Louie Sabatasso

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Louie Sabatasso was born as Louis Roman Sabatasso. He has recently produced and starred in the indie film Western Religion, set to premier at Cannes this May.  He is also known for Wish You Were Here (2013), and Dr. Daddi (2013).  Louie lives in LA.

1.  Can you tell us where you are from?  What kind of family did you come from?

I was born iLouie Sabatasson Encino, California… My mother’s name is Mary my father is Luis, Louie not Luis although I am not a jr. We have different middle names.… I have three brothers and three sisters most of them are older I just have one younger sister, and my family was a pretty basic sort of family I mean well… That’s a lie there’s nothing basic about my family. My father was in the frozen food manufacturing business.

And it is sort of strange that I became an artist as it were… Neither one of my parents were artistically inclined whatsoever in fact they were both pretty dorky. Self-expression was not really valued at my house at all I was told to calm down often.

2.  You started life at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  What inspired your decision to pursue acting?  Do you remember any of your teachers?  Tell us some of the lessons you learned at the AADA.

Yes… I attended the American Academy of dramatic arts. I remember a couple of my teachers one of which specifically was a substitute teacher KMan, he taught us about something called improv… which I instantly fell in love with. The American Academy was sort of like fame… Dancing class and singing class and acting class and movement class and… It was all a lot to embrace and I had just come out of the very conservative confines.

If I were to do all that now… It would’ve been a score like that now I would completely embrace everything in all of it just because that’s kind of who I am now but that’s not who I was when I was 18 years old. Which is kind of a shame… Although I don’t really begrudge my path in anyway would’ve been nice to of gotten more out of it.

3.  What did you learn from your experience at The Groundlings?

Louie in the sunThe groundlings was a lot of fun but I was so young at the time… It was hard to keep what was going on in perspective, to see the big picture. I was in such a hurry I didn’t appreciate the process.

Describe your experience working with Brett Ratner, Rebecca Gayheart and Jeremy Piven on Me and Daphne.  What did you learn from your experience working on Me and Daphne?

Working with Brett and Rebecca was a very valuable experience. I had never done anything on that scale to that point that I had personally written. I was originally slated to play the lead in it but Jeremy Piven wanted his buddy to play it and he had more clout than me so there you go.

4.  Describe your experience attending Sundance when Me and Daphne premiered at the festival.

Sundance was amazing because I hadn’t seen the movie in over a year at that point. It was received really well and all of the jokes were still relevant and funny. It was awesome to see it with an audience since the material was pretty much based on my childhood.

5.  Your big break was 90210.  What was it like being part of such a successful series?  How did you land the role?  How did this early success influence the direction you took from there?

90210 I wouldn’t really classifies a big break, I was on the very first episode of the show the pilot movie, and I just played sort of a jock. It was fun… It was my first experience on a real set acting, so that will always have a lot of value to me. I’ve done several national commercials at that point so I had that experience but never acting on a television show. Actually work the very first day of shooting on that series and Shea

Shannon Doherty and Jason Priestly were there. It was very exciting in retrospect.

Jeremy Pitman played one of the leads… That was a lot of fun and a great experience.

26.  Camp Freddy, the all-star band started by Robbie Williams.  You said you “worked with just about every rock star in the world”.   Can you talk about the experience?  What exactly was Camp Freddy?  Who were some of your favorite guests?

Camp Freddy was the brand child of Robbie Williams and it was an all-star cover band and I just happen to be friends with all the guys and started shooting shows and put together enough material for this pretty elaborate music documentary and that got me involved in that world and that was a very very very interesting and fun world for a long time. After that I did the making of thought revolvers first record/and being a huge Guns and Roses fan that was truly exciting. For me it was sort of like film school was really amazing.

7.  You said you had also been working on short narrative films.

I did a couple short narrative films that I wrote.  I completely fell in love with the process. And that’s the process I still really love today. So if I were going to Cannes to premiere Western Religion which is the Western that I also play the lead in it is going to be very, very exciting. To sit there and watch it with the real audience in France at Cannes will be amazing.


8.  It was at this point that you teamed up with James O’Brien to make a road movie, Wish You Were Here.  Filmed on the road and running from West to East Coast, the experience is described in James’ interview.  James told me that your personal story was the inspiration for making the movie.  He talked about your “dramatic experiences involved in getting sober” and how deeply they impacted him.  Can you talk about this experience from your own perspective? What was it like taking on the role of Dean when his story so closely resembled your own?

Louie black and whiteJames and I met right before we did Wish You Were Here another film that he wrote and directed and yes he based it largely on a lot of my personal experiences that I’ve had in my life to the point.

Although James is not an alcoholic he really understands the alcoholic mind and he’s very sensitive to it. He has an innate sensitivity that makes that possible.

Wish You Were Here was really a beautiful amazing little film I still love very very much. It’s a film I can watch and really go back in time, back to the time that we made the film. Back to where my life was just the beautiful film that James was able to capture telling that wonderful story. Makes me want to keep doing movies.

9.  Did revisiting that period in your life have an impact on your personal development both as an actor and as a friend?  And are you any different now as a person, having made the film, as opposed to if you hadn’t had the opportunity?

Wish You Were Here was inspired by stories I told James but there all similarities to my real life ended. It didn’t help me through anything at the time really. It was a wonderful film making experience but it wasn’t some cathartic life changing process.

10.  You recently finished production on the western written by James O’Brien titled Western Religion.  What is the name of the character you play and what role do they play in the script?

8James told me he wanted to make a Western and as an actor I wasn’t all that intrigued until he told me the premise and title. I then went on to explain a character I would like to play. What I said was…. “I want to play a sexually ambiguous dandy boy from Vienna who is a drug addict and an alcoholic and also a killer when he needs to be. I want him to be named Salt Peter” . I got the name from a line in “One Flew Over the Cookoos Nest” said by Jack Nicholson.

11.  How did you develop your character after reading the script? How did you make costuming choices for your character and what were the sources for the various parts of your wardrobe?

As far as the voice and costume for him a lot of that was James idea. We spent a lot of time coming up with the voice and one day settled on a combination of young Truman capote and a young Marlon Brando. The part was a lot of fun to play.

12.  What were your responsibilities behind the camera working as a Producing Partner?

Producing was a lot more stressful and taxing. Raising money throughout the entire production and putting out fires with the cast throughout shooting weren’t a lot of fun. My only escape from that was when I put on the wardrobe and played Salt.

413.  I also watched the Dr. Daddi short on YouTube.  I thought it was hilarious! You have the gift of comedy!  Have there been and developments with this project?

Dr Daddi was just a funny character I came up with that we wanted to play around with. It’s fun in this time we live in with so many media outlets to create and then just post stuff. But that’s really it with stuff like that. It’s not that serious.

14.  It looks like you’re currently working on a project titled The Backward Path, a detective with a drug habit “prowling the night” in downtown LA.  Can you talk to us about this project?  It sounds like there’s going to be a lot of twists and turns to this story.

5Yes the next thing I’ll be doing is The Backward Path. I commissioned James to write that script several years ago based on a story idea that I had and he wrote a really spectacular script. (Actor and writer) Tony Herbert was recently coming off a huge script in Hollywood, and he also played the part of the journalist in Western religion.  He is doing a rewrite on the script. I’m close to a deal with some investors to start the ball rolling to make the film in the fall. So exciting to be in Cannes and to be talking about the next project that I’ll be doing. James will be my producing partner on it and Tony Herbert’s most likely going to direct it. It’s very very exciting.

Thanks guys,

Louie

For a look at highlights from Louie’s acting life check out his Actor’s Reel.

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edited by Anthony Heller

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