Robert Romanos [Interview]

Robert Romanus

When people remember a classic film that was never intended to be anymore than a summer sex romp known as Fast Times At Ridgemont High, it seems as though Sean Penn gets all the credit as the zany stoner known as Spicolli, and Pheobe Cates with her historical topless scene.  But, there are a few of us who know better.  Well actually, more than a few.  Robert Romanus’s role as the illustrious Damone, and the equally as attractive and twice as topless Jennifer Jason Leigh.  Yes, these were the true stars in some of our eyes.

And as the years have gone by, Robert Romanus has proven himself to be a truly intriguing and respectable human being.  Without ever actually meeting the man, he still seems like the most mild mannered and relaxed individual in Hollywood.  It appears as though he does just about whatever he wants!  His film career is ever progressive.  He is also an acclaimed musician with his fantastic group (that seemed to be spawned just for fun) known as Poppa’s Kitchen.  He also teaches the youth of today, and owns his own swanky little coffee shop in West Hollywood named simply, Bob’s Espresso.  And whilst sharing a few words with Robert himself, we learned here at TWS that he is also one of the most interesting men we have spoken with since Frederic Raphael.  So sit back and enjoy a conversation with one of the smoothest cats in the show business, Sir Robert Romanus!  Enjoy!

I understand you are also a musician, and your original intentions were to become a singer prior to acting.  How did the transition into film come to life?

I came to LA in 1976 with it in mind to be Doc Sevrerinsen”s drummer on the tonight show…. obviously that didn’t work out.  So I took a job as a singing waiter and after I had finished what I thought was a lovely ballad…  a very pretty girl walked up and said, “maybe you should try acting”…  I took it to mean I wasn’t very good as a singer.  I was also very shy so I took an acting class to help with my shyness and there I found the freedom to be all the things in life I had a hard time with… ie: the lover, the asshole, etc.  Next thing you know I was playing Jodi Fosters boyfriend in a movie called Foxes… I started focusing on that.

Can you tell us a bit about Poppa’s Kitchen?  

I met Steve when we were singing waiters together… over the years we have always gathered with friends and jammed all night long…  Steve and I decided about 17 years ago that we would get together every Tuesday and Friday night and write… we are still getting together every Tuesday and Friday night… 7 CD’s worth of material and a whole bunch more that didn’t make the cut…  always something I can look forward to no matter how the weeks going

Robert Romanus3Obviously the world of teaching is not the most profitable occupation, which is pretty sad.  But I am sure it can be rewarding in its own right.  What do you personally get out of teaching?

Any time I can help a kid get a troubled kid on the right path I am happy.  Showing a 4 year old how throw and catch a ball or open a juice box makes me happy.  My focus as a teacher is to help these kids find their voice and like it, like themselves, and know their worth.  I’ve taught from pre-school through high school and the goal is always the same for me. Then again, I teach the arts…

What made you want to open Bob’s Espresso Bar?  Has coffee always been a passion for you?

I’ve always loved coffee houses… I’ve always thought great music has come out of coffee houses and I’ve been a coffee consumer since I was 12…   Not a connoisseur mind you… but I know what I like…  truth is I needed a job so I decided to take a chance and throw my money into Bob’s and hire myself…  it’s basically an extension of all the things that make me happy music, art, coffee conversation and the occasional game of chess…

How did your role in a music video for indie rocker’s The Moog come about?  Were you a fan of the group?

The Moog’s manager called and asked if I would be interested… I heard the music and said let’s do it…  I am now a fan….

You recently reunited with the Fast Times At Ridgemont High castmates for The Men’s Choice Awards.  Was it like old times, as some would say?  Had it been a while since you have seen any of them?

It was nice reuniting with the cast.  I don’t see them often but when I do it’s always a fun experience.  I’m very proud of Fast Times. Who knew what seemed like a silly summer movie would get so much respect…

You have been in no less than seven films from acclaimed director John Putch.  Is there an illuminati like relationship going on here?  Are you and John close?  Does he write roles specifically for you?

Putch and I have been friends for many years… when he has a part for me now a days it’s usually written for me…  he’s an awesome director and I would work for him any time any where…

Robert Romanus2Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming film The Midnight Game?  What will your performance be?

The Midnight Game is a fun little horror flick that I shot recently based on a kids game like “bloody Mary”  it’s good and scary… I come in at the very end to buy the house where the crazy-ness ensued… when I realize this is that house… I head for the hills..

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was my daughter asking me if she could work at the shop with me…  she now works every saturday night (music night) and we are having a blast…

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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

One Response to Robert Romanos [Interview]

  1. Pingback: Two Years of Trainwreck’d [Exclusive!] | Train Wreck'd Society

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