KC: Were you an instant success?
CS: I directed some plays, and I did a movie called “Big Night” with Stanley Tucci, who had written the screenplay with his cousin. And everything started to fall into place. I also enjoy producing, but not necessarily raising the money – I’m not great at that. But I found that putting all the pieces together is greatly rewarding.
KC: So what do you prefer – acting, directing or producing?
CS: I don’t know. I used to say that acting in plays and directing movies was the ideal combination, and I still think that is right. But I do enjoy acting on film, as long as I’m not gone for too long because I’m also a family man. But then again directing plays is great and producing is marvelous.
But hopefully, the next the next phase for me will be writing – the writing is where it all starts. It’s really difficult and rewarding.
KC: On Sunday, The Bedford Playhouse is screening “Off the Map,” which you directed. What drew you to that movie?
CS: I went to see my friend in the play, and I just fell in love with it. It was a very small production in Great Barrington, MA, which is where the playwright Joan Ackerman is from. I had been to New Mexico a couple of times, and I wanted to be a movie director. After I saw the play, I realized the only thing missing from it was New Mexico. When I saw Joan afterwards, I said, ‘Can I buy this from you and try to make it into movie?’ And she said yes. But it took a couple of years to make it because we had to raise the money. She wrote a great script, and we worked on it together. I eventually hooked up with a great company, Holedigger Films, and made several other movies with them, like “Rodger Dodger” and “The Secret Lives of Dentists.”
KC: Why did you decide to screen this film at The Bedford Playhouse?
CS: That is a good question. They had originally wanted “The Spanish Prisoner,” which I really like, but I didn’t produce or direct it – I was only an actor. I think it’s much more fun to talk about how something materialized from the beginning. Also, frankly, because we’re in December, I thought, ‘You know what’s great when it’s freezing? To watch what I call an environment movie, or an outdoor movie.’ And this movie is probably more outdoors than it is indoors, and it’s in a beautiful, warm place.
KC: So the goal is to make the audience members jealous?
CS: No….well, maybe you’re right….I don’t know.
KC: What do you plan to talk about on Sunday?
CS: I have no idea! But I love when the lights go down and the audience suddenly takes over the movie – it becomes theirs. I love to listen to the reaction, even if it’s not good. I like to be there and feel it out.
KC: So, should we tell every to bring some tomatoes?
CS: Well, let them decide what they want to do.