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Saturday, 29-Apr-2017 19:16:57 EDT
Actor Rick Gomes' Window on the Indie Scene
by SHEILA QUINN
CANADIAN ART, FILM, AND MUSIC

Rick Gomes. If you don't know who he is, you had better catch up real quick because this one is going places! The casual, modest, great looking, tall, and talented Toronto-based actor takes moments out of his busy schedule to interview with us.

Wearing a black T and a pair of jeans, he tells us behind his screen in our email correspondence that he's involved with two feature films as a producer, two web series with Bryan Edwards and Mark Collins, and he's shooting a few scenes with two other feature films. "Oh," he adds later, "I'm also in talks with Dulce Felix in another feature film slated to shoot sometime in 2013."

A Canadian Indie Scene actor makes anywhere between $100 to $500 per day for a minimum 12-hr /day shoot, the norm makes $100 per day. How do they survive between gigs and, better yet, how do they manage a shooting schedule while Canadian actors are forced to hold full-time jobs?

SICanada: Thanks for taking the time to sit with us. It's an honour amidst your very busy schedule these days. Oh my!

Rick (LOL LOL through the computer): I'm hoping to catch up on some sleep sometime in December...

SICanada: How does a good looking, funny, talented, and sexy man such as yourself have time for making movies, working full time, and being a fantastic single dad?

Rick (LOL LOL, more laughter): Some days, there's not enough hours to get everything done but when I work with great people, it's easier and very rewarding!

Being a single parent is very tough at times, and with multiple projects on the go, it's even tougher. That said, my kids are always my number one priority. My daughter loves coming to the set to take behind-the-scenes stills. My son caught the acting bug after he was a lead in his school play. We'll see how it goes...

SICanada: So acting runs in the family?

Rick (with a digital smile): I guess... (LOL LOL) I saw both nights of my son's play – the entire production was very well done. I was so proud of him, he worked really hard on his character and it showed.

SICanada: You definitely come across as everybody's friend. I have no doubt that your son is inspired by your work!

Rick: Everyone's friend? I'm sure I've made a few enemies along the way... I really don't sweat the small stuff – life is way too short.

I honestly don't think I inspire my son... He sees what I'm doing, understands how much work it is, and how dedicated anyone has to be to pursue a goal. At the end of the day, I'm still doing something that I love and I want both of my kids to seek their own dreams and aspirations.

They enjoy watching me on video but at the end of the day, I'm just dad! (LOL LOL LOL)

SICanada: How do you balance it all?

Rick: I have no idea... I just do it.

__________

There's a break between the exchange of emails. SayItCanada.ca was addicted as Rick Gomes' energy is simply contagious. The chat resumed the following day.

SICanada: Is there anything you can tell us about the film 'Advocate'?

Rick: 'Advocate'... (digital smile) This film was truly a blessing for me. This is where I met award-winning writer Dave Vaughan who wrote and directed 'Advocate'. I arrived to the audition and found out that Dave had something different in mind for me. I was offered the role of 'Big Larry' in the film first but after discussing film for an hour or so, I have to say we've been joined at the hip ever since. I secured the role of producer which has since lead us to the preliminary production of our next film.

In 'Advocate', I had the opportunity to work with some very talented individuals. Cast and crew hands down: amazing composer John Jamieson, sound designer George Flores, make-up artist Angela Barbosa, fantastic graphic design work, and a great cast that included Steven L. Bird, Rick Cordeiro, Travis Stone, Greg Rombis, Megs Mulkins, and Adam Langley.

We've entered 'Advocate' into nine film festivals including Cinfest in Sudbury, Halifax, and Vancouver, just to name a few.

SICanada: That's huge! I am sure Canadians across the nation will be holding their breath. And then there's 'I Wish You Love...'? What can you tell us about that film you're currently working on?

Rick: 'I Wish You Love...' It came to my attention during the screening of 'Advocate'. I was approached by Svetlana Kukushkina who was impressed with 'Advocate'. One thing led to another and now I'm her producer.

'I Wish You Love...' is a romantic drama. During the pre-production meetings, I jokingly suggested to Svetlana that I play the male lead. She looked at me, paused, and said, "Rick, if you were to lose some weight, you would be perfect for the role – but I'm not so sure."

I laughed. THEN she added, "And you will also have to audition provided that you lose that weight."

I can definitely tell you that she put me through a vigorous audition – two days worth. Thirty pounds later, I'm good to go with the principal photography slated for August 20th later this summer.

SICanada: Thirty pounds! Congratulations! How long did it take you to do that?

Rick: Four months.

SICanada: Have you altered your appearance and / or weight before for a movie?

Rick: No, not really. I've grown a full beard for a short film but that was the extent of it.

SICanada: Was it a tough diet for 'I Wish You Love...'? Was it through exercise? Judging by the schedule you keep, streeeeeeeeess maybe?

Rick: Mainly through diet and exercise. I'm a bit of a food junky and I have a very sweet tooth! (LOL)

I've cut out junk food and sweets but from time to time, I cheat with a trip to Dairy Queen. And I'm working out on a regular basis and I feel great!

SICanada: The ladies surely must go crazy for you now!

Rick (LOL LOL): Thanks but if they are, I sure haven't noticed any difference!

__________

A couple of hours roll by and the interview resumes by telephone.

SICanada: So is Dairy Queen your weakness?

Rick: Oh, yaaaaaaaaaah... Biggest weakness is chocolate, peanut butter, and ice cream. The more chocolate and peanut butter? Oooh my Go-od!

SICanada: Anything else that women out there would want to know?

Rick (fully amused): What is this? No!

SICanada: No?

Rick: No, it's not about all that!

SICanada: All right, we'll leave that one... Let's get back to something a bit more serious – 'Operation Phoenix'. What would one of our readers or any of your fans want to know?

Rick (just a little more relaxed): 'Operation Phoenix' is a very cool Web Series. I absolutely love the character I'm portraying – CIA Agent Roger Bachman. This series is based on the video game 'Splinter Cell' for any fan out there but what Writer and Director Bryan Edwards has done is he's taken the setting back to 1980 to 1983. Great action and a super cast including Kanza Feris, Paquito Hernaci, and Bryan Edwards.

SICanada: Have you ever been recognized in public and been asked for an autograph?

Rick's laughter exploded through the phone.

Rick: I actually have a story about that...

SICanada: Please share!

Rick: Of all the places to be recognized, I was in the Dollar Store – the DOLLAR STORE! And guess what I was there for?

SICanada: What?

Rick: SCHOOL SUPPLIES! I swear to God, I was there for school supplies!

So typically Canadian, Rick has no difficulty showing his 'human' side behind the groomed actor that he is. And like we mentioned earlier, he comes across like he's everybody's best friend despite the fact that his 'look' is better suited for cop, detective, CIA Agent, hitman, and the classic mobster 'bad guy' roles.

Rick: Seriously, I didn't even see it. My son overheard a couple talking about me like they had seen me in a movie but, no, they never approached for an autograph.

SICanada: Coming to the end of our time, sadly, what are your hopes for the Independent Canadian Film industry? It's not Hollywood or Bollywood where recognition in movie success is worldwide.

Rick: The Indie Scene here in Toronto is doing well. There are so many talented film makers who are producing great quality films with very small financial back-up. Financing is always the toughest part. My hopes are that people will discover how great Canadian independent films are and realize how much talent is behind the making of each film.

SICanada: Where can a Canadian find out where Indie Films are played? Is there an association out there that supports this art?

Rick: Well, there's Rain Dance and TIFF. Locally in Toronto, there's the Projection Booth Cinema and the Bloor Cinema. Small theatres will play Indie Films and to attend them, they're cheaper than the blockbuster shows.

SICanada: The Canadian Film Industry is still nowhere close to the blockbusters that litter our theatres. I can only speak for myself, but when I watch a movie, I expect a really good script. Do you feel that today's movies are weighed down by the pressures of special effects?

Rick: Absolutely! That's why I love working with Dave Vaughan. His scripts are totally unreal. When I get a script from him, I block out an hour or two because I know I won't be able to put it down until I finish it to the end...

SICanada: Who's your biggest fan? I'm guessing your kids are right up there...

Rick: My Dad, Manuel Gomes (68yrs). He still watches my very first film that I was involved with in my early 20's. I have to tell you it's on VHS – VHS?! – and I swear, he watches and rewinds the scenes I'm in over and over again. He has that big grin and that proud 'papa look'. He just loves it! I'm lucky that I have the support of my loving family – my parents, my younger brother and younger sister – and then, of course, my circle of friends.

I've always aspired to get into film and, three years back into the industry after having my kids, I'm having the time of my life!

Sheila Quinn
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