A lifetime of acting, mostly on stage, finally paid off for Paul Raci when he earned an Oscar nomination for a part he was born to play in Sound of Metal. It has changed the trajectory of his career, and he is happy to talk about working with Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Lopez, and Colman Domingo on recent projects. But what Leonard and Jessie took away from our conversation is Paul’s admirable work ethic and total dedication to his craft.
If you weren’t among the seven million people watching Melvin Gregg’s 7-second Vine videos online you may know him from such films and TV shows as Nine Perfect Strangers and the brand-new feature Share alongside Bradley Whitford and Alice Braga, now available on VOD. His acting ambitions brought him to Hollywood but unlike other young, struggling thespians, he devised a game plan to get him in the door with A-list filmmakers. Leonard and Jessie advise you to keep an eye on Melvin: he’s going places.
Tony Anselmo’s face may not be familiar, but the whole world knows his voice—that is, when he speaks as his alter ego, Donald Duck! Tony inherited this unique job from its creator, Clarence Nash, and he feels very protective of the famously furious mallard. He is also a graduate of Cal Arts and has been an animator at the Walt Disney studio since 1980. Leonard and Jessie are longtime fans and friends, as they share a love of all things Disney.
Elizabeth Daley has served as the Dean of the USC School for Cinematic Arts for 30 years, which means she’s been Leonard’s boss for 25 of those years. Leonard and Jessie realized that they’d never sat and just talked to her for an hour—until now. Elizabeth studied theater and migrated to television early in her career, then answered the call from academia for what she thought would be a temporary assignment. Now she consults worldwide based on her vast experience dealing with students, teachers, and such alumni as George Lucas, who laid the foundation (literally) to rebuild the school in downtown Los Angeles. You’ll hear other names appropriately dropped, from Hitchcock to Zemeckis in the course of this wide-ranging conversation.