Here’s an exclusive interview with actor Ryan Cafeo who plays Luke Vincent in the popular web series “Luke 11:17”.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from and how did you get started in filmmaking?
I’m from a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA where I grew up with horses, playing sports, working in my dad’s auto body shop, racing motorcycles and as a teenager spent my summers as an iron worker. I can pinpoint the exact moment when I knew I wanted to get into filmmaking. I was watching Scorsese’s masterpiece “Goodfella’s” and it just hit me. This is what I was going to do. While attending VCU I started making trips out to Los Angeles during the summer to check it out. I got a recurring role on the TV show Passions and quickly realized that a soap was not for me. After graduating I made the jump and moved to Los Angeles. It was in the fall of 2007 that I partnered up with Chris Sherman to form Rooster Films and off we went.
2. Who has been your biggest influence as an actor?
I can’t really choose one, but I would have to say that DeNiro and Pacino are standouts for me. I have always admired the work of Gary Oldman and Vincent D’Onofrio. I’m a big fan of Paul Newman, he’s a blue collar class act. As far as directors, I’m a big fan of Scorsese, Coppola, Wes Craven, Terry Gilliam (12 Monkey’s is one of my favorite movies).
3. Tell us about your role as Luke Vincent in “Luke 11:17”.
Luke Vincent has certainly been both my most challenging and rewarding role to date. He is certainly an extreme example of a flawed character (which is my favorite character). Basically, the idea came about when Christopher Sherman and I started talking about how great it would be to build a show around a character who wasn’t who he appeared to be on the surface.
Luke Vincent is a famous motivational speaker and best selling author whose claim to fame is his work in helping recovering addicts. On the surface he is charismatic, charming, caring even, but beneath that, behind closed doors he has some really dark demons that he is constantly struggling to overcome. For me it was really rewarding to be able to juxtapose these two contrasting personalities on a daily basis, especially because I believe that, of course not on his level but, we all struggle with both a light and dark side in our lives.
4. I understand your also a co-creator and producer, what inspired you and the other creators to make “Luke 11:17”.
Well the writer’s strike had just hit Hollywood, so Chris and I thought, rather than sitting around and waiting for it to end, why not take some of our creative energy and tell this story about Luke. We decided to use the web as our medium because at the time it was like outlaw television, so we pretty much had a clean slate to play with when we started. Our goal was to surround ourselves with a quality team, and to tell this story, not as a traditional webseries, but as if we were making it for either a network or cable, and I think that really comes across in the finished product.
As far as inspiration was concerned, once we got the ball rolling, I would have to say that it came, on a daily basis, from our amazing cast and crew. Luke wouldn’t exist were it not for everyone giving all of their time, creativity, passion, and energy to the project.
We were fortunate to work with the talented director and editor Jeremy Weiss, who really helped bring our vision of the overall tone and look of the show. We had an amazing cast of actors that worked tirelessly each and every day on the set to bring these characters to life. We were fortunate to work with Ron Carter as our DP and two talented writers in Michael Caissie and Charles Huttinger who worked on the scripts. After principle photography was finished, and while Jeremy was editing, we started working with our gifted sound designer Michael Archaki and an amazing composer David S. Hamilton.
5. Any other projects in the works? Give us the scoop!
Well we are all really excited that we have just started to set up some meetings with some networks and cable channels to hopefully bring Luke to television. We’ve never really stopped developing more story ideas, as we had always planned on doing a season two where we delve more into Luke’s past, so that’s been a constant creative effort since season one’s completion.
We’ve also optioned some feature scripts at Rooster that we are looking to develop and make in the near future, as well as working on some in-house features as well. We actually just finished a feature length drama in-house that’s a modern day Bonnie and Clyde story.
So, we’ve certainly been busy, and we’re all really excited to see what the future holds for both Luke 11:17 and Rooster Films.