Home #Hwoodtimes Actor, Writer, and Producer: Interview With Steve Lichtenstein 

Actor, Writer, and Producer: Interview With Steve Lichtenstein 

Steve Lichtenstein

Steve Lichtenstein:   

By Jules Lavallee

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 2/28/2020  – First off. Thank you for this opportunity!!!!!- Steve Lichtenstein 

What is your acting style? 

Steve Lichtenstein:  This is a question that can be answered in so many different ways. I think each Actor has his/her own process. Mine is culled from my myriad of training and trial and error. The first step I think is to read the whole script. A few times if you can. Look up the style of the writer, director etc… My private work includes a lot of detective work, script analysis, and understanding what the writer has given you. I do physical work and imagery work. I dig as deep as I can and get as specific as I can. I justify as much as I can about the characters’ world and past. Flexibility is a must as an Actor. In theater, rehearsal is an absolute and it is where you can play, build chemistry, shape the story etc… In film, rehearsal is great if it is available. So much can change on set. But if you do your homework, then the character is with you and you can adapt while making it about the story and not yourself. Things can change in the moment. I get excited by the collaboration with a Director. I love adjustments or trying things in different ways if there is time. Being open, curious and in the moment is everything. My training has been a mix of Meisner, Alexander, other physical work and a bit of method just because. I think you study and discover various methods and then use what works for you. I guess that makes me kind of a mutt. I am thankful to my world-class master teachers in New York. Deena Levy scene study, Alexander Techworks with Jean Louis Rodrigue and Kristof Konrad, and Larry Moss. And of course, Anthony Robert Grasso who I will discuss in a later question.  

When did your acting career begin? What is it about acting that moves your soul?

Steve Lichtenstein:  When I was little, umpteen years ago, I would sit in front of the TV, (literally right in front). My mother would say why don’t you get inside of it? I realized sometime later I wanted to. Rather than a career, I call it my lifelong journey. It began at 12 when I walked out of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in character. Then the first time I stepped on stage in a One-Act called It’s Cold in them Thar Hills, at 15, my acting and life journey began (and yes it’s an actual One Act play).

Steve Lichtenstein

Acting saved my life a couple of times. Acting always found me as much as I found it. I was a depressed child and almost suicidal. I found my uniqueness and acceptance on the stage with acting. Why it moves my soul is summed up by one of my teachers. He said we do this to save someone. You never know when a person is so affected by a story that it can change their circumstances. I love creativity. I love collaborating. I love getting into a story and bringing a character to life through my uniqueness. 

Tell us about Waiting for Lichtenstein. What do you enjoy about producing?

Steve Lichtenstein:  I was an associate producer actually on this. Waiting for Lichtenstein is a true ensemble piece that I was also the lead in. Actors Green Room used to have a short film challenge. This began in a “wild card” group where we all did not know each other before or have any script at all. The script was written in one day and filmed in a couple of days. It is a mockumentary about a retired star actor Steve Lichtenstein whose agent convinced him to star in an indie film. Definitely not a true story… Everyone is assembled on set but Steve is not showing up because he is having doubts. It is a funny short film. It has shown at a couple of festivals and screenings. I have been more involved in producing current projects and it’s all about storytelling first. I never thought I would say I am a filmmaker in my life. But that’s the beauty of life and be willing to grow. I enjoy being part of the vision and process of the whole film. 

Do you have a favorite role? What roles are you looking for in 2020?

Steve Lichtenstein

Steve Lichtenstein:  Stock Actor answer: they are all my favorite roles. There are many favorite roles that I have done and ones that I still want to do. I suppose my favorite roles are always the ones that are currently being done. Right now it’s Martin Halford in Justice written by Dave Chan, directed by Michael Goldburg. The other current role is Aaron Goldman in The Choice to be Alive written by myself, Mark Resnik and Montana Rock and being directed by Clyde Baldo. I am always looking for roles that challenge me, that are well written, have a good story and fit me. I am looking forward to new roles on TV and in film. 

Tell us about your award-winning short, Sure-Fire. What made you decide on this project?

Steve Lichtenstein:  Sure Fire has won awards at various short film festivals. It was written by Michael Goldburg, Dave Chan and Steve Wisniewski. It actually is a proof of concept for a feature of the same title Both are directed by Michael Goldburg. It was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had. I had met Michael at a networking event in NYC and he called me in for the audition. The audition itself was an incredible amount of fun. I read the script and fell in love with it. It was quirky, funny and creative. We did a bunch of improv and the set was a pleasure. The film is about a con man who owes a ton of money to the mob and needs to get them a payment in a few days. He tells them he is producing a movie with a big star and will pay them from that. The problem is that he has no idea what he’s doing. There are a bunch of interviews with quirky inexperienced screenwriters who the con man wants to hire for the sham scrpt. I play the soup guy. He has been coming to the diner for years for Navy Bean soup on Tuesdays and in his booth is the con man. The scene is very funny if I say so myself. PJ Marshall is incredible in the film. People can check it out at www.surefire.com.

I would also like to add that a film we shot last March called Like Daughter Like Mother directed by Clyde Baldo, created, written and starring Devi Morgan just got into another festival called New York City Independent Film Festival. Another favorite role. 

You have been studying with NY Film and TV Teacher, Anthony Robert Grasso who just won “Best Actor” for the film Extradition. What have you learned from this amazing man? 

Steve Lichtenstein:  You’re right, the word amazing fits him well. He is an amazing teacher, mentor, coach, family man, and friend. I not only have been in his class but also in his incredible workshops in London and Florence, Italy. He has helped me to define and execute acting for the camera and audition technique. He wants the best for each of his students. He always says that when he auditions or has a role that he feels he really has to utilize what he teaches his students. Along with my other training, he has taught me the art of the close-up, stillness, being true to yourself and the writer. I have really learned to find joy and fun in the audition room as well. From a career standpoint, Anthony recommended me for a role in a treatment for a pilot that he was the lead in called General Mess. I am thankful and looking forward to working with Anthony again in my upcoming film The Choice to be Alive. As an update, Anthony was nominated for “Best Actor” at Beaufort Film Festival for The Long Commute. His fellow nominees were some great actors including Dylan Baker, Timothy Charles, and Joe Pantoliano. Guess you can tell I am impressed by Anthony. He leads by example!!

What will Directors notice first about you? 

Steve Lichtenstein:  First, let me say that I am so blessed to have worked with great Directors. Clyde Baldo is my current Director and I had the absolute joy and honor to have worked with him on Like Daughter Like Mother. I have already mentioned Michael Goldburg who is an amazing director who any actor would love to work with. Directors first notice I am short and bald. But seriously I think they see that I am prepared, dedicated, committed, responsible and love to collaborate. I think they can see I am trained. I care about the story and vision. I like to enjoy the process but that I also take it seriously. I have an interesting sense of humor. I am a team player. I think they see that I listen.

You won the Andrew Heiskel Human Rights award. Tell us about it. 

Steve Lichtenstein:  One of the things that I am most proud of in my life is outside of acting. The award is/was given to 9 recipients worldwide by Time Warner. When I worked for Time/Warner as a project manager in my day job, I was nominated by my boss. In the mid 90’s I lived in Lancaster, CA in the Antelope Valley. Even though I am not Hispanic I was the Vice President of Latinos for Social Justice. An incredible group of amazing people spearheaded by George Salas. At that time there was a series of hate crimes in the area perpetrated by skinheads and what is called today white supremacists. We took up the fight to get a human rights council developed. There was an effort to stop it and cover up the implications. But through organizing with Latinos, African Americans, Jewish groups and working with city councils, the LA County Supervisors, and publicizing it through television and Newspapers pressure came to bear. It also got national attention in a major News Magazine. We also were successful in fighting other attempts to enact legislation in the area and school board rule changes that promoted some of the agenda of the radical right. I always felt that if one group is persecuted or becomes a victim of hate crime issues then all groups will become the target as well. In fact, I ran for the school board myself. I never imagined I would win an award for it, let alone commendations from the city of Lancaster and the LA County Supervisors when I moved back east. I also got to donate $1500 to the Simon Wiesenthal Center as part of my award from Time/Warner. 

Tell us about your upcoming film, Justice. What intrigued you?

Steve Lichtenstein

Steve Lichtenstein:  And speaking of justice….I guess you know that this was in my wheelhouse. Justice has turned into a short excerpt of a pilot. It is written by the remarkable Dave Chan. It stems from a meeting with the director Michael Goldburg. We were discussing a short project that I wanted to do for myself and I wanted Michael to direct. We talked about the kind of role that would honor me and we turned to Dave Chan. He came up with an incredible script that was so good and detailed, it seemed like it would be a perfect fit for a series. I produced it and starred in it with Janelle Tedesco. We filmed it in late December and are completing post-production. The excerpt is about a Judge and his wife who have lost their son. They have both taken different roads since.

In order to rise to the State Appellate Bench Judge Halford must commute the sentence of a cop who shot an African American man. His decision causes rioting and further separation at home. The role fits that underdog, powerful, edgy man who has a chip on his shoulder. I love roles that are grey. It certainly is and will become even greyer. 

Share your upcoming projects. 

Steve Lichtenstein:  I am super, uber excited about my short film project. The title is The Choice To Be Alive. The director is Clyde Baldo. I am the Executive Producer/Creator/Co-Writer/ Lead of the film. It also stars Pamela Jayne Morgan and Anthony Robert Grasso among an incredible cast and crew. I never thought in a million years that I could have these many slashes. It is about an older man who is an underdog following his dreams and choosing to live his life to the fullest if he can only get out of his own way. It takes a successful man who is dying to show him how to be alive and complete his journey.

About 2 years ago I wrote a monologue and started to find a story I wanted to tell. I came up with an idea and got together with Mark Resnik and we started to flesh it out and once I knew the story I wanted to tell it morphed into a compelling story that I think will impact people. That they can see themselves in it and see that they can follow their dreams no matter how old or the risks. It is quite an amazing thing to see people believe in your vision and want to join. The film is a lot of effort by a lot of people and it takes a village. The film has taken hold of me deeply and rooted itself in my being. This and a couple of other recent projects I’ve done have taught me that to make any film is an unbelievable accomplishment that takes a belief in the vision, dedication, hard work, fun, and fortitude. I admire all the dreamers who inspire me. We shoot April 4,5 and 6. We have a go fund me drive. Film Making isn’t cheap. I hope people will help to make this dream come true. 

I want to add that I am represented by SW Artists. I’d like to thank my agents. 

The Choice To Be Alive Go Fund Me link is 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-choice-to-be-alive-a-short-film

My website is www.stevelichtenstein.com

My IMDB link is www.imdb.me/stevelichtenstein

Actors Access https://resumes.actorsaccess.com/stevelichtenstein