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Damn, Gina! – Gina La Piana’s Wild Ride
Friday, July 24, 2009

As an actress she’s shared the screen with everyone from Sacha Baron Cohen to Pauly Shore. As a musician her work has been heard in numerous films and television shows and she’s recognized internationally for her work in the dance music world. She’s traveled the globe and even been hit on by Don Johnson. While you might not be able to say Gina La Piana’s done it all, she’s certainly done a heck of a lot. Never one to sit still, the feisty La Piana, who is of Italian, Spanish and Puerto Rican descent, has two feature films on the way and this week I caught up with her to find out more about what she has coming up, what it was like acting opposite Sacha Baron Cohen, and the awkwardness of Don Johnson’s flirting.

Adam Bernard: Before we get to what you’re working on now, you were in Ali G Indahouse, credited on IMDB as “Hoochie 1.”
Gina La Piana: Yeah, I know, that’s terrible. I had a name and it was Rosa, but somebody put me up there as “Hoochie 1.” I opened the whole movie. If you remember, it’s me talking opening the film.

Adam Bernard: OK, so Rosa it is! Staying with that film, what was it like working with Sacha Baron Cohen?
Gina La Piana: Oh my God, I couldn’t get a handle on him. He had his Sacha persona and then he had his Ali G persona, but he went into character a lot, even in-between takes. He was a total sweetheart while we were shooting and then, yeah, I don’t care, I’m just putting it right out there, he was a total sweetheart and then I went to the premier in London and I didn’t have the same experience. So he was sweet in the process, but when it comes down to it he’s all business.

Adam Bernard: Aw, oh well. Moving to your current projects, you already have two movies completed this year – Girl Gone Dead and Opposite Day. Let’s start with Girl Gone Dead, which you have a major role in.
Gina La Piana: Yeah, it’s a crazy scary, thriller, horror movie about a bunch of girls who are locked up in this camp for girls who are having emotional issues. It was probably the most fun I’ve had shooting a film because with the horror genre you get to be so in the moment, you feel like you’re doing theater on film. It was just awesome.

Adam Bernard: Girl Gone Dead is significantly different from your other upcoming film, Opposite Day, which is a kids’ movie that stars one of my favorite MTV grads, Pauly Shore. What was it like working with The Weasel?
Gina La Piana: He is so much fun. He is such a sweetheart, so kind, so generous, giving you all he’s got. He is funny and I just love him. I actually found him to be so professional and so nice. I also not only acted in Opposite Day, I scored the movie.

Adam Bernard: Nice! Before we get to your music, though, do you have a particularly poignant, hilarious, or embarrassing moment from your acting career that you can share?
Gina La Piana: Well, I think the most embarrassing moment for me came when I was working on a show way back in the day called Nash Bridges. I was a little teenybopper and there were a couple of embarrassing moments, one of them being that I was acting opposite Jose Canseco. Jose is many things, but he’s not an actor. At one point they directed me to be really crazy and emotional, very Rosie Perez-ish, but Jose Canseco couldn’t get it up emotionally for the scene, he wasn’t really there, so for me it just felt like I was overacting, but that was just part of the learning process. It was the stuff that Don Johnson did to me to elicit my performance that kind of embarrassed me. He would say little things to me in-between takes to get me where he wanted me to be, I guess, but the things that he would say to me were very flirty in nature and kind of embarrassing. Right before the director yelled action it was like “look at those lips, I’ll bite em right off your face,” or something, and I’m looking at him and trying to deliver a line after that.

Adam Bernard: That’s not a great flirt. Don Johnson must not get a lot of ladies anymore.
Gina La Piana: I know, right? I was flattered that he gave me that much attention and that he thought he’d go out of his way, but I gotta say I was totally embarrassed.

Adam Bernard: As you mentioned earlier, you also composed the theme music for Opposite Day, and I see you listed as a composer for the upcoming films Tekken and Robosapien: Rebooted, as well. Actress, musician… is there anything else you do that we should know about?
Gina La Piana: {laughs} I teach one day a week at the Aviva Center for Girls, which is a home for displaced teenage girls. It’s basically an accredited high school and I try to be there as much as I can. Also, right now I’m recording something that is kind of like a Black Eyed Peas project. I have a bunch of hits overseas in the dance world. Google Gina Martina, that’s my whole underground secret life. I have a self-titled album out right now under my real name that’s a pop/rock record, but the stuff that did really well overseas and gave me a bunch of hits was the Gina Martina project. I actually just revealed a really big secret there because I’ve never really linked those two together, I’d always kept them separate.

Adam Bernard: That’s what I like to hear, I have a scoop! Switching gears a bit, if you could link yourself, true or not, with one leading man, who would it be and why?
Gina La Piana: This is really hard.

Adam Bernard: Don Johnson!
Gina La Piana: No, not Don Johnson! I love Daniel Day Lewis. He’s the real deal. The fact that he goes and makes shoes in Italy… he gives up the industry and walks away from everything. I have so much admiration for him. He gets into every role. He lives the role for months on end. And then the fact that he can walk away from the industry altogether and do something that means a lot to feed his soul. I admire that.

Adam Bernard: Any parting words before we go?
Gina La Piana: You could say that Gina says Randy Jackson owes her. {laughs} I was signed to him years ago, he was one of my A&R guys, I worked with a few of them back in the day.

Adam Bernard: When Randy Jackson reads this do you think he’s gonna give you a call?
Gina La Piana: Yeah, I think so. I think that’s why I need to say it. Let him see it and let him go “wow, I gotta call my girl G, she’s right, I do owe her a couple record deals.”

Related Links

IMDB: Gina La Piana
MySpace: myspace.com/ginalapianamusic
MySpace: myspace.com/ginamartina


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:37 AM  
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