Hollywood Actor Remembers His PSU Roots
Michael Rispoli reflects on what got him to where he is.
By Rick Rodgers, contributing writer.
Keeping strong ties with people is a rare thing nowadays, but Michael Rispolli remembers all the individuals and places that helped him get where he is today. These days, Rispoli, a family man, is still working hard in Hollywood and on Broadway perfecting his craft.
Rispoli, a resident of Queens, New York, has worked with some prominent and well-known celebrities, such as Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping, and Matt Damon in Rounders. Rispoli has been directed by Hollywood greats like Spike Lee in Summer of Sam, and Brian DePalma in Snake Eyes.
Hollywood was not the only forum in
which Rispoli ventured. He has acted in New York plays like Macbeth,
performing the role of Banquo, and A Midsummer Night's Dream,
His success could not have been possible if not for his education and guidance from Plattsburgh State University. Rispoli attributes many of his talents to the influencing and guiding theater department at PSU.
Rispoli feels the professors "were very intelligent and encouraging to all students, making for a pleasant environment, in which to better your theater skills."
According to Rispoli, PSU has such a tremendous theater that in five years time, a student at PSU today could be hiring him for work tomorrow. "PSU is a great school, and a great town, I had a wonderful time and gained a load of experience."
"I was very apprehensive as to whether I could cut it in this profession or not because it was so cutthroat."
Rejection is a part of life, but also a big part of show business. Rispoli mentioned that he has profited from rejection because it has forced him to do certain things better. "You have to sustain and perceive, and things will hopefully develop for you later on." Students, according to Rispoli, need to always remember to keep their heads up and show their integrity.
"Students and all actors need to
remember that rejection is a big part of the business, but it allows
you to learn more about your craft and will make you better for your
Rispoli believes the body is the most important part of acting. It is a tool or musical instrument, he says. "In order to be the best actor possible, you have to understand to always take care of your tool." Rispoli has certainly done that, and the rewards have been plenty.
Rispoli has enjoyed all the work he has done. But one in particular stands out: his role of Jackie Aprile on The Sopranos."Working on the Soprano's was a wonderful experience; it was a great way to express my range as an actor," he says.
In terms of his own success, Rispoli has worked hard to get where he is today. "Nothing ever comes easy in this profession, and if you really love this art, working hard is not a punishment but an enjoyment," he says.
A big part of this learning experience came early on in Rispoli's career as a student at Plattsburgh. He was involved in many shows, arrived early to rehearsals, and didn't leave until he got the role just right; he was open to the criticisms of the professors. All this allowed Rispoli to further expand his talents when he left PSU.
Rispoli has managed to not only cut it in the world of show business but also be successful because of his hard work and above all his experience at PSU. "I have a lot to thank PSU for; I am very thankful and proud to have been a graduate from such a wonderful university."