Acting Resolutions Zachary Laoutides
If you haven’t heard of Zachary Laoutides as of yet, you should and soon will – over twenty nominations later from originally writing his movie ideas down on napkins inside of urban fast food chains, to transforming the stories he heard and people he met from Chicago’s tragic avenues into screenplays, more so turning the hood into his movie set and creating the first film company of its kind in Chicago – it’s safe to say Zachary Laoutides is trending and has been since 2015 when his napkin notes became a Hollywood story.
Zachary Laoutides is one of top actors inside the Indie film game, so we had to interview him on the New Year. Fortunately, while roaming through Chicago this month, We made an appointment for the interview to sit down at some local café with Laoutides kicking off 2018.
Let’s start the Interview!!
Three movies the last three years, over twenty nominations, your latest film Black Ruby touring London and Rome – what’s 2018 going to bring?
I’m looking forward to work with other artists, producers and directors. I’ve been pretty confined to my space doing my own thing, screenplays and what not — which is cool, but I also want to work with other creative visionaries. I reached out to Hollywood producer Shar Yonan with Global Edge Pictures and I’m excited about the opportunity of hopefully working with Shar and her amazing team.
Actors Emmanuel Isaac and Samuel Younan had much success with your Indie paranormal film Arise from Darkness. It looks like the Chicago Rat Pack is sticking together crossing over to Hollywood. What are you guys exactly up to?
Emmanuel and Samuel are very talented, so I’m glad we had the opportunity to do our own thing in Chicago and be successful at it. There’s a lot opportunities for us now and we want to journey together because we pretty much started together. There’s interest with Shar Yonan producing our projects and I’m appreciative to be a part of that.
You said in an interview you want Ave Fenix Pictures to grow out of just a Latino film company, is that vision in 2018?
Latino was always a label and that’s cool because we were working with a lot of Latinos, Monica Esmeralda Leon started the movement… But our mentality was always about just good storytelling; it wasn’t about being Latino or a specific background. I think a lot of people assumed I was Latino – I do have Sephardic Hispanic ancestry, but culturally I’m Mediterranean. We did something that was never done before by rising up a film company on the streets. Those streets are universal, not delegated to a specific people or person. — I need to say a big thank you Circus Road Films Glen Reynolds and Sebastian Twardosz. They have been key to our achievements and have stayed with us through thick and thin. If it weren’t for their belief in us we wouldn’t be in the ring.
You have a lot of nods, Iñárritu, Del Torro, Robert Rodriguez, how does if feel to be recognized?
You work so hard and so long on a film — to get a sign or a gesture is a gratifying feeling. It’s definitely something that should be shared because it takes a lot of energy, time and people to see a story from start to finish.
Do you have any regrets you experienced in the industry, anything you’ll do different in 2018?
I always tell people I didn’t intend to co-find a film studio or even be screenplay writer. I didn’t ask to be that. I always say ‘I had to write my way out of my circumstance,’ that’s where all those napkins came from – I was always writing my ideas down. I had to be a writer before I could be an actor and do what I enjoy. — Being on the business side of the tracks I think you’re always going to look back and say ‘I should have or could have done things differently,’ and sometimes you make oversights but it ends up being a blessing. – I’d say the saddest thing about this business is that you lose friendships and your circle becomes very small. — On the flipside you do meet good people as well. I’m really happy to be working again with screenplay writer Michael Berry — The man was just too talented and I had to reconnect with him. Michael is a good teacher and a hell of a storyteller. I’m really pushing for some of his stories to get the green light.
You seem pretty spiritual in past interviews — what is your new project with Christian rock band P.O.D. and are you getting back into outreach?
I never stopped doing outreach or however someone wants to quantify that. The movement is actually called The Whosoevers. I contacted Sonny Sandoval, who is the lead singer of P.O.D., he’s the co-founder and put me in touch with David Arroyo — I just wanted to serve and get involved. They do a lot of what Monica Esmeralda and I were doing. It’s cool because there are a lot of artists involved and it’s a way to connect with youth and dedicate your art to a higher message. It’s actually what I’m most excited about in 2018, if I’m not making a difference then I’m not living up to my potential.
Zachary Laoutides new film “Black Ruby” will be released in 2018.