Robert Davi’s background would make most actors blush. He’s been a part of two films preserved in the National Film Registry (“The Goonies” and “Die Hard”), he’s been a Bond villain (“License to Kill”), and he’s been involved with some of the world’s most popular franchises (“The Expendables 3” and “Predator 2”).
Today, however, Davi finds himself promoting a film with which he was never even involved.
“A friend of mine sent me this movie, ‘In Search of Liberty.’ He sent me the film and said, ‘Hey, you might want to get involved in the promotion,'” Davi explained to LifeZette in the second part of an exclusive interview that took place by telephone. “At first, I didn’t want to.”
As a veteran filmmaker, the Hollywood-based Davi was worried the movie would be “substandard” despite its noble intentions. The film follows an American family as it’s taken on various adventures by Benjamin Franklin to better understand the U.S. Constitution.
“I wanted to give the filmmakers a shot, so I watched it,” Davi explained. “And I was pleasantly surprised.”
Though it’s not a “tentpole Hollywood movie,” “In Search of Liberty” ended up being a well-crafted work of art that Davi felt gave viewers an opportunity to allow them to “learn and be entertained.”
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Davi believes such movies are essential in today’s world: He sees American values being chipped away every day.
The actor has been so passionate about the movie that he’s been out promoting it despite his not having a direct role with the picture. And when was the last time any of us saw an artist do that?
Earning an endorsement from Davi is a big deal for any movie. The artist is not just one of the more recognizable actors around, but he’s even stepped behind the camera himself before.
“The Dukes,” from 2007, starring Davi and Chazz Palminteri, followed struggling musicians as they worked to make ends meet in a quickly changing world. They eventually begin to ponder a life of crime. The cult film was directed and co-written by Davi and gave him a chance to show off his other talent — music.
With over 140 credits listed on IMDB, Davi knows a thing or two about what makes a great movie, but he insists it’s nearly impossible to tell what projects are going to stick around in popular culture and which ones will simply disappear.
His two biggest hits, “Die Hard” and “The Goonies,” are arguably discussed as much today as when they were first released in 1988 and 1985, respectively — but Davi could have never guessed such a future for the projects.
“I didn’t expect ‘Die Hard’ to be anything special,” said Davi. Though it had major talent involved in it and was sure to be a strong movie, the film had a lead who had headlined multiple flops and was mostly known in the world of television.
“This was his [Bruce Willis’] last shot [in film],” Davi said of his reservations about the movie’s potential success with audiences. Turns out, it made Willis a full-fledged movie star — and four sequels followed it.
“I should have known better because [Frank] Sinatra optioned the book first, and he had a good nose for material,” said Davi.
“The Goonies,” on the other hand, had a “special” feeling about it, said the actor. It was a feeling one person on the crew saw as a path to success. “[Director] Dick Donner said, ‘This will be a classic like the ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ He said it back then when we were shooting [the film].”
“You have total control of your vision,” he said of the benefits of directing a picture.
Still, Davi never expected “The Goonies” to become the hit that it did. “You don’t know what’s going to hit,” he said.
Besides throwing his weight behind “In Search of Liberty,” Davi is putting together a new album and touring throughout the country. He’s also looking forward to stepping behind the camera again. “You have total control of your vision,” he said of the benefits of directing a picture.
There’s also an upcoming documentary titled “Davi’s Way,” which follows Davi as he tries to recreate Sinatra’s Madison Square Garden “Main Event” from 1974. The film is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and will be released later this year.
Be sure to check out the first part of LifeZette’s exclusive interview with Robert Davi, in which he discusses how he celebrated President Donald Trump’s first year in office. And for more information on “In Search of Liberty,” click here.
(photo credit, homepage and article images: MGM Entertainment)