James Quattrochi is a very diverse man. He is an actor, a producer, a director, a writer and owns several companies in the Hollywood movie industry. He accomplished all of this since he set foot in L.A. back in 1991. His movies have had huge success with major motion picture companies and his projects have received awards as well. His work has been on T.V. also. His most recent project is the forthcoming theatrical release; “The Sinatra Club.” James recently phoned in to talk about his new project, what it was like to do the movie with a mob presence always around and that he’s still humble even with all of his accomplishments.
James Quattrochi- Hello, how are you today?
The Entertainment Nexus- I’m doing great…and you?
JQ- I’m great! I don’t know how much you know about me, but I was the director of the Sprouse Twins movie: “The Prince And The Pauper” and I sold that to Sony. Before that I did “Jesus, Mary And Joey” and Fox took it. Right after that I did a movie called: “The Nail” in Philadelphia based on a true story. It was a boxing movie. Fox also picked that one up. Dayanara Torres, who was Miss Universe and was married to Marc Anthony and along with Tony Danza, William Forsythe all starred in the movie. The whole Latino community was really pushing the movie. I just directed a movie called: “The Sinatra Club” which is a pretty incredible story.
TEN- What was it like to get the Gotti family’s blessing on this film?
JQ- I think it was important. Victoria (Gotti) has a book coming out now; John (Junior) is on trial right now, some of the people from the family were like: “This is cool.” The film wasn’t demeaning. If anything, it humanized John. John in this movie has a lot of honor. John Gotti talks about “Never cheatin on your wife…everything’s about family…being honorable.” He didn’t stand for women and children being affected. He was really, really filled with a lot of principles. He was an honorable man…he never ratted! This guy was in prison and never ratted on anybody and yet right now Joe Massino, head of the Bonanno Crime Family right now is ratting on everybody! And he was the boss! John Gotti never did that and I have a lot of respect for John Gotti and John Gotti’s family. I came into this to make a movie…to show a day in the life of what it was like around those guys. “The Sinatra Club” was a social club called; “The Sinatra Club” that played Frank Sinatra’s music out of the jukebox. The movie’s filled with all of that kind of music. I wanted to show the “honorable side” of what these guys were doin. They were business men they just…ya know…didn’t put up with bullshit! They had their hands into a couple of different pies. I didn’t compromise and always tried to see it through because at the end of the day believe me Troy; in the back of my mind I knew they were gonna see the movie. The last thing that I wanted was for them to come after me…mad at me! I had a private screening at a major studio…private for one of the “Gotti family members”…for a lack of a better word. At the end of the movie, I looked at him and said; “Did you like it? Are you mad at me?” He gave me a hug and goes; “No man, you know what? It’s a great movie and you represented John in a good way.” I put a special memoriam to John Gotti at the end of the movie and I made it from Sal Polisi. I made sure that that was in there. So, everything’s good.
TEN- When did you decide that you wanted to become a director/actor/producer?
JQ- I was an actor for like 12 years and you know what Troy? I didn’t know if I decided it or if life decided it for me. I know that you get that, being a writer yourself. Listen, when I moved out here (L.A.) in 1991, nobody would have came up to me and said: “You’re not gonna be an actor…you’re gonna be a director!” I think that we woulda had a fight. You know what? Life took me down this path; I embraced it and as Yogi Berra from the Yankees…I’m a big Yankee fan, he said: “When you come to the fork in the road…you take it!” So…I took it! I didn’t know where it was gonna bring me but being a director for me is the ultimate creativity. It’s the hardest job that I could have picked for myself and yet I love it. To me, it’s not like going to work…it’s going to play. I have a great time doin what I do and again, life chose it for me. I didn’t really choose it.
TEN- Tell me about Martin Scorsese.
JQ- Martin Scorsese! (Laughs) My life has been very unique. Man, you know a lot about me! You’re scaring me now Troy! (Laughs)
TEN- In a good way though.
JQ- Yeah, in a very good way unless you’re a mobster! Ok, here we go. I was on the set of “Good Fellas” as an extra and I met Martin and I was real honest with him. I asked him: “How do I get my S.A.G. card?” and he said: “I don’t know…just bring me a head shot tomorrow.” I showed up really early and I didn’t know any better and I was walking through the parking lot. I saw his trailer and knocked on the door…which is probably not a good thing to do. I mean the man’s directing “Good Fellas” an academy award winning movie and I’m knockin on his door and I’m an “extra.” So I knock on the trailer door, a lady answers and says: “What can I do for you?” I said: “Mr. Scorsese wanted me to bring down some pictures.” She then slams the door in my face and I go: “Oh my God, I’m in trouble!” I hear whispering and the shades open and close and open and close. Then she comes storming out, she’s not in a good mood, she won’t look at me and says: “Come with me!” She’s walking towards “The Copacabana” because that’s where we were filming. The whole way there I’m goin: “Oh man, I’m in trouble, I’ll never work in this town again.” I didn’t know. I didn’t know any better. I mustered up enough nerve to ask her “Where are we goin?” That’s when she informed me that Martin Scorsese was gonna give me my S.A.G. card and give me lines with Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta that day in “The Copacabana!” I got really scared because now I’m gonna meet Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta. I remember that I was in make up and they were doin my hair and my friends who were all “extras” too walked by. It was a very “Cliquey thing” and they stopped and go: “What are you doin?” and I go “Don’t worry about it. Marty’s givin me my S.A.G. card this afternoon!” They flipped me off, they cussed me out, and they wouldn’t talk to me all day long. I got my S.A.G. card and I bought Martin Scorsese a bottle of “Anisetta.” In Italia, we put it in our coffee a lot. I brought it to him and gave it to him and I thanked him for giving me my S.A.G. card. He looked at me in the eye and said: “Don’t let it go to waste.” This was in 1988. In 1998, then years later, I directed my first movie and I sent it to him. He watched it and sent me back a beautiful letter, which I have hung in my office in a frame. I had sent a letter with the movie and I said; “Dear Mr. Scorsese, you probably don’t remember me, my name is Jaime, you gave me my S.A.G. card and you looked me in the eye and said; “Don’t let it go to waste.” Here’s my first movie thanks to you. I hope that you don’t think that I let it go to waste.”
Charles Durning did the same thing to me. I met Charles when he won The Tony for “A Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” he looked at me and goes: “You gotta good look kid, don’t let ‘em knock you outta the box.” In other words, don’t quit because of anybody. That’s a message for anybody in life and especially in this industry. This was around 1988 or 89 and then in 2002 I was directing “Jesus, Mary & Joey” I had hired Charles Durning to play a great role in the movie. He does the first take and then he comes up to me and goes: “Any notes?” I looked at him and I said; “Yeah Charlie, I didn’t let them knock me outta the box!” Stop moment and he gave me this big hug with this little tear in his eye. You realize at that moment that it was more than just making a movie. It was almost a magical/spiritual/religious/bigger than life that was meant to be. We embraced it. I remember when I was doin “True Friends.” I directed/wrote/produced/acted in it and this woman came up to me and she said: “You’re the guy from “True Friends!” Now Troy, this is the first time in my life as an actor that anybody recognized me. I was like “WOW!” She gave me this big hug and had a tear in her eye. I said; “Oh my God, is the movie that bad?” She said: “No, I saw your movie and I went home and I hadn’t spoken to my girlfriend from college in 6 years. I called her up and now we are having lunch next week because of your movie!” I went to my car and I broke down crying. It was very emotional. I had realized at that moment that what I do is bigger than me.” It made me realize something. Could you imagine this world without any music…paintings…poetry…writing…movies…songs…sculpting…theater…ballet…dancing? Could you imagine this world without “The Arts?” I said: “God what an ugly world.” I realized that through my movies and anybody else’s movies or paintings or music…we feel young again, we fall in love again, we have hope again and we live. You know, the firemen and the police officer and the construction workers- they live…we inspire them. We may be these “Little Angels” for lack of a better word that were given a gift, if that’s what you call it. I don’t know what I have if you could call it a gift or a curse. Whatever it is that I have that some people like is here for me to use. I do it for people like that lady and I do it for people like Martin Scorsese that saw something in me and gave me my S.A.G. card and said; “Don’t let it go to waste!” and for Charles Durning. I do it for that reason. Not necessarily for my self.
TEN- That’s an awesome way to be. Mackenzie Phillips was in “True Friends” as well.
JQ- Ahh, now she’s been in all the news lately. I did not sleep with her! (Laughs) I did not. It never got that far…ever! You know what? I have to say that I love Mackenzie. We were best friends. She is one of the sweetest, most sincere ladies you’d ever wanna meet. Anybody that’s been through what she’s been through…she’s real. When you see Mackenzie you get the real Mackenzie. I have a lot of respect for her and she was awesome to work with and what a great actress! I’ve had fun in my career and I’ve gotten to work with some really cool people.
TEN- Who are some of the others that you’ve enjoyed working with?
JQ- I’ve worked with Dennis Farina, Leo Rossi, Dayanara Torres. I mean Dayanara is probably one of the most beautiful women in the world. She was married to Marc Anthony twice by the way. This woman is beautiful inside…beautiful outside and her Latino community went gaga over the movie “The Nail.” All anybody has to do if they want to see that movie is go to www.thenailthemovie.com that’s probably one of my proudest movies to date because it fights for a cause. It deals a little with domestic abuse and child abuse.
TEN- I’m looking at your profile on IMDB and it’s crazy impressive.
JQ- (Laughs) You know what? Tell that to Bank of America. I gotta tell ya, I’ve done a lot. You know Troy; I’m glad that you brought that up. A lot of times, I don’t give myself enough credit. I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there like me. I’ll accomplish something and I don’t congratulate myself enough and then every once in a while I’ll go on IMDB and I’ll go; “Shit! I’ve done a lot! Maybe I just need to start patting myself on the back a little bit but I really don’t do that much really at all. I try to remind myself that you know what? “I’ve done more than most…unless they are “A levels” like Tom Cruise, Scorsese, Coppola…and those guys. I make a joke; “If I quit tomorrow the only difference between Sean Connery and me is that he’s got a lot more money!” (Laughs) I’ve worked and he’s worked…ya know? My point is when I got out here, I didn’t know anybody. I’ve done the acting. I’ve done the producing…the writing and the directing and I’m very proud of it. I’m very proud of it. Hopefully God willing, there’s a lot more to come.
TEN- You’ve also been very successful with taking head shots for up and coming actors and actresses.
JQ- I own the studio and I’m actually looking for the right photographer to take over. I’m way too busy to really do the head shots anymore. I own a transportation company which supplies dressing rooms, mobile homes and star wagons for the movie sets. I had to do all of that so that I wouldn’t wait tables anymore…had to do that so I wouldn’t struggle. Owning the photography studio and owning the transportation company has allowed me to pick and choose better projects and not have to settle for cheaper projects. Everything that got done, I truly, honestly believed in.
TEN- It’s nice that you still stay grounded.
JQ- I get invited to go to these Hollywood events all of the time and I just hate them. I don’t know about you but I feel very uncomfortable there. I feel like I’m supposed to go there and be somebody that I’m not. I’m myself. I would rather cook dinner for some friends and open a bottle of wine, watch a good movie and have some laughs. To me, friends and family are everything! I think it’s because of my family and friends that I do stay grounded. At the end of the day, we all go to where we go when we’re not here anymore. We don’t have a label; “I was a busboy” or “I was a garbage man” or “I was a director.” No, we just go there and we have our soul. We all come from the same place. I treat everybody the same no matter who they are. I don’t look down on anybody.
TEN- I hope that you never change.
JQ- I won’t man. I’m too old to change. (Laughs)
TEN- How did you meet Victoria Talbot?
JQ- It’s weird man. We grew up in the same neighborhood together. I dated one of her neighbors. I’ve known Vickie since she was 12. We all hung out at the same park…a lot of friends. I still talk to a lot of them. It’s amazing. We still know 20-30 people and we Facebook each other. Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with one another. I think her reality show is unique.
TEN- Tell me something disturbing about yourself that you’ve never revealed before in an interview.
JQ- Every time that I finish a movie, I wonder if I’m ever gonna work again. That disturbs me. (Laughs) It’s like I’ll finish a movie and I’ll say to myself; “Wonder if I’m ever gonna work again?” I should have more confidence. And I have one more thing…Why can’t I seem to find the right woman in my life?
TEN- Really? I figured that you wouldn’t have any problems in that department.
JQ- No, no, no, man. It’s not about the quantity…it’s about the quality. I wanna meet my soul mate. I’m sincere and I pray every night. I’m like: “God, where is she?”
TEN- You just haven’t met the right one yet.
JQ- I guess not buddy…
I want to thank James for taking the time to share his interesting life and Victoria Talbot for setting up another great interview.
For more information on James please visit http://www.jamesquattrochi.com/ or IMDB http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0006786/
To contact Victoria Talbot, CEO HYPE, INC. please visit www.allabouthype.com
For exclusive photos of James, please visit the “Showing Some Love For TEN” gallery.