Actor and director and producer, OH MY! Danny A. Abeckaser is a triple threat when it comes to the world of filmmaking. Israeli born and Brooklyn raised, this talented virtuoso has taken part in a number of celebrated projects, and continues to add to his impressive resume.
Danny A. Abeckaser began his illustrious career starring alongside Jessie Eisenberg and Justin Bartha in the 2010 independent film Holy Rollers. The film, based on true events, tells the story of a young Orthodox Jewish man who is lured into smuggling ecstasy within New York. Following its release, Danny A. quickly landed the role of Dino Lapron in The Iceman, as well as a role in the Martin Scorsese masterpiece: The Wolf of Wall Street.
With two films already in the books, Abeckaser started working on his next project, First We Take Brooklyn. Not only would he produce, co-write, and act in the film, but he ended up making his directional debut as well! First We Take Brooklyn focuses on the dark life of Israeli gangster Mikki, and his return to Brooklyn after being released from prison. When Danny A. realized there was nobody who understood the kind of movie he was trying to make, he went on to direct the film in hopes of making it as authentic as possible. He would also end up directing the David Arquette drama Mob Town which debuts December 13th.
As an actor, Danny A. will next be seen starring in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman alongside Robert De Niro. The film is set to premier this month, and will debut at the New York Film Festival as well. As a director, he has teamed up with David Arquette for his third directional project Blackjack: The Jackie Ryan Story. Based on a true story, the film focuses on street basketball legend Jackie Ryan, and the trials and tribulations he faced when invited to try out for the New Jersey Nets. Be sure to keep an eye out, as you wont want to miss either one of these incredible pictures!
Eager to learn more, BELLA connected with Danny A. himself…
Growing up in Brooklyn, what inspired you to become an actor?
Brooklyn itself with some of the biggest characters on the planet. You know I’ve always wanted to be an actor. I could have been born in Nebraska, it doesn’t matter. I just related to a lot of the Scorsese movies that I loved and those characters. Just being around those kind of people it inspired me to one day make a movie about it… so I made Mobtown.
What were some of the challenges you faced playing Dino Lapron, the best friend of a real-life mob killer, in The Iceman?
So first day on set I realized that Michael Shannon, one of the greatest actors in the world, doesn’t rehearse. I was supposed to play his best friend so I just had to jump right into things with no rehearsal. Having to do something like that without really getting to know the guy first was pretty challenging. Plus being around such a big cast with this being my first big role up to date.
First We Take Brooklyn was in fact your first directional project. What was that experience like?
Not only did I direct it, I also starred in it and that was very difficult. I learned so much in the process and I wouldn’t change it for the world, however I now know that you shouldn’t go in directing stuff and also star in a movie haha. It was a bit of a challenge but I really did love the process and I love the movie.
What was it like to work with Robert De Niro in The Irishman and how did you prepare for your role as Louie?
Oh my god a dream come true! I didn’t realize we were going to improv a lot and just going back and forth with him was incredible. To prepare for the role, I kind of decided that I was going to go by what they gave me, whether that be the script or to improvise. I knew the kind of character it was, it was a guy that owes money to everyone, a little bit of a weasel. Do you remember A Bronx Tale and that guy that was always dodging the main character because he owed him money? It was that kind of concept.
Can you tell us a little more about your upcoming film Blackjack: The Jackie Ryan Story?
This has been a passion project of mine for years. It’s a true story about this street basketball legend, Jackie Ryan, that takes place about four months in the summer of 1990. Jackie gets the chance to tryout for an NBA team and we get to tell the story of what he does and what happens to him.
Is there a role that you are most proud of?
I’m proud of them all, but I think I’d have to say the role in The Irishman because it’s going to be the one that everyone sees.
What would be a dream project for you?
To do another Martin Scorsese movie with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci where I play a bigger role.
How do you define success?
Being happy. If you’re happy then you’re successful in my book. Success has nothing to do with money or fame or anything like that. To me, a successful person is someone who is genuinely happy in his or her place.
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