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You started making home movies as a kid but didn’t get the chance to direct until you were starring in “Hotel.” How did the opportunity come about? Aaron Spelling came to me with this great offer to do “Hotel,” and I told him I also wanted to direct. His response was, “Not for a year and you’re going to be here for a few years if you say yes to this.” A year later, he kept his word. I was so ready and prepared for that moment. Afterward, you directed a few episodes of “Pensacola” and then a movie in 1997 that won Best Film at the Hollywood Film Festival, but that was it until recently. After “My Brother’s War,” I didn’t direct for a long time. Many times you have a great idea for something but not everyone else sees it that way. You work hard on a script but it’s difficult to get financing; the most successful things were the hardest to sell. Currently you’re working on the true story of Ruby McCollum, a wealthy, married African-American woman arrested and convicted in 1952 for killing a prominent white doctor and state senator. What drew you to her story? From the beginning, I knew this was one of the most wonderful projects, but after reading the script I didn’t think it was possible to shoot it the way it had been written, so I rewrote the script. The story tackles heavy issues like race, gender, and sexual violence. I’m not sure if everyone is ready to see that, but I believe it’s going to be a great film. You’re back on TV in the comedy, “Life in Pieces.” It’s different from other series you’ve been a part of. What has the experience been like? Over the years, there have been shows that have come my way but nothing grabbed my attention like this one has. The pilot was so funny that I said, “Ok, this is going to last.” It was also the perfect time for me; I had been in the hammock for a couple of years, as I like to joke, and ready to go back to work. And I’m on the same stage that I started on all those years ago, so for me it feels like old Hollywood. 79

Profile for BELLA Media Group

BELLA New York: The January/February Men's Issue featuring Sebastian Maniscalco