Actor/director Tony Goldwyn will screen his film Conviction on the North Fork.
Some might say that Hollywood was in Tony Goldwyn’s blood—with his paternal grandfather being film producer and motion picture studio founder Samuel Goldwyn, maternal grandfather a playwright, and both grandmothers actresses. Goldwyn admits he fought entering the family business as a youngster but says one line in his ninth grade production of Inherit the Wind “pretty much did the trick.”
A prolific actor of stage, cinema, and television, and director, Goldwyn will host a Q&A session following a screening of his most recently directed film, Conviction, at Manhattan Film Institute’s Summer Program at the Cultural Arts Center at Peconic Landing on July 21. “This is MFI’s inaugural summer, and I wanted to be a part of it because I am so impressed with the program they have put together,” Goldwyn says. “Its approach is very focused and practical, and the teachers are some of the best in the industry.”
Remembered as the villain in the 1990 movie Ghost, Goldwyn currently stars as US President Fitzgerald Grant in ABC’s political thriller Scandal, but he says, “There’s nothing like being on stage and connecting with a live audience.” Goldwyn recently performed in the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises and in The Water’s Edge. But when pressed to name his preference, he says, “If I absolutely had to choose, I suppose I’d pick directing. The collaboration with so many artists is an extraordinary experience.”
Goldwyn’s made his directorial debut with the 1999 film A Walk on the Moon because he sought “a deeper involvement in the filmmaking process than acting allows,” he says. “I intended to just be the producer, but after working with the writer for a couple of years, I couldn’t let anyone else direct it.”
Goldwyn felt that same responsibility to make the movie Conviction when he heard the real-life story of Betty Anne Waters. “The hook for me in Betty Anne’s incredible story was the relationship with her brother Kenny, who spent 18 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. She never finished high school, but her faith in Kenny was so absolute that she made it through law school and became an attorney just to find a way to get him out. That bond between brother and sister fascinated me,” Goldwyn says.
While working on Conviction, he learned about the Innocence Project, a legal, public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people. “That got me hooked on the unbelievable work that The Innocence Project does,” Goldwyn offers. “I am currently producing and directing a new [yet-to-be-named] television show for AMC that further explores this area of the justice system.” Goldwyn cocreated the program with friend Richard LaGravenese, and this summer—in addition to shooting the second season of Scandal—he will prepare to shoot the pilot for the new series in September.