Sam Rockwell and Marisa Tomei are arguably two of the most versatile actors today. And when you’re a working actor, being versatile is one of the highest compliments paid.
In “Loitering With Intent” (out now in select theaters and VOD), two struggling New York actors/friends Raphael (Ivan Martin) and Dominic (Michael Godere) are just looking to prove their worth as artists.
Rockwell and Tomei play Gigi and Wayne, a dysfunctional couple who wind up crashing Raphael and Dominic’s 10-day rush to push out a promising script for a big-talking producer (Natasha Lyonne).
Dom wants to make the most out of his sister Gigi’s upstate home to deliver the best script possible. With the unexpected presence of his sister and her hostile boyfriend, the working relationship stalls and the group dynamic shifts to hysteria.
Given that Martin and Godere were friends with both actors, putting them together was a no brainer.
“We always wanted to work together,” Rockwell says. “Marisa’s one of our greats. Just being around that is important. … When you’re working with people like that, sometimes you learn little lessons but you can’t put your finger on it.”
Despite Tomei and Rockwell’s successful careers, the crux of the story, about struggling to make it in the entertainment business, spoke to them. Not to mention having their friends create these roles just for them.
“The appeal was Ivan and Michael creating this world for us to jump into,” Tomei says.
While one might think dealing with the growing pains of breaking into the business is a thing of the past, Rockwell insists that there are still stumbling blocks for working actors, including the very common occurrence of stereotyping.
“Everyone is always trying to get you to do your last trick,” he says.
Tomei counters cleverly with a hint of amusement, “I always wanted to be stereotyped as a person who does a lot of different things.”
If there was something you could put your finger on, it’s that “Loitering With Intent” is a piece for the artist in all of us, and the inner struggle that exists no matter the stage in one’s career. For both actors the nerves never leave.
“I think the common denominator for anyone, whether you’re Gene Hackman or Tom Hanks, is that we all care,” Rockwell says.
Tomei has a similar story: “I remember being on set with Jack Nicholson for the set of ‘Anger Management,’ and he opened the door and said, ‘I’m always so nervous on the first day.’ And I was like, ‘Whoa!'”