LG- I feel that I have been performing all my life. In school as a class officer and team captain I was in front of an audience. As an officer and company commander in the US Army I was leading 400 soldiers, and my every move and command was scrutinized and interpreted by those under my command. As a specialist member of the New York Stock Exchange I interacted with 100’s of brokers on a daily basis and I had to make each one feel that their interests were my main concern. Playing senior professional golf I was playing tournaments on local television and entertaining the local sponsors. Throughout my careers I have been on the boards of many diverse institutions, from educational and social to big business. In all these endeavors it was key that my performance enabled me to accomplish my objectives- thus, pursuing acting on a formal level was a natural transition.
ED- One of your earliest appearances on television was the project ‘Black Mass’. Tell us about this and any earlier works that you were involved with.
LG- ‘Black Mass’ was a documentary recreation of the Whitey Bulger story. Bulger was and is on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. The story revealed how Bulger manipulated a childhood friend and FBI agent into giving him protection for supposed inside information on Boston’s Mafia. Bulger disappeared and most of his information proved useless and nothing more than a cover for his own illicit operations. My first TV gig in Chicago was working with Kyle Chandler (star of ‘Friday Night Lights’) on ‘Early Edition’. He was a real pleasure to work with and made my introduction to the “set” a wonderful experience. You knew he would go on to a big success.
ED- In 2005 you appeared in two productions : ‘Guilty or innocent?’ and ‘Moses: Fallen In the City of Angeles’. Please tell us all about these and the roles that you played.
LG- ‘Guilty or Innocent’ was a police procedural reenactment show on the Discovery channel. They used actual crime stories and renacted them in a dramatic format. My role was that of Captain Richard Wheeler, in charge of the precinct where the detectives ultimately solved the case. ‘Moses: Fallen In the City of Angels’ was a feature film that was a labor of love for producer/director Benjamin Maccabee. It is the tale of a fallen angel who is sentenced to a human life sentence. The story uses a mob boss, hit men and lots of action as analogies for the Dark Angel, the Arc Angel , etc. Maccabee idolized Steve McQueen, and this is how he played his starring role. I was the chief mob counselor. I was shot and killed in the big, final shootout. Even though through out my career being a mobster (also a mobster on General Hospital) seems to follow me, each character is very different and they are creative and fun to play.
ED- How did these strengthen your career?
LG- ‘Guilty or Innocent’ introduced me to one hour dramatic episodics and their process, enabling me to be prepared for future roles. ‘Moses’ was a three month shoot all over California and confirmed my experiences of a disjointed shoot without much structure (first experienced on the film ‘Shut Eye’) and reinforced my capabilities in handling the situation.
ED- You furthered your career in 2007 by appearing in two more productions, ‘Livewire’ and ‘Two-Eleven’. Can you tell us something about these shows?
LG- ‘Livewire’ was like a guerilla shoot, a good experience but not something you want to do all the time. I loved my role as the bookmaker. ‘Two-Eleven’ was just the opposite. A wonderful experience with producer/director Velvet Andrews Smith. This film was so professionally and artfully done, I’m surprised it did not win more awards at the festivals. Velvet is currently in post production on her film “Ripple Effect”, as she is one of only eight women chosen from across the nation to make a film as part of American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. We will be hearing a lot from her (and she’s my biggest fan, to quote:” Larry, you were pure perfection on ‘Two-Eleven’).
ED- Afterwards you appeared in 2008 in the TV show, ‘My Happiness’. What was your role here?
LG- ‘My Happiness’ was a documentary about the making of the atom bombs that were dropped on Japan to end WWII. I portrayed Dr. Peter Fredricks and recounted the history of the physical bomb making. A great history lesson.
ED- You’ve since appeared in four episodes of ‘General Hospital’. Tell us about the part you played and the relationship with the other characters in the series.
LG- ‘General Hospital’ is a truly great experience and one that every actor should try to book. Working on a soap opera (or daytime television as they prefer) will prepare you to work on any set- its fast and furious! No rehearsal, just block and shoot. My role is that of “Uncle Paulie”, the head of the New York mob. I’m the guy that the head of the Port Charles mob, Sonny (played by Maurice Benard) has to appease – some nice tensions!
ED- How did you relate to the other cast members, and can you tell us about them?
LG- The entire cast was a treat to work with. As a recurring character, I am a visitor to their home. They all made me feel very welcome (and respected my professionalism). Brandon Barash (playing Johnny Zacchara) couldn’t have been nicer, although he tried to choke me to death with a baseball bat. Sarah Brown (Claudia Zacchara) treated me just like the uncle she loves. Stephen Macht (Trevor Lansing) was the senior actor on the set and was very kind in sharing his insights on the business and the process.
ED- One of your latest roles was in the television show ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. Please tell us all about it.
LG- ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ is an experience like no other. The show is completely unscripted, so every take was a surprise. It’s not easy to just think of things off the top of your head every take. It’s a real challenge, but I love challenges. This was a dream role. When you book a role it reminds you that you are on top of your game and it lead to some big scenes on Curb. Larry David’s genius just permeates the set. I was very fortunate to have a scene one-on-one with Larry. .
ED- This is a well known show, and a favorite among viewers. Can you tell us how it was to work on this set?
LG- I was very fortunate to work with the great director Larry Charles. Everyone on the set is most supportive. I think they realize how difficult the one-on-ones are. The first two takes Larry Charles told me to just do what I did in the audition. Every take for the next nine it was “do something different!” Talk about brain burn out! The fact that they work fast actually helps the process. The scenes turned out great, and the episode “The Bare Midriff” is nominated for an Emmy. It was a great season of Curb Your Enthusiasm all the way around. The scenes can be viewed here: http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=wYz5Sp71OlY this is my YouTube Channel.
ED- Larry, it has been great interviewing you, and we wish you luck in all your future endeavors. Thank you for your time with us and please keep in touch and update us often with your career.