Rui Pedro Tendinha, the film critic for Portugal's Diário de Notícias (DN), recently interviewed Diogo after seeing (and clearly enjoying) his latest short film, "Excuse," which Diogo wrote and directed, and stars Daniela Ruah ("NCIS: LA") and Alberto Frezza ("Born to Race: Fast Track.") Diogo discusses the film, as well as his true passion: storytelling. The original Portuguese article is posted below, followed by the English translation, courtesy of the ever amazing, Dina. Obrigada Dina!
Diogo Morgado has finished his latest film as a director. It is called "Excuse" and features Daniela Ruah. DN has seen it and talked to the actor who most of all feels he is a storyteller...
Diogo Morgado didn't need the noise of Hollywood to venture into directing. In Portugal, three years ago, he took on Rui Unas and directed the low budget short film, "Break." It got little exposure, but now also on a low budget, he filmed "Excuse" in Hollywood, adapted from a short story by Cynthia Ghazary. Running around 15 minutes, shorts reveal a cinematic look and are a known direction for actors to take. For now, the plan is to get the film out on to the festival circuit and for it to serve as a calling card for longer projects.
"Excuse" relies on a strong performance by Daniela Ruah, a traumatized patient who escapes briefly from her hospital room to go smoke on the terrace. There, she meets "Alex," another patient with similar traumas. "Brenda" and "Alex" seem to make sense in their revelations of private grief. In their dialogue under the California sun, they touch upon each other's most intimate, hidden secrets. The film doesn't change its setting, but there are several emotions that surface throughout the conversation.
For those who may think that Ruah would have the same mannerisms from American procedural TV series (NCIS: Los Angeles) or as a Portuguese soap opera actress, they will be in for a shock. There is an immense intensity in her range of emotions and her dramatic moments are dazzling. Diogo Morgado realized that Daniela Ruah has a face for the cinema.
About the first longer one, take it easy: "There are several ways of thinking to be considered. Some people think that the first feature should be a testament to the technical abilities of the director, others say it should be a signature of the type of director that is presented. I honestly do not know. I think the first feature is about doing what makes the most sense based on the circumstances at the time."
Diogo Morgado's rise in Hollywood came from the TV series "The Bible," which had record ratings. His portrayal of Jesus caught the eye of even Oprah Winfrey who had him on her talk show, calling him Hot Jesus. From the television series' footage came the movie, "Son of God," released in 2014, without as great the results at the box office.
Prominent roles followed in industry films made for DVD or TV, such as "Born to Race: Fast Track," "Red Butterfly" and "Love Finds You in Valentine," all had his name and face on a big poster. But the highlight may have been participating in "CSI: Cyber" and the series "The Messengers," both not airing currently in Portugal. What remains undone is the abandoned James Foley project, that would have had him starring alongside Al Pacino. "The trade off has only been positive. I feel I have evolved and learned as a professional in a very interesting way. Being in such a competitive market makes us be alert and work even harder on all our creative muscles," he says.
But his greatest passion is to be a storyteller... "That's what I love to do: storytelling. Special, different ones, some inspiring, others provocative, and others pure fun and fantasy. I want the stories to be interactive with their audiences."
In spite of being in Hollywood as a true "Angelino," he always prefers Lisbon. Perhaps that's why he came back to film "Virados do Avesso" in 2014, a comedy by Edgar Pêra, and why he wants to go back in April for the birth of his new baby.
------Here's hoping for much success for Diogo and "Excuse" at film festivals so that we can all see it SOON! :) In the meantime, you can see a couple of teasers for the film below. It looks AMAZING!