Zizi and Honeyboy Interview
As I understand, this is a fictional story based a real person Gerald Celente?
It is mostly based on a true story. The charcters are real, and I pulled from a book of essays written by Gerald. Gerald is a NY Times Best-Selling author
If so, what brings you to him?
I was brought to him through my producing partners, Liz Liberatore(Executive Producer of feature film“Tapestry”) and Dominck Ciardiello(director of Lidia’s Italy on PBS). They had a direct connection to Gerald and approached me about the idea of producing a film based on his story. The plan was for the three of us to produce it together, for me to write the screenplay and for me to play Gerald, and that’s what we did.
What is so special about him that motivated you to write a story about him?
It’s a great comeback story about a man who was at the top of his game, his fall from grace and his redemption. The special relationship he had with his aunt(played by Doris Roberts in our film) immediately jumped out at me, I loved it.
Gerald is a very controversial public figure who would not allow himself to be censored by the mainstream media, even in the wake of 9-11, which ultimately cost him financially, professionally and personally. The fact that he had a unique gift to foresee particular social and economic trends is almost a secondary element of the story. He risked everything for what he truly believed-the right to free speech(which is a contemporary hot button) and he almost lost everything. It’s tough not to have an appreciation for his plight, whether you personally agree with his opinions or not.
What adaptations of literature motivated or informed your work?
Gerald’s book “What Zizi Gave Honeyboy” and “Trends 2000” Gerald’s NY Times Best-Seller. I also visited with Gerald in Kingston NY on several occasions. Getting to know him helped me stir the imaginative stew of ideas I was working with. It also helped me immensely with my preparation to act in the film, to play Gerald.
Do you believe in the power of human connection?
What do you feel was the turning point in the conversation that brought Gerald to such a life-changing attitude towards the world around him?
If the question is referring to what gave Gerald his point of view in life, I would say that as a young child, Gerald’s father drilled an idea into young Gerald’s head “think for yourself”. This idea affected Gerald profoundly, He doesn’t follow the heard and always voiced his thoughts and viewpoints without fear of consequences. I think that’s always been his attitude. His uncle was tragically killed in a war(forgot which one) and Gerald was a witness to how that death affected his family. Gerald’s experience of the world in a time when family came first and the food we ate free of pesticides also colors his viewpoints. I think Gerald became more confrontational after being blackballed by the mainstream media for saying we would lose the war in Afghanistan. That one statement almost completely ruined his life. Years later he bounced back, but certainly lost the glean of innocence in his eyes.