What MAKES Sammy Run? - Robert Pralgo, an actor's actor, and a real man's Heath Ledger
We will soon be welcoming many new celebrity members here to fortalent.com, one of whom is a good friend of mine: Robert Pralgo, an actor's actor.
Who is Robert Pralgo, you say? Well, a quick reveal of his imdb page - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1128418/ - will indicate to the uninformed that he nabbed the principal role of Mayor Richard Lockwood on the CW's popular television series, "THE VAMPIRE DIARIES." But, Rob is so much more. He had the supporting role of Alex "The Hammer" Bayner in the Demi Moore vehicle, "THE JONESES." He had a small supporting role in the Academy Award Nominated Picture, "THE BLIND SIDE." He was even the Selsun Blue man for a while.
In all, he's been in more than 40 movies and more than 20 television series. He is a staple on the indie film circuit, and his work can not only be seen all over the country on both the BIG and little screen, but at film festivals all over the world. And more than his talent - which is plentiful - he makes life easier on a set, something directors and producers love. He is a shining example of professionalism for young actors everywhere, especially for those looking to make it here on fortalent.com.
He has not only carved out a nice niche for himself as a successful working actor, but has gotten involved in producing and renting trailers and space for production companies, with his new company. In many ways, Robert Pralgo is the definition of success.
"You only fail if you quit," Pralgo told me recently, which is sound advice for young talent at fortalent.com. "There's no benchmark for success. If you love what you're doing, you're having success."
The first time I met Rob was on the set of "REX," a feature film I was producing in Georgia. I found out what a great guy he was immediately when I asked the director to implement a change that actually cost Rob a scene in the movie. Not only was Rob OK with it - "Hey, whatever's best for the film," - he supported my choice. We went out for dinner shortly after I wrapped REX and discussed a movie that he made with a fellow Georgia filmmaker, Kely McClung, "BLOOD TIES." From there, he and I became great friends.
When I wrote, directed and produced a short subject for Academy Award consideration, "THE MANDALA MAKER," Rob flew in on short notice and played a key role in the picture that we filmed in NYC and NJ. That film went on to qualify for an Academy Award and won something like 7 awards was nominated for double-digit awards, all while playing in 8 festivals, including the prestigious Film Columbia Festival in a block alongside future Academy Award Best Picture nominees, PRECIOUS, A SERIOUS MAN and UP IN THE AIR.
But, perhaps it was in McClung's recent movie, KERBEROS, which just debuted on the film festival circuit, where Pralgo has achieved his greatest success. Not necessarily in that he has bettered his other roles, but in that he has made even more people stand up and take notice, although he has been doing that for quite some time. After all, this is a man who has worked with everyone from action director extraordinaire Renny Harlin to fellow A-lister John Lee Hancock to myself, an Academy Award qualified director and producer.
The reason I single out KERBEROS, where Pralgo plays Lester Armstrong, an over-the-top villain; the kind of villain that in the past has been portrayed in Hollywood films by actors like Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson and John Travolta, is because of the strong response to his character. So much so, in fact, that Pralgo was recently compared to the late Ledger, who posthumously won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role of The Joker in "THE DARK KNIGHT." Pralgo was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the recent GOLDEN DOOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF JERSEY CITY, a posh and elite festival that many are hailing as the next Tribeca. Unfortunately for him, he had to go up against my actress, Oscar nominee Sally Kellerman, who has won several times for the role of Dorothy in "NIGHT CLUB," - including the recent Accolade Competition - and is being mentioned as an early possibility for an Oscar in 2013.
But, while Pralgo did not win for this role, he received an even greater compliment. I attended McClung's screening of KERBEROS in the GOLDEN DOOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF JERSEY CITY, and Pralgo's portrayal of Lester Armstrong was amazing, entertaining, captivating. Much like Ledger's portrayal of The Joker, you could not take your eyes off of him. It was at this festival that I heard some strong kudos for this very talented actor.
During a conversation with GOLDEN DOOR founder and festival director, Bill Sorvino (a fortalent.com member, as well) I called Pralgo, "a poor man's Heath Ledger." And, while I meant this as a total compliment, Sorvino did me one better: "He's not a poor-man's Heath Ledger ... He's a real man's Heath Ledger. He is a serious actor."
Yes, in many ways, Robert Pralgo is the definition of success. The kind of success that much of the young talent on fortalent.com should be looking to emulate.
I am going to be announcing the winner of our recent contest, "Will YOU be My NEXT Great Success Story?" this week in one of my blogs, most likely on Friday. However, there is still at least 2 days left to enter. This business is all about forming relationships, and fostering them. Gaining experience and honing your craft, and this contest is a wonderful opportunity to do all of the above. Whoever wins gets a chance to ask my opinion on the business, their headshot, hear my own success stories, as well as build a friendship and working relationship. To ask my tips, and hear what I look for in an actor. This is a chance to try my acting class for free (and again, I have hired 4 actors out of this class).
Good Luck to all those who have entered, and all those who still have YET to enter. One more week to go. ;) - SJB
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Film / Theater / TV, Writing
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