Adam Ambruso on his movie 'Butterfly Caught', his support of the #MeToo movement and projects in 2019
From 'Trafficked' to 'Butterfly Caught' Ambruso has time and again expressed his support for the #MeToo movement through his films
Actor, producer and gifted entrepreneur Adam Ambruso stars and holds a producer credit in the Sony Pictures award-winning film, 'Butterfly Caught', which made its debut and won ‘Best Ensemble Film’ at the 2017 San Diego International Film Festival, currently available on iTunes.
Written and directed by Manny Rodriguez Jr., the film follows three bright-eyed women with dreams of making it big as actresses who are pushed past breaking points in order to achieve their dreams.
It illustrates with deafening power, how the cut-throat industry makes victims of naïve newcomers. Touching on drugs, sexual advances, and make-or-break career decisions, the film paints an all too real portrait of Hollywood’s deepest secrets.
Drawn to projects that passionately move audiences, Ambruso also recently starred in and executive produced Will Wallace’s thrilling drama, 'Trafficked', which explicitly details the story of three young women who are abducted and thrust into the vicious underworld of sex trafficking.
In an exclusive conversation with MEAWW, Ambruso talked about the need to highlight a topic as sensitive as sexual harassment, his role as officer Randy, and his plans for the new year.
You play the role of the firm police officer, Randy. In what ways do you find yourself similar to him? When the world around is constantly failing to take a moral stance, how do you think Randy manages to retain his sanity without being influenced by all that is wrong?
When I first read this script, I immediately resonated with the role of Randy. I remember thinking, “That guy is totally me”. I relate to his strength and nobleness of character. He is just a good guy trying to make his way in a flawed world and trying to do what is right and play his part in making the world a better place in the way he can.
I think Randy manages to keep his sanity in a morally failing world by having an “others” focus. I believe he takes the focus off of himself and puts it onto others. He puts the focus on helping others and helping to make the world a better place in which to live.
The film deals with a groundbreaking topic as it is centered around the #MeToo movement. How do you think the audience will perceive the movie?
Yes, this movie is centered around the #MeToo movement. I think the audience will perceive this movie as truthful and raw and real, and I think they will see it for what it is, which is a true cautionary tale of what can happen in Hollywood and in life if you make lesser short term and short sided decisions. After all, this story is loosely based on the life of our lead producer Lisa Rodriguez who is also the wife of Manny Rodriguez, the director of the film.
Your previous film 'Trafficked' dealt with a similar topic about women trafficking. Could you share with the experience of working on that film?
'Trafficked', coincidentally, dealt with human rights violations but from a different angle, which was human trafficking, which, in my opinion, is undoubtedly the worst human rights violation that plagues our planet today.
When the script for this film was handed to me, I felt like I didn’t really have a choice whether or not to produce it… I felt it was my mission, and I, for whatever reason, was chosen to get it made, as this film had been sitting for four years before it found me. The cast and crew were so amazing on this project that I just considered it an honor and a true pleasure to work on it. I made some amazing and lasting friendships while working on this film.
You did both the films during the #MeToo era. Could you share with us the reason you have been working on films of this kind? Is there a personal message that you are trying to give out, or is it more about supporting the movement and its cause?
I set the intention early on when I came to Hollywood that I wanted to make films that moved, touched, and inspired people. I believe that and it is so often the case, these films and this human rights issue for some reason chose me.
These films were brought to me independently by my then trusted advisor and now producing partner Will Wallace. I really just thought 'Butterfly Caught' was an amazing story that was very well written and truthful and needed to be told. 'Trafficked', on the other hand, was disturbing, and I felt I had to get it made… I really felt I had no choice in the matter, as if it was somehow divine.
Would you share with us the kind of challenges that you had to face as an actor?
For most of my career, my future looked fairly bleak, or at least that was my perception from my limited view at the time. I believe where there is a great accomplishment, you will find great pain. It is this reason that I feel my future is very bright. I feel I have been prepared to accomplish great things.
This long period of drought has also made me comfortable with the struggle and living in the middle of it. This has taught me to live without the need for affirmation or feedback or agreement, and I believe that it is just this that will keep me successful and always growing no matter what heights I achieve going forward.
You have been an avid supporter of #MeToo, what was it that drove you to do so? Was it a personal story that you may have witnessed with a co-star?
I have had many friends, both men, and women, that have been taken advantage of and in many cases, because of this, they have degraded themselves, which has been painful and embarrassing to watch. I have also had many experiences of people of power trying to take advantage of me sexually.
One overt situation with a producer occurred about which I have spoken openly. A co-star of mine was held back for years under the guise of a sexual relationship only to be left embarrassed in the end. She was signed to MCA records as a singer under her own name and should have been a huge name in music but was held back by this sexual predator.
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What are your plans for 2019, are your working on more projects?
My plans for 2019 are to complete a slate of six films. I am working next on a thriller set in the ’80s starring Bruce Willis and Thomas Jayne. I will also be producing and starring in a suspense horror thriller set in the South of France in March. I may be on a Netflix series this year as well. I have a few more things up my sleeve that I can’t mention yet.