The intimate atmosphere of Rob the Mob, which is another first rate comedy/drama from filmmaker Raymond De Felitta’s (Two Family House, City Island), is conveyed through a selection of creative avenues. Whether it’s the firecracker banter between Tommy and Rosemarie Uva (Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda or the world weariness of the story’s crime boss (Andy Garcia, who worked with De Felitta in City Island), Rob the Mob is like an old shoe you can’t replace. It’s comfortable, you know exactly how it makes you feel, and even if it’s not as flashy as the other kicks in your closet, your feet are where they want to be.
Penned by Jonathan Fernandez, the movie consistently (and effectively) changes tones, as we are treated to the Uvas’ foolhardy decision to steal from gangsters, a horrible miscalculation which eventually cost them their lives. Although their demise is obviously nothing to laugh at, they’re a passionate couple from Queens who love to shoot from the hip, even if it gets them in hot water. Somewhere in that mix lies a bit of comedy, and Fernandez effectively captures those moments.
The screenwriting isn’t the only golden aspect of Rob the Mob. Part of its natural, homemade touch to Rob the Mob also comes from De Felitta’s close collaboration with composer Stephen Endelman. The musician previously scored De Felitta’s Two Family House, and their working shorthand led to the filmmaker actually setting up shop at the composer’s studio.
Many directors cut their films with a temp score, and a composer is later brought in to flesh out the process. With Rob the Mob,De Felitta was editing his film while Endelman created his own pieces for the narrative.
Click on the media bar below to hear De Felitta break down his collaboration with Endelman:
Rob the Mob, which co-stars Ray Romano as a newspaper columnist who covers Tommy and Rosemarie’s ultimately tragic story, is now playing in select theaters.
Rob The Mob, directed by Two Family House filmmaker Raymond De Felitta, centers on the true story of Thomas and Rosemarie Uva (Michael Pitt, Nina Arianda), a pair of in-love crooks who decide, as the moniker suggests, to pull off a few heists at the expense of various mobsters. What begins as a comedy that’s enriched by the quick witted dialogue from writer Jonathan Fernandez and the easy chemistry between the two leads turns into a completely different story altogether.
Although the base of the narrative centers on the pair’s foolhardy attempts to get one over on a bunch of mobsters, some of the story’s more evocative moments come at the hands of Andy Garcia, who plays crime boss Big Al (a character loosely based on Joseph “Big Joey” Massino).
During the Rob theMob press conference, a reporter remarked how Garcia’s eyes conveyed the soul and overall motivations behind Big Al, and the actor gave his own thoughts on the matter.
For Garcia, truly finding one’s way into a character requires preparation as well as finding the reality of a given moment. With each role, he is reminded of Sanford Meisner’s oft-used yet effective philosophy to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”
“The heart of the character you’re working on, it’s got nothing to do with the eyes,” said Garcia, who was last seen opposite Vera Farmiga in At Middleton. “I don’t want to get caught using my eyes. That’s just the behavior that manifests through…you’re in it. You’re inside of it. We, as actors, we’re looking for those moments that become sublime experiences for us. You’ve done all the work around it and then you set yourself up to have this journey.”
Part of Big Al’s motivation is to ensure that his grandson (Luke Fava) understands the true meaning of family. Garcia’s moments with Fava, though understandably subtle, hold an emotional power that resonates throughout the film’s closing moments. I asked Garcia if he diligently rehearsed with Fava, and he explained that much of the preparation with his co-star came off-camera.