Interview & Review La Cucina - Joaquim de Almeida Smolders In This Sexy Recipe For Seduction

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

“La Cucina”, starring Rachel Hunter, Christine Hendricks and Joaquim de Almeida and directed by Alison Hebble, deals with the relationship complexities of three different couples and how they cope with the reality of impending events.

 

The interesting aspect of the film is its culinary focus. As each couple faces situations in their lives, from the beginning of romance, flirtation, crisis, the cuisine preparation ranging, from sloppy mess to exquisitely prepared, is an extension of the corresponding emotions and coping mechanisms.

Each of the couples are facing degrees of life changes. Pregnancy and the hormone rage are explored as is the egg shell dance of new romance.  The film, takes place in three separate kitchens in an apartment complex in Los Angeles.

Rachel Hunter, model, actress and former wife of rocker Rod Stewart, stars in the film as the outwardly together lesbian whom all seeks out for suggestions, advice and comfort and is secretly facing her own relationship implosion.

Christine Hendricks, of Mad Men fame, plays the title character and was paired with Mr. de Almeida as they explore the complexities of a relationship that centers on age difference. The two work very well off each other and the dialogue feels genuine.

Joaquim de Almeida, with his Latin American allure and smoldering good looks is a constant choice for sexy deceiving lover. He emits heat and is the man of a thousand characters from the deceptive villains in "Clear and Present Danger" and "Desperados" to his upcoming release, “The Burning Plain,” opposite Kim Basinger.

His face is very well known and while his name may not be he has starred in over seventy films in the US and abroad. He was gracious enough to participate in a telephone interview three days before Christmas. He was forthcoming, revealing and very interesting. We spoke in depth about this film, his life, his Actors Studio days, and his love of cooking.

Janet Walker: What are your memories from the film “La Cucina”?

Joaquim de Almeida: When I first got the script, obviously, every time I decide to do a film the first impression is the script. I thought Alison Hebble did a great job of writing the story. The dialogue was fluid and, even knowing that if I decided to do it we had to shoot like ten pages a day; I liked it. Plus it took place in three different kitchens in an apartment building. I’m a cook, I like to cook. At the moment, I’m in Europe at my house in Europe with my family and love cooking for my family, love cooking for friends. It always happens that the best conversations take place in the Kitchen.  Both my houses in the states and in Europe, of course, have open kitchens. It seems like half of  life takes place in the kitchen.    That’s one of the things I love about the film it reminded me so much, the story reminded me so much about what goes on in my own houses.

JW: Tell me about the experience of working with Christine Hendricks from Mad Men.

JdA: The thing is, when you have a script with such long dialogue you have to rely completely on the person you’re working opposite. There is nothing better than getting a great actress like Christine Hendricks. I didn't know Christine at the time.

We met a few days before just to talk about the script and we started working and we worked for like twelve hours, ten pages a day, and it was very good experience. I think Christine is very talented and she shows it now in the show she’s doing at the moment. I also think the great thing about “La Cucina” is that I loved the rest of the cast, Leisha Hailey, Rachel Hunter, and everybody else. I thought, for me, it was a great experience.

The Process

JW: How different is the preparation process for lover as in “La Cucina” as opposed to villain?

JdA: Well, the preparation process? It is so much closer for me to play this kind of character as to play a villain. Villains are fun to play. For me, it was the long dialogue in a language that is not my original language. 

So, I had to work a lot on that and in this film I did work a bit with Christine for an afternoon before we went to shoot but we just ran with the directors, Alison, and Zac. Basically, what I loved about the script, and in other characters I played, like with Kim Basinger in The Burning Plain, which is the same kind film, interrelationship with a love interest. What I loved about both films is the dialogue was fluid, you understand it well, you could understand exactly what he was saying, you didn’t have to fight the words, which is very important for the actor. Even though at some times, if I had a problem Alison would allow me to change it.

Honestly, Janet, the process here was a little strange because my mother died just the day before I started shooting. I got the call that she had died and there was no way I could come back [to Portugal] for the funeral because the film would have been delayed and other issues.  I started the film the day after and asked that no one mention it because I didn’t want to talk about it. I had to deal with that, I had to deal with it and do a romantic comedy, having in mind my mother died the day before. So, it’s hard to talk about because in a way, a lot of what I prepared went down the drain, because I had to deal with this emotional thing and I had to use it. I could tell you I prepared for this or that but everything fell the day before and I had to deal and do my best and I think using all of the emotions ended up working for me.

The Early Days and The Actors Studio

JA: I understand you studied at The Actor’s Studio. Describe those days.

JdA: When I first arrived in New York, I spoke many languages but English wasn’t my strongest one so I went to Columbia University to study English. For six hours a day because I wanted to make sure, I could study, because in Europe I had heard about Lee Strasburg and I wanted to study with him. After one year at The Lee Strasburg Theater Institute I began working with him and then I worked with him for four years.

Then, I auditioned for The Actor’s Studio and things went well and then I was very lucky to have people like Nicolas Ray, one of the great directors, he directed Rebel Without a Cause, Bigger Than Life, Hot Blood , a great American director. He gave me a scholarship to NYU.

I studied script interpretation with Stella Adler. I was lucky all those big people, the great teachers were still alive. I guess it worked because seventy movies later I’m still here. I love living between Europe and the States.

I keep jumping back and forth, and January 11, I’m back in LA again with the pilot season and have some projects there. It helps to speak different languages and jump from one country to another instead of waiting in LA for the next project.

A World of Work

JW: I’ve read that you’ve worked throughout the world in film and stage. Do you find you’re more recognized or well known in one part of the world as opposed to another?

JdA: Well, you know, a lot of the films I’ve done, I’ve done twenty films in Spain, I’ve done about fifteen in Portugal,  I’ve done a few in France, quite a few in Italy, and then I’ve shot all over the world. But the films that really travel and travel the most are the American films. People recognize me all over for a bunch of American films, studio films, because they’re well traveled. “Desperados” became a cult film, “Clear and Present Danger” with Harrison Ford.

The films that I play the bad guy I’m recognized a lot. But in Europe I’m recognized for the things I’ve shot locally. Unfortunately, the Spanish films, the Portuguese and French films don’t travel as much as the American films. It’s great to be in TV, when I did “24,” it traveled all over the world. A lot of other TV shows travel all over the world. I’m happy to travel, to work, to do films, anywhere where there is a good script in any language that I can master. I hope Japan will be good and Alison has another script that she wrote this time for a Portuguese and I hope we are lucky enough to put it on to be able to do it and be happy to be on the stage working.

The Rewards of Film and Theater

JW: What are the rewards, other than financial, about working on stage or film and which brings you the most satisfaction and why?

JdA: Well, I did stage. I haven’t done stage in a long time. Stage was my way, like everybody else, some love the stage and some love the film. I used the stage to get to film. I always wanted to do film, I always thought I would that’s what I enjoy doing. That’s what I wanted to do. I like to do a scene and finish it in the next day and do another one.

And the process of film making, I love it. The theater, I cannot separate when I do plays. Because I get up in the morning and the play is at night I spend the day preparing and the only free time I have, in my head, is when I am done with the play and leave the theater. And then I have to live at night because the moment I get up in the morning my head is on the play and what’s going to happen that night. So, I am really a film actor. I love doing films, I love the process and I enjoy so much more doing film. I understand a lot of people, I have to admit when I see my friends in a play or when I see a good play, I think twice if I shouldn’t go back to the stage but I don’t know. I’ve been lucky not to be too long without work so I really don’t have a lot of time to think about it.

On a Personal Note

JW: I was told you are a gourmet chef and that you have a restaurant.

JdA: I had a restaurant. I sold it three years ago. I had it for seven years.

JW: Did you study Classic Culinary Arts or any type of Culinary Education?

JdA: No, I left home at a very early age and started traveling all over Europe before I landed in New York at nineteen. I started acting to make a living so I got work like everyone else in restaurant. When I left home, my father wasn’t so, even though I came from a family that had their own business and money. All my brothers had gone to take classes and he wasn't so sure [about the acting] and I left home and started to work in the kitchen and I learned a lot when I worked in the kitchen of a hotel.

When I got to New York I worked in kitchens and worked in restaurants and that’s why maybe I love restaurants. I decided at some point when I made money to open a restaurant with a partner.  Then, I decided it was too hard for me to have a restaurant and then after I had it for seven years and jumping back and forth from the states to Europe, which I do anyway, but I found out a restaurant isn't that easy.

It’s just love that I have for the culinary. I just think it’s great for your mind; and in a way it’s like Zen, instead of going to yoga you just prepare the food and cook and today in three days we are going to have Christmas and I am preparing a lot of the food and I have a big family, I’m number six of eight, so you can imagine the amount of grand kids and it’s a big family. And it’s a lot of fun. It’s Zen. I don’t do yoga; I do cooking.  Culinary, I think that’s the great thing about the film. Is that everybody’s cooking and going through whatever emotions they are going and in the different apartments and I thought it was lovely.

“La Cucina” is available on DVD. 

 

Haute Tease

  • Manhunt Continues in Upstate New York Prison Break

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Residents in the tiny town of Dannemora, New York, remain on edge as two violent prisoners, in a daring escape from the maximum security Clinton Correctional facility have managed to elude capture for a second consecutive day.

     
  • Jake Gyllenhaal Talks Source Code

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

     SOURCE CODE, the mind bending DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE experimentation adventure, from SUMMIT Entertainment and Vendome Pictures starring Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Duncan Jones opens everywhere Friday, April 1, 2011.

     
  • The Academy Announces 2013 Film Scholars Grant Recipients

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button
    Beverly Hills, CA – The life and career of vanguard independent filmmaker Shirley Clarke and the socially conscious films of Charles Burnett will be the topics explored by Laurence Kardish and James O. Naremore, respectively, who have been named 2013 Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  
  • Nairobi Mall Standoff Enters Fourth Day

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The four day standoff that began Saturday with Al-Queda linked militants storming into Nairobi’s Westgate Premier Shopping Mall, tossing hand grenades and firing indiscriminately in the crowded high end plaza, has been neutralized.

     
  • Academy Invites 271 To Membership

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.  Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy's membership in 2014.

Crime

  • Double Homicide Suspect Caught on Camera; Manhunt Widens

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The main suspect in the murders of Liberty German and Abigail Williams, the two Indiana teens killed while hiking on Delphi Historic Trail, has been identified and his image was captured on park surveillance.

     
  • Miami Woman Savagely Beaten Remains Comatose

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Danielle Jones, 23, a Miami, Florida caterer, is clinging to life after she was savagely beaten, bludgeoned, strangled, slashed and left for dead on Valentine's Day, which is also her birthday, by her roommate of one week that she found on Craigslist.

     
  • James Eagan Holmes Found Guilty in Aurora Shooting; Hank Brennan Explains Sentencing Phase

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    James Eagan Holmes, former doctoral student, has been found guilty in the Aurora movie theater attack that left 12 dead and more than 58 injured as he stormed, in paramilitary fashion, the midnight showing of the film, The Dark Knight Rises.

     
  • Michael Skakel, Kennedy Cousin, Set To Be Released

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Michael Skakel, nephew to the late Robert F. Kennedy, is set to be released from the Connecticut prison where he has spent the last 11years for the 1975 bludgeoning death of neighbor Martha Moxley.

     
  • Kayaker Body Found Identified as Missing Fiance

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Murdered kayaker Vincent Viafore, reported missing by Angelika Graswald, his fiancee, has been found in the murky waters of the Hudson River where he was last seen in early April as the two enjoyed a recreational boating trip.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • Hollywood Celebrates The 100th Anniversary of Tinseltown’s First Ever Feature Film

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    (HOLLYWOOD, CA., MEDIA ALERT)--- Colossal. Stupendous. Epic. These Hollywood adjectives became clichés long ago. When used to describe the films of Cecil B. DeMille, they are accurate. This producer-director captured a worldwide audience with The King of KingsThe Sign of the Cross, The Greatest Show on Earth; Samson and Delilah, and The Ten Commandments. 

     
  • Broadway's Best: Celebrating the Music of Ron Abel

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Birdland, the legendary Manhattan Jazz Club, played host for two nights only to celebrate, one of Broadway's best and Hollywood's hottest talents, composer and musical genius Ron Abel.

     
  • Blondie and Garbage To Co-Headline Rage And Rapture Summer 2017 Tour (Music/Tix Links)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Blondie & Garbage announced their North American tour will kick off on July 5th in Saratoga, CA and wrap on August 12th in Dallas, TX. John Doe & Exene Cervenka will provide support on the first leg of the tour and Deap Vally for the second.

     
  • Andre Mieux A.M.X: World R U Ready

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A.M.X. is a multi-talented R&B artist whose star is rising fast in the music industry with fans starting to take notice of his original sound. A.M.X., also known as Andre Mieux, is a singer, songwriter and music producer who has talent, charm and uniqueness as an artist.

     
  • The Fifth Letter Review - Page Turning Legal Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Fifth Letter, a novel by research scholar Dr. Vivian Carpenter, introduces Katherine Helena Ross, the first black female Supreme Court justice caught between her conscience and political expedience when forced to consider the most important question facing the U.S. Supreme Court today: Who is a person with inalienable rights?