By Nick Christophers
"In this business you have to be focused and persistent that is the only way to climb that mountain," said aspiring actor/ producer /songwriter Lou Mastantuono. Lou, raised in the Five Towns grew up with the vision of being apart of the glamour and allure of the entertainment industry. But it was not his first stop. In High school he was involved in theatrical performances, chorus and of course sports. One of his first performances was "Guys & Dolls". In college he was involved in baseball and played in a band as a lead singer.
Lou was always somehow immersed into the performing arts. Whether it was on a stage or on a field. Following college a turn of events lead him back into the world of the entertainment. He soon found the time to devote his love for the arts. He attended HB Studios for acting with Bill Hickey and Michael Beckett as his mentors. As an inspiration for his acting he found Anthony Quinn and the early Robert DeNiro as his acting role models. " I found DeNiro's performance in "Raging Bull" as the spring board for my desire to pursue the field of acting. As well as Anthony Quinn's studded performances in "Requiem for A Heavyweight" and "La Strada".
His first exercise that he had to perform at HB Studios was to act vulnerable by which he undressed to fit the role. The 60 people in the room applauded not only for his "guts" but also the accuracy of the theme. He soon went on to be an extra in the film "Prizzis Honor". At first he was an extra along with Stanley Tucci. They shot for 3 weeks. He was given a line with Jack Nicholson but the scene was later removed for lack of time.
But Lou was thrilled to have at least worked along such accomplished actors. He soon returned to his music where he wrote some songs for feature film soundtracks with Academy Award singer/ songwriter Michael Sembello (who wrote the theme to "Flash Dance"). " It was a great experience and I learned a lot while living and working in Los Angeles."
He soon returned to New York and worked with director Rob Weiss on the film "Amongst Friends". Lou was a supporting actor in the film. At the same time he was performing in Off-Off Broadway productions like "View from A Bridge" where he played the role of Eddie Carbone. " Doing that production was great because I took the part and fueled it with my own self and made the character more life-like," Lou added.
One other production he did 4 years ago was "Wounded Heart Mission" a heart- wrenching story that proved to be Lou's best display of his talents amongst the public and his peers in theatrical world. " The character definitly became a part of me. It was a great story, well written." The play ran for almost four months.
It was one of his favorite parts. After this production he went on to produce and collaborate on the Broadway production "Squonk" at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Which was recognized as an art performance piece. It received mixed reviews but nonetheless proved to make its mark.
Currently Lou has been working on a film, "More Than You Know" based on his family's legacy. The story is based in part on a front-page news story in 1946 where a groom's bride- to- be dies at the altar. The story from beginning to end is riveting and tragic. He has had the success of garnering the interest of Olympia Dukakis, Ben Gazzara and Maria Grazia Cucinotta ( Il Postino) to work on the film. For now the financing is coming together and will go into production by spring 2006. Besides his own venture he has landed a role as a supporting actor on the upcoming NBC series "NY70" which will be aired sometime next year. In addition he played a lead role in a short film clip called "Exit 10" which was well received on the Independent Film Circuit. Another "Five Towner" Scott Pardo directed the short.
Along with the passion to bring his film to the screen he is simultaneously developing two Reality shows. One is based on the life and times within the Hells Angels. The other production involves a world-renowned therapist who Lou refers to as an "anti- Doc Phil" which will be called " The Session". Another "Five Towner" Ed Mundy is also producing that show. They are waiting to sign it to one of the networks as we speak. Presently he has also been working with singer/songwriter Lisa Palleschi (from the Five Towns as well) producing songs to be released on her debut CD next year. " As long as you believe in yourself. And stay focused anything is possible."