Tony Lo Bianco
A Conversation with Tony Lo Bianco

Q: What made you decide to make this movie?
A: It's such a beautiful script. It was especially heartening to me, because it's a family script. It's perfect for the whole family to see. The script is wonderful, the people are wonderful, and the location is fantastic. In all the years that I have been acting, which is quite a few years, this is the sweetest, nicest group of people.

Q: How did you become involved in the movie?
A: Vincent, with whom I've made four movies, mentioned me to the director, Steven Schachter. And of course, Lainie and I have known each other for 30 years. So they knew this movie would be a natural for me.

Q: Is there a connection between you and Vincent and you and Lainie?
A: Absolutely. Vincent is like my son. We've lived together in Africa. We've done movies together. He even played my son in John Sayles' City of Hope. So we've been around each other a lot, and it feels completely natural. Lainie's the same way, since I've known her for so long, as well. We all just feel like family.

Q: How has it been working with Patricia Heaton?
A: Patricia's an absolute doll. I've admired her so much on Everybody Loves Raymond, but she's also a terrific human being. I think she can do anything, whether it's comedy or heavy drama.

Q: How would you describe THE ENGAGEMENT RING?
A: It's about a long-lost love that was interrupted by a mistake and then rekindled too late but not for our children, who carry it on and do it in a much more understanding way.

Q: Why do you think it helps the story to have these characters be Italian?
A: Italians have the love of food, the love of life and the love of people, the admiration of men for women and women for men. They really know how to live. When you go to Italy and see how people enjoy lunches and dinners and getting together, that's the tradition I have carried my whole life as an Italian-American. My family was headquarters. Everybody came to our house. My mother had eight brothers, and we'd cook for everyone on Sundays. And there was always honesty, and it was always upfront. I remember my dad would come home from his 14-hour days, and we'd hear him coming up the stairs, saying, "Where's my boys?" I never spent one day in my life that my father didn't hug and kiss me. It's all about family.

Q: Why should people see this movie?
A: This movie will keep you warm. It's like a nice fire at Christmas time. It's one of those heart-lifting movies that makes you feel good at the end.

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