What can happen when someone suddenly loses his job; the bank demands the mortgage be paid or they will take their home; and the wife, instead of being supportive during this difficult time, leaves her husband to deal with these problems alone. So when Mickey Ryan (Michael Pare) receives an attitude of indifference from his mother and brother, and from the rest of the world, he does the first thing that comes to his mind – rob the bank that has threatened to take his house. This was the main reason I could not wait to interview the writer/composer/director Frank D`Angelo and find out what made him to come up with such relevant issue that may never be solved in our society.
MOVIEMOVESME: Was there a specific reason that made you write a story about Mickey Ryan?
Frank D’ Angelo: I saw during the financial meltdown in the United States a lot of friends of mine get affected by the banking environment and the philosophy of the banks. One thing I actually couldn’t understand, which really upset me was that banks got bailed off with tax payer’s money. Yet instead of thanking the tax payers and try to work with them, they called their loans, took away their houses and put them on the street. They sold the houses for a fraction of the price. Rather than leaving the people who were paying mortgages on time and making a deal with them, they made a deal with entrepreneurs to buy the blood and sweat of these people. So that’s why I wrote the movie and decided to do it and I think Michael does a great interpretation of the character Mickey Ryan.
MOVIEMOVESME: Talking about the banks, mortgages, being laid off… these are the reasons that can make a desperate person to choose the wrong way in order to solve and cure an unfortunate situation. What do you think the society or a financial institution can do or change because sometimes a person can do anything?
Frank D’ Angelo: Yes, but sometimes some people fall into a tailspin, like in a whirlpool. No matter how much they try to swim, they get pulled under and the story of Mickey Ryan is that he was a good human being and an honest man. Everything eroded in his life, he lost his house, and he had no job and his wife left him. He helped his brother, he helped his mother and when he turned to them for help, they pushed him in the water with a brick. So that’s why I guess he got swallowed up into anger and when we get angry we become irrational and sometimes not make the best decisions or say the right things.
MOVIEMOVESME: In your film the viewer can see how sometimes the rest of the world can turn their back against one man who needs a hand. His wife and even his mother went against him. Do you think that if that hadn’t happened, would Mickey Ryan had not gone to rob the bank?
Frank D’Angelo: Absolutely, I think that him, when finally the anger made him blind of who he really was, hate and anger took over him. People who are anti-Semitic, everybody blames somebody for their misery, he blamed the bank. The bank being a Jewish bank, he blamed the Jewish people, which really had nothing to do because the guy was just following business policy. Make your payments, if you can’t make your payments the bank’s gonna take your house, end of story. But I truly believe that when you have a problem, if people are around you, then you are very lucky, very blessed and even if they don’t help you financially but they help you by supporting you and giving you courage then you find your way out. In this scenario wherever he went for help, they just kept him pushing in the water to drown. It’s very disheartening when you go to somebody you love and you look to them for some guidance, some compassion and they turn the other way. That’s the character of Mickey Ryan, he was very distraught to begin with and then he was just thrown into the water. Those guys took over his soul and his mentality for a moment. But when he finally realised what their agenda was, that was not his agenda. He wasn’t there to rob bank, he was going there to just give a piece of his mind to the bank manager that had turned into a catastrophe.
MOVIEMOVESME: You wrote the story, so you’re kind of a God to all these characters. You write and decide the fate, you decide what path they will choose.
Frank D’ Angelo: Yes I do because you’re the author. When you’re the author you create the destiny and pretty much being God and God is the author of the story of mankind. He decides the characters and roles they’re gonna play and how’s gonna end for them. That’s what an author does. I love happy endings and when I watch a movie and I try to make the endings as positive and to show that the Jewish people and the banks are even. In fact, they try to help him. It’s a story that every person I watched the movie with in film festivals, tomorrow the movie opens up in select theatres across Ontario, I love watching people’s reactions. In New York we had a great reaction, played in six theatres, I hope that people could connect to the story and see that sometimes when somebody is in trouble, it’s not the financially part they need, they need someone to lean on.
MOVIEMOVESME: You have very decent actors who’ve been in so many interesting films. How did you manage to bring them all together?
Frank D’Angelo: I’ve worked with Michael Pare in two other movies, Real Gangsters and The Big Fat Stone, actually three, we just finished a new movie last week called Sicilian Vampire. We seem to enjoy working together. I think the first stimulation is the script. So they read the script and now actors they don’t wanna act in the movie, they want to become the character and that’s a great actor. A great movie has no actors, they just have characters. I love Michael Pare, I love Daniel Baldwin, Michael Madsen and Doris Roberts. Margot Kidder is one of my favourite since I was a kid and watched Superman to be honest. So for me it was a big film to work with the calibre of people that I worked with and we had a great time. We become a family, we become close and it’s very tough to say goodbye once we finish completing the movie.