Performing for audiences is easy, but in his first interview in his hometown, actor Adam Celentano appeared both humble and just a bit nervous.
While traveling the independent film festival circuit, Celentano, a rockabilly-clad man with family-inspired boxer tattoos, popped by Global Goods and Coffee Shop to talk about his work on Mark Kirkland’s silent short film “The Moving Picture Co. 1914” and his blossoming career in filmmaking.
“With a production like this, you take out sound and you take out color, throwing that in today’s world and seeing it work, and hoping it catches the heart of somebody is nice,” Celentano said, “because that’s hard, knowing you’re making something that’s drastically different.”
Born in El Paso, Texas, Celentano and his family moved to Arvada when he was young, where he was thrust into the theatrical world. Growing up, Celentano was involved with all aspects of theater, participating in productions at Ralston Valley High School, acting in shows at Olde Town’s Festival Playhouse and performing stand up comedy at The D’Note and Denver’s Comedy Works.
“Growing up in a creative family really helped me flourish and not be afraid to get gross, that’s what it takes for an actor I’ve seen, you have to get gross,” he said. “There’s a magic in changing who you are, a euphoria of putting yourself in one’s shoes and knowing that’s not you. You’re still you as that character.”
Following graduation in 2010, Celentano moved to Los Angeles to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). After a semester studying studio acting, Celentano caught a break, and was cast as Jimmy Curry, one of the lead roles in a revival rendition of “The Rainmaker” for the Sierra Repertory Theatre in Northern California.
“I was very fortunate,” he said. “It was really great to be a part of that … It’s been a couple years, and I’ve tried to hustle … I was very lucky.”
Following “Rainmaker,” in 2011, Celantano moved to New York City, where he continued to study method acting, and began working behind the scenes at the New Amsterdam Theater. During his work at the theater, he learned about the business of Broadway. His passion for acting thrived doing theater work, but soared on film.
“This is where I knew I was starting to break into film,” he said of his work on “Noah,” a feature film directed by Darren Aronofsky. “I was doing more extra work here (New York City) … I’ve always loved film and wanted to do that as my major acting start.”
Over the course of four years, Celentano, 22, has worked on an array of projects throughout the television, theater and film industries. He’s done featured extra work for TV shows, “SMASH” and “Over Under” and independent films, “Growing Up and Other Lies” and “Kilimanjaro”.
Along with extra work, he’s stared in independent films, “Spin It Til You’re Numb,” by Colorado Director Emmerson Steinberg and “The Tragical History of Sam Swope,” by PJ O’Brien.
In his project, The Moving Picture Co. 1914, Celentano stars as a Chaplin-inspired hero that falls in love with an aspiring ingenue, a role he says, was written just for him.
Working on the film alongside memorable names, such as Douglas Kirkland, Haskell Wexler and Al Yankovic, Celentano was able to live out a dream, portraying a character inspired by his favorite actor and inspiration, Charlie Chaplin.
“Theatre is really different than film ... my acting in that got to be a little bit more theatrical due to the makeup and whole vibe of the film, it’s very fun, sparky and very period,” he said. “A personal win in my mind — I got to go out and be like Charlie Chaplin today.”
The film runs 22-minutes and has been shown at festivals across the world such as the Napa Valley Film Festival, Big Bear Film Festival, Burbank Film Festival, Italy’s Cineteca di Bologna, and Colorado Springs’s Indie Spirit Film Festival, receiving multiple awards.
For Celentano, this is only the beginning. He is currently finishing the festival circuit for The Moving Picture Co., auditioning for feature and independent films, and awaiting final edits on his first script, “The Basement Player”.
“I wouldn’t say I’m successful by any means,” he said. “I think I’m personally a little bit successful, but in this business I haven’t made a mark yet at all ... but I’m hoping that the rise is coming.”