LaSardo: In order to survive any business, you have to have killer
instinct. People at the top of the pyramid understand this. If a formula
works, they stick to it and capitalize on it. It's a very product
oriented and supply-demand kind of business. Acting in commercial films
provides escape and gives the audience a fast food fix to enjoy the
fantasy. I think independent films are a saving grace.
RL: Early in my
career, having many visible tattoos created obstacles and presented
quite a challenge to move forward. I've heard comments like "actors
don't have tattoos." The notion of type casting was a reoccurring theme
despite my passion toward creativity and personal expression.
RO: You've been through
many genres of film. Has one had a significant impact on you?
RL: I appreciated
and admired Dee Snider for embracing a different subject with his
film, Strangeland. Although my involvement was minimal, I liked the
fact that I was playing a hard working blue collar tow truck driver
and not the typical bad guy with tattoos. For its time, Strangeland
was a brave exploration into the world of tattooing and body piercing.
It made a contribution to this particular phenomenon, which is now
more mainstream. In some cultures, tattooing is a right of passage and
represents spiritual growth.
RO: What was the first
film you worked on?
RL: My first film
was Abel Ferrara's China Girl.
RO: Nice. What was it
like working with Abel?
The way he perceived reality through the film medium was strikingly
similar to the way I experienced reality through my own lens. His
vision and raw storytelling made me feel at home. There seems to be a
hit list for particular types of filmmakers who show it raw. It may
not be the way to the promised land, but it definitely comes from a
RO: Did you get more
recognition after that film?
RL: Yeah, I did a
comedy with Richard Pryor called Moving. I played Perry, one of the
movers who steals
from Richard and sets him on his rampage of revenge.
RO: Then you shifted
into the action genre with people like Steven Seagal. What was that
RL: They say timing
is everything and with this came the action star, Steven Seagal. His
impact on the action genre was groundbreaking and unique. A
significant break for me was when I was invited by Steven to
participate in a series of films that to this day are landmark action
movies like Hard to Kill and Out For Justice, both released by Warner
RO: Currently, Warner
Brothers is experiencing great success with the F/X series, Nip/Tuck.
You have a reoccurring role on the show, right?
RL: Yes. My
character is Escobar Gallardo, the merciless drug lord that terrorizes
plastic surgeons. Television has been pretty friendly with me,
especially Steven Bochco with his hit series NYPD Blue, Philly and
Murder One. All of which I've had reoccurring roles. Each of these
series not only made me much more visible on prime time television but
legitimized me as an actor and not just the guy with all the tattoos.
RO: You had a film in
the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival called
Pandemonium. How did the film turn out ?
RL: The response to
the film was tremendous. Thanks to its director, Ron Hamady providing
me with an arena to create without limitation in an independent film
unlike the commercial filmmaking cage.
RO: So what's next for
RL: I will be
starring opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in the Sundance candidate, Dirty.
Also, I'm working on a film I co-wrote, produced and acted in called
Never Down, which has been described as haunting, possessing and
emotionally powerful. I star opposite Kurt Vonnegut and James Toback.