BWW Interviews - Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff Talk New Film, DWTS & Broadway Debuts
Karina, you've really had quite a year. You went from Dancing With the Stars, to Broadway's 'Forever Tango', to acting in this film. What has that been like for you and how was your recent Broadway experience?
Yeah it's very humbling. It's a dream for many people and I get to actually experience it in real life to go from filming a movie to doing one of the biggest shows on TV, which is still a phenomenal experience, filming the new season, and then going to the most prestigious stage in the world, which is Broadway. I thank the Lord every day for all the blessings. It gives you that much more energy to wake up in the morning and be ready to start something new. It's so humbling, it's so exciting and I can't wait to release the movie. It's going to be at the Napa Film Festival, the Hamptons Film Festival so I'm excited now to actually see this avenue of the movie business because working on the script, it's a long production, it's a long process and then you get to go to the film festival and you go, 'oh my goodness this is so real!' But, you know, I am so blessed to have an amazing team and an amazing manager, amazing friends. I mean Ralph entered my life for a reason because he signed the contract to be on Dancing with the Stars literally the day before we were supposed to start.
Wow, the day before?
RS: Yeah, that's a great story because I had been asked to do Dancing with the Stars in the past and I never thought I was the right person. I always thought that I wouldn't stink at it, I thought I'd be good enough, but literally someone dropped out the last day. I remember signing my deal like 20 hours before being announced. And I was texting my wife, 'Get me out of this now!'
So it's funny how I did not want to do the show, I knew it was the right move for me to do the show and I certainly had a big warm embrace by everyone in America that cheered and rooted me on. It was just amazing how the show creates that platform, you feel like you're running for President a little bit. From that is the journey of the show and how exhausting it is and then it's over and then it was about how to build on the creativity we started. How can I do what I know how to do, wanted to do, and using Karina and the motivation of our relationship to come up with a story idea and obviously finding this wonderful kid because if you don't find the right face for that kid, the story doesn't work.
And then having Marsha [Mason] come on, who I had never met, just based on the script she wanted to be a part of it. And yeah, like Karina said, it's a year process. The movie, whether it's a 20 minute movie or it's a 2 hour movie it just takes at least a year. You know, Broadway, once the show's established, like Forever Tango, it's the rehearsal process of 7 weeks or whatever it is and you're up and it's another show every day. Film is a longer process and then you're sitting in a theater and it's up on the screen and you can't fix it tomorrow. It is what it is.
Karina, you spoke a bit about Broadway earlier and now you have a Broadway pro, Corbin Bleu, as your partner on this season of Dancing With the Stars. What do you think your chances are of taking home the Mirror Ball trophy - because the two of you are fantastic!
RM: They're amazing!KS: Thank you so much! This is very exciting and nerve wracking because people have such a high expectation of Corbin, but you know what, we're definitely not taking any easy ways out and people know that a few members of the cast have dance experience and I think with Amber, with Christina, with Elizabeth , with Corbin we're all pushing them as far as we can and I think it's going to be a very exciting season.
Ralph I know that you are from Long Island originally so what does it mean to you to be premiering the film on the East Coast out in the Hamptons?
RM: Yeah I'm really excited about that. Our East Coast premiere is the Hamptons Film Festival. I really wanted to get in to the Hamptons Film Festival because getting into the festival is very difficult because anyone with an IPhone can make a movie now so there are thousands of submissions so it's going to be great to have that here! We premiered in Los Angeles at the LA International Shorts Festival in September. Karina and I sat side by side and the screen was enormous!
KS: And every scene I just kept sliding lower and lower!
RM: Well because you can't hide behind the pivot turns or the big hair or the makeup when you're in a film and there's a close up, but her performance is so rich and honest and understated, which is a word I love to use because it's usually not an adjective used to describe Karina.
KS: Thank you!
RM: No, but in a good way. It's a great thing! But when the film is playing, it's really rewarding to see how it touches people in a short amount of time. We're in the connections short program, that's the title of our program, and it's so perfect for the film because that is what it is able to do. I'm proud to say that the vast majority of people who have seen the film say that they have felt connected or emotionally moved by one of the characters and that's been quite rewarding. That's why I get so excited to show it all the time!
It sounds terrific and I wish you both the best of luck.
RM: Thank you so much. You know I've done a decent amount of theatre and I've been on the Broadway stage so it's home, so it's nice to get this kind of coverage from BroadwayWorld.
KS: And just as a side note, this was really cool because my first Broadway experience was at the Longacre Theatre and it's the same theatre that Ralph did 'Cuba & His Teddy Bear' with Robert DeNiro.
RM: Yeah we both had our Broadway debuts in the same house!
Oh my gosh that's amazing. Well obviously you two were destined to meet and create this wonderful film.
About Ralph Macchio:
Macchio is best known for his lead role in 1984's The Karate Kid. The film was a phenomenal success and spawned two equally popular sequels The Karate Kid, Part II (1986) and The Karate Kid, Part III (1989), both starring Macchio.
He's been seen on the big screen in the blues road movie Crossroads (1986), featured alongside Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny (1992) and as a hit man in A Good Night to Die (2003). Arguably.
About Karina Smirnoff:
Smirnoff is best known as a professional dancer on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, winning the thirteenth season with army veteran and soap opera star J. R. Martinez. She's also won runner-up title, a semi-final title, and several quarter final titles.
She is a five-time U.S. National Champion, World Trophy Champion, and Asian Open Champion. Smirnoff has won the title at the UK Open, is a three-time champion at the US Open, two-time champion at the Asian Open, five-time champion at the Dutch Open, and five-time US National Professional Champion. She has taken second at the British Open Blackpool Dance Festival and she is the first woman to also ever make the "British Professional Final" with three different partners. This year, she made her Broadway debut in Luis Bravo's 'Forever Tango' opposite