The actor talks roles past and present as well as making an unlikely fan in John Waters.

McCaul Lombardi Green

Jumper TIBI

McCaul Lombardi Green
Jumper TIBI

McCaul Lombardi has a big heart, and even bigger dreams. When asked by his now-manager what his career goal was, the answer was fairly simple: “I’d like to take DiCaprio’s throne.”

If you weren’t already aware of the rising film star, he’s been bubbling under in the world of indie for a while now. His breakout role came by way of American Honey back in 2016, Andrea Arnold’s on-the-fringes coming of age flick charting hedonistic youth in the Mid-West, where he starred alongside Shia LaBeouf and fellow newbie Sasha Lane, with supporting roles in Patti Cake$ and We The Coyotes following in suit.

The Maryland-hailed actor had made a break for Hollywood once before then, back in 2013, and nearly called it quits on acting for good. In an interview with Baltimore Magazine he details those difficult times, living out of his car whilst bouncing from audition to audition, holding on to the hope that, eventually, he’d get his big break. It was on the way back home – during a pit-stop in Arizona – that luck struck, and Lombardi received a call from a producer on a James Franco film that ushered him all the way back to Tinseltown.

McCaul Lombardi Snood
McCaul Lombardi White

(Left) Look by BORIS BIDJAN SABERI, (right) Look by BOSS

McCaul Lombardi Snood
(Left) Look by BORIS BIDJAN SABERI, (right) Look by BOSS
McCaul Lombardi White

If you can cast your minds back to 2018, a world where coronavirus was merely something listed on the back of a bacterial spray, Lombardi had just wrapped on Danielle Lessovit’s Port Authority, a love story set in New York’s kiki ballroom scene. Though its theatrical release was placed on hold, it’s been making the rounds in film festivals across the globe, and has even accrued several awards nominations including Queer Palm, Golden Camera, and the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes Film Festival (2019).

We caught up with Lombardi below, and got to grips with his role in the film as Lee, his dreams of directing and what plans he has for the future. Take a look…

McCaul Lombardi Black and White 2
McCaul Lombardi Black and White


McCaul Lombardi Black and White 2
McCaul Lombardi Black and White

Hey McCaul! How have these last few months been treating you?
The last few months have been just planning for 2021. Like many people, 2020 put a pause on all of our lives, but I’ve been staying productive.

What did you get up to for Halloween, who did you dress up as?
For Halloween I stayed home with my girlfriend and cats and drank hot chocolate, but I would have gone as RBG.

Where did your love of film begin?
The love really began as a child with watching films, like most others, and as I got into high school I started watching specific actors a little differently – I think I saw myself in them. But the real love came once I learnt to trust myself on set with a character after I’ve done all the work I could do in preparing for the role. That’s when I feel real love for film, being in it, creating characters and stories with the right people.

Your film debut was in American Honey, how was it?! Were you nervous to join the likes of Shia Labeouf and Sasha Lane?
I wouldn’t say nervous was the word. I think we were all more curious about the journey Andrea was about to take us on. Sasha and I both made our debuts in American Honey and it was one hell of a journey that we all embarked on together. We all became some kind of weird offbeat family, for a few months.

From there you went onto Patti Cake$ and We The Coyotes – what were those experiences like?
Patti Cake$ was awesome. Working with everyone on that film was a great experience for me and then going onto Coyotes was the same. I really like to make films with people I can collaborate with. I’m a massive believer in our collective energies and I love to be on a team with people that want to tell real compelling stories.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far when it comes to your craft?
Learning to control my breathing. Also, to trust my instincts and having the courage to let a character take its time to develop.

McCaul Lombardi Coat
McCaul Lombardi Bally

(Left) Look by ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA, (right) Look by BALLY

McCaul Lombardi Coat
(Left) Look by ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA, (right) Look by BALLY
McCaul Lombardi Bally

John Waters once called you a “blazing star” for your performance in Sollers Point – how did it make you feel to see a huge industry figure respond to your work in this way?
A honour, John is a legend in Baltimore and to see him in the front row of the premiere, then come up to me after and say the things that he did was humbling beyond words.

Would you ever step behind the lens as a director?
I think about it everyday. I’m a camera nerd, and I think I’m able to connect with actors in way that I think would enable me to get a lot out of them. I’m still looking for that director to come inside my head and of the character with me.

Your most recent project was a lead in Port Authority as Lee, how did you prepare for the character?
Preparing for Lee was easy, I had a long time to prep, I’m pretty certain I was the first person cast on the film, almost two years before we made it. Upholding the character was a little bit more tough, mainly because there was no option to go method in any sort of way with that film because you had so many beautiful strong loving personalities around you and also the energy on set was always, always upbeat.

Are you any good at voguing yourself?
I’m sure with the right coach I could be pretty good.

What’s your dream role?
I look for roles that offer complexity, often ones that take me outside of my comfort zone. I’m always open to playing a character that challenges me artistically but also personally. I look around me daily and see people who I want to know more about so when a character lets me immerse myself in another’s world I’m not only grateful but happy too.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Chasing the person I want to be in 10 years.

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