feel real or if your movie is getting screwed because of two fragile egos. (This happened to me once--actually the performances turned out great but I spent the whole movie worrying if there was any chemistry between...never mind, I think I'll save that for my memoir as well).
Below are two interivews with Ms. Margulies, the first with Charlie Rose, done about ten years ago, and a second more recent one from the CBS Early Show (I don't know the identity of the fawning interviewer but J.M. handles his obsequiousness with great panache). This last one's from 2006 after she had finished "Snakes On A Plane" and was starring on Broadway in an adaptation of the Dogma movie "The Celebration"--I hadn't heard about this project until she told me about it over lunch. I certainly would have gone to see it as "The Celebration" is, in my opinion, one of the best films ever made.