Interview: Roberto Lombardi
Nightmare on Elm Street fans certainly know of actor Roberto Lombardi. As the star of Blinky Productions’ Krueger: Tales from Elm Street, Lombardi portrays Freddy Krueger in this series of film shorts which focuses on Freddy’s early years as The Springwood Slasher. Lombardi’s performances as Freddy have garnered universal praise from critics and fans alike, propelling Lombardi’s name to the top of many fans’ lists of potential actors to carry on the role after Robert Englund. Outside of Elm Street, Lombardi has acted in several projects for film and television and continues a busy career in music. Forum member Blake Best spoke with Lombardi in October 2014 and interviewed him about his background in acting, portraying horror icon Freddy Krueger, and the upcoming Dracula’s War.
Blake Best: You have been acting since age seven. What influenced you to become an actor?
Roberto Lombardi: I come from a family that’s full of actors, musicians and artists, so the arts are in my DNA! I started off in music and in my teens I gave acting a serious try and loved it. From an early age I looked at movies and television and thought “I can do that…”
Your acting career has spanned several decades. Early on, did you consider the horror genre as something you wanted to be involved in?
I dabbled in acting off and on and didn’t really get serious about it until 2004 or 2005. My love of acting in horror comes from my father. He used to watch all the old Universal horror on tv and that sparked my interest in the genre and acting in it.
You have starred in several superhero and horror films and shorts, playing characters like the legendary Batman villain The Joker, Darkman, and of course, cinematic maniac Freddy Krueger. What drew you to these roles, and why do you feel superheroes and movie monsters are so popular?
I actually didn’t play the Joker! I played Dr. David Thurman in Mr. J. Darkman was all the idea of the director and I had only seen the Liam Neeson movie. Freddy Krueger, on the other hand, I had been a huge fan of since the 1984 film! When I was approached to do the first Krueger film in 2011 I was immediately interested. Especially since it was a prequel and Freddy would be portrayed in life! I feel that superheroes and movie monsters are so popular because audiences want to be taken out of everyday life for two hours and be entertained by things that are fantastical!
You have portrayed Freddy Krueger both in and out of makeup five times, and are also judged by many as the only other actor who could play the role as well as Robert Englund. Do you enjoy playing Freddy? If Hollywood came to you and asked you to take on the glove, sweater, and fire-scarred visage full time, would you do it?
First of all, I am highly appreciative of the support that Freddy fans have given me and I take none of it for granted. That said, I have loved every second playing Freddy. He is way more than just a dream demon. Since I’m playing him in life for the most part, I get to explore his duality as a loving father and a child killer. It’s pretty complex work as an actor. If the right Hollywood studio approached me to don that hat and claw, I would jump on board in a heartbeat!
How did you feel when you saw yourself decked out in full Freddy garb for the first time? Who created your costume and makeup?
In The Nightmare Ends on Halloween II, I was playing Freddy as a dream demon and alive also. The costumes and makeup were done by the director, Chris R. Notarile, and I was totally surprised how much I looked like Robert Englund in the makeup. The major difference being our mouths look different. For the four Krueger films, Chris supplied the coat and fedora. I supplied the sweater and pants. We both picked out the black striped shirt, green shirt and red t-shirt. The claws were all made by Shay Fogg.
While you were acting, you became a self-taught musician, playing bass, drums, guitar, and keyboards in several well-known rock groups, like April Fool. Has your musical ability ever overlapped with your acting?
I actually took years of lessons for bass, drums and vocals. I’m a self-taught guitarist and dabble in keyboards. The music and acting have overlapped as I’ve scored a little bit of music for some of my films and donated songs from my bands for soundtracks. The April Fool album is going to be re-released this year via FnA Records.
According to the Internet Movie Database, you are in pre-production for Dracula’s War, in which you portray another classic movie monster, the bloodthirsty Count himself. You seem to relish playing villainous roles. What draws you to these roles, and are you ever worried about being typecast?
The role of Dracula is one that I’ve wanted since I was a kid. I dressed up as Dracula for Halloween many times growing up! Every actor thinks about being typecast, but you also have to go for the roles you’re physically right for. I am not going to get the “all American dad next door” role. I just don’t have that look! I’m known for villains and I love playing them because they’re challenging, but I’ve also played cops, comedians, doctors, cowboys, etc, and have had to cry in movies almost as much as I’ve had to kill in them!
We would like to thank Blake for submitting this interview and Roberto Lombardi for his time! You can learn more about Krueger: Tales from Elm Street here.