Dileo, John 1961–
DILEO, John 1961–
PERSONAL: Born February 1, 1961, in New York, NY; son of John and Vera DiLeo; companion of Earl McCarroll. Ethnicity: "Italian." Education: Ithaca College, B.F.A. (theater arts), 1982.
CAREER: Professional stage actor, 1982–95; full-time writer, 1995–.
MEMBER: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild.
And You Thought You Knew Classic Movies!, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.
One Hundred Great Film Performances You Should Remember, but Probably Don't, Limelight Editions (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor of book reviews to Washington Post Book World and film reviews to Urban Refugee (magazine).
WORK IN PROGRESS: Book about "Great Underappreciated" American films.
SIDELIGHTS: John DiLeo told CA: "Writing is a way for me to share my enthusiasm for my subject (American movies). Criticism is a way to express yourself through your responses to art, and I've found it to be very gratifying to organize and shape my thoughts, and then communicate them to readers. Specifically, I write about movies that are underrated or overlooked or forgotten, and I've made it my mission to bring these films the attention they deserve.
"The work of Pauline Kael had a great impact on me long before I knew I'd ever be writing film criticism, and she continues to be an inspiration. Her access to her thoughts and feelings is so uncluttered, so true, so immediate.
"After viewing a movie, I immediately begin writing down all my thoughts (in longhand), everything that I think I want to say about it. It's important to get these ideas down right away. I usually watch the movie again, this time taking extensive notes, watching key scenes multiple times. Then I put everything into the computer, creating the shape of the essay as I write. At this point, I have a piece that is too long and repetitive, so I begin the stripping-away process. This part always feels like sculpting to me, cutting away the extraneous bits until the final structure is revealed. When I'm close to finishing, I usually go back to the film to recheck the details of certain scenes. I know I'm done when I can read a piece and not want to change anything. An essay usually takes me five days.
"After years of living the struggling-actor life, I started writing about movies for my own amusement, or as an escape from the dissatisfactions of my acting career. I had always been a film fanatic and decided to try to use my knowledge and create something. For me, writing is very much like acting, because I'm still trying to communicate with an audience, still trying to get a laugh or entertain or make someone think. It's been an easy transition, because writing satisfies the same needs that led me to acting."