John Turturro on location with Adrian Christian for his feature film, "Illuminata."
Adrian Christian began his acting career on the New York stage, as a protege of Miriam Colon, the actress who founded the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. He later studied with William Hickey at the Herbert Bergdorf Studio, and first gained public attention from his first two starring vehicles in With Me But Not My Wife and Boys, Off-Broadway. Both were acclaimed and led to Adrian's start in film and television. In the process, Adrian gained on-camera experience by working in small roles and did a string of jobs as an extra, most notably in The Devil Wears Prada, Definitely, Maybe (with Ryan Reynolds), I Think I Love My Wife (with Chris Rock and Kerry Washington) and Confessions Of A Shopaholic (with Isla Fisher).
After many years working in New York theater, Hollywood may be calling.
I have always had admiration for John Turturro's work, ever since I first saw him in the film Quiz Show, directed by Robert Redford. There are some people in the business who are real craftsmen; they don't make movies to be famous - they set out to make art, and tell stories that move us, that inspire us, and that make us take a closer look at ourselves. John Turturro for me is one of those actors.
I related to him in a great way because he wasn't specifically a leading man, although he could be a romantic lead. He didn't fit the Hollywood mold that way. He has depth.
I received a casting call to be in a film about people who create theater. It was a period piece, turn of the 20th century, in a time when theater was the prime form of entertainment for Americans. For me, a child who grew up working in the theater, it seemed like a natural fit. It was a farce, a charming film unraveling a tale of all that goes on in the production of a play, and the love entanglements that ensue as well. And it centers around the playwright, played by Turturro.
For my very first feature film, I was given one line: "Come and get your peanuts, get 'em while they're hot - enjoy the show."
More importantly, I got to observe great people at work. I've been lucky that way. I got to work with Christopher Walken. My first film and it's with Susan Sarandon, Beverly D'Angelo, Bill Irwin, Aida Turturro, all great people. What I saw was a harmonious set. People who love their craft, and enjoy filmmaking.
It also seems fitting to me because like Turturro, I write and produce much of my work as well. So it was extra special that he was my first director.
John Turturro comes from a family of creative people. Aida Turturro, who made her mark in The Sopranos, is his cousin. He also has a younger brother, Nicholas Turturro, who is a fine character actor known for his work on NYPD Blue. Ironically, a few years after making this film, I became Nicholas' stand-in on a film with Adam Sandler and Kevin James. I thought Nicholas was very cool.
As for John the director, I thought he was generous with all of his actors. He was particularly kind to me. I thanked him several times during the shoot for allowing me to try things with the scene I was in. Even though a lot of my work didn't appear in the final cut, as what happens with most films, he did use one of my ideas. It was through this experience that I realized myself as a professional working actor.
Thank you again, Mr. Turturro.
Snapshot of Actor Adrian Christian
Stage credits include The Story Of Don Perlimplin, With Me But Not My Wife (Judith Anderson Theatre, Off-Broadway), Boys (Off-Broadway), Chosen, Where There's No Will, Red Ribbon (Los Angeles World Premiere), and Zona Rosa (Los Angeles).
Television credits include Guiding Light, NBC's Forensic Files, the FOX sitcom Luis and American Coffee.
Adrian's screen debut was in the uncredited role of the Peanut Vendor in Illuminata, with John Turturro, Susan Sarandon and Christopher Walken.