Interview with Film Producer & Actor Adam Ambruso

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Adam Ambruso, Ashley Judd, Sean Patrick Flanery

Who is Adam Ambruso, and what is most noteworthy about him?

I am an actor and producer that is committed to doing great work.  What is most noteworthy about me is my role as an actor and a producer on the soon to be released film titled “Trafficked” that stars Ashley Judd, Sean Patrick Flanery, Elizabeth Röhm, and Ann Archer.

Tell us about growing up in Houston, Texas.

I’m very proud of my Texas roots and especially of growing up in Houston.  Although it was rough growing up without the influence of a father and being reared by a young overwhelmed single mother, Houston was an amazing place to grow up with its lush landscape, rich tradition, and southern hospitality.

What did you study at the University of Texas at Austin, and why?

I majored in accounting and business and minored in drama and Spanish.  I went for a business degree because I always knew that I would be a business myself as an artist and would own other businesses as well.  I chose accounting because it was the most comprehensive business degree that they offered and was the number one program in the nation when I graduated.  I studied drama knowing that that was my true passion and that it was to what I planned on dedicating my life.  I love languages and plan on knowing several by the time I leave this planet.  Spanish made the most sense, since it is the second most used language in the world.

Can you believe the amount of growth Austin has encountered over the past decade?

It is amazing but not surprising to me that Austin has grown as much as it has over the past decade.  UT was a top 10 party, academic, and athletic university.  It had the best of all worlds.  When I was in college my friends and I all knew that we were some place very special and that it was even possibly the best place in the world in which to live.  It always struck me as kind of crazy that the rest of the country wasn’t aware of it yet.  I get the secrets out.

Do you get back to visit often?

I rarely get back to visit because I work so much, and my family moved Arizona, so that is my new adopted home where I spend most of my holidays.  However, I plan on changing that.  All work and no play is bad for my work and creativity and is just plane no fun.

Speaking of your schedule, tell me about what attracted you to your latest film?  What attracted you to Trafficked?

That’s an interesting question.  I’ve been asked that many times because of the subject matter.   Honestly, when looking for projects my main objective is to find a great story, but I also have a strong desire to leave a positive imprint on this world and send impactful messages through my work.  However, I believe the script finds you.  That was definitely the case with “Trafficked”.  My producing partner and mentor Will Wallace dropped it on my desk and asked me to give it a look and see if it moved me.  Well, it definitely did that and more.  I was saddened and enraged that such a terrible and disgusting human rights violation could be happening right underneath our noses.  I felt that I didn’t really have a choice whether to make the film or not.  This film had to be made, and I was going to see to it that it did.

You share dual duties on the film, as both an executive producer and playing the role of a Texas Ranger.  Was this challenging? 

In the case of this film, producing and acting simultaneously was not an issue.  By the time I was filming, the lion’s share of my producing duties had been fulfilled.

What is the role of an executive producer? 

The different types of producer titles are a little misleading and can be downright confusing.  What they are supposed be and what they end up being are all too often quite different.  In this case, I enlisted the help of Truth Entertainment, which produced “The Dallas Buyers Club”, which happened to be friends of mine.  I also helped with the organizing of the team and with the Screen Actors Guild.  I secured the majority of the locations for the film as well as helped with much smaller tasks that were necessary throughout the making of the film.

When you accepted the acting role as a Texas Ranger, did you consider the role too complicated?

We tossed around my playing several different roles in the film.  The role of the Texas Ranger was a controversial one, which appealed to my rebellious and contrarian side.  I understood who he was and what motivated him right away.  He was a tad complicated by I got him right away, which made his complexity a lot simpler to embody.

What did you see as your greatest challenge in bringing this character to life?

The greatest challenge was to play him simply and embody the evil rather than show it.  He just is who he is.  Showing that dark strength without being overt was the greatest challenge of this character.

What movies really get it right about the serious issue of human trafficking? 

I’m not sure if I can really answer this question because at this moment, I haven’t really watched many other movies dealing with this subject matter, aside from “Taken”, which was more about kicking butt rather than human trafficking.

You’ve been focused recently on writing.  Tell us about this experience.

I have written two other treatments in the past for films I still plan on making.  The script I am currently writing is a story that has been on my mind for the last five years.  It will require a big budget to make, but I felt that it was finally time to put pen to paper and finish it.  It is a story I could no longer wait to write.  I have a strong desire to play the lead character.

The turn in your career – were you seeking a transition?

About five years ago, I was very unhappy with where I was in my life in many areas, and where I was as an artist and an actor was a major area of discontent.  It was no longer okay that I wasn’t doing the kind of work and roles that I desired.  I decided at that time to take matters into my own hands and started creating my own projects.  Its shocking how fast the universe will supply you what you need once you make a decision and draw a line in the sand.  Things changed almost immediately.

What is it about the Los Angeles, California area do you enjoy?

I have grown to love Los Angeles for many reasons.  Firstly, it is a city where dreams can actually come true and do every day.  It is exciting to be amongst a group of people who have not forgotten how to dream and experience what that energy feels like.  I also love that fact that it is a global city and a true melting pot of all of the various cultures and belief systems.  Its exciting to be in a city with this much development that is growing and changing so rapidly every day.  I truly believe that is one of the greatest cities on earth.

What about restaurants?  Any places you frequent?

The restaurants here are some of the best in the world and tend to be on the healthier side, which is perfect for what I like.  There is tremendous diversity.  You can find anything you want.  The sushi and Thai food here are unsurpassed, and the vegetarian options are incredible and delicious.  I frequent Sugarfish for sushi and Gratitude Café for vegan food.

What / who proves to be your greatest inspiration, and why?

My greatest inspiration are those who do not fear to jump into the arena and risk life and limb to fight for what they believe in and play the game of life with every ounce of energy in their soul.  Examples of this are Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Arnold Scharzeneggar, Daniel Day Lewis, Steve Jobs, Ghandi, and most importantly Jesus, but there are so many more.  I am inspired to leave an indelible mark on this world that somehow changes it for the better, but I am most inspired by how this world can change me and draw out my greatest potential.

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