New Yorkers love a good pizza. It’s a classic taste of the city -- and so are the owners of the local pizzeria shops. But, what happens when you get a well-intentioned younger generation moving into the neighborhood and looking for a change?
This culture clash is the subject of the indie short film “The Kids Menu,”
pitting a young mother (Nyle Lynn
) on a mission to get a kids-friendly menu against a steadfast, traditional pizzeria owner ("Soprano's" favorite Vincent Pastore
Directed by Paul Borghese
and penned by Richard Vetere
, the film has become a stand-out on the festival circuit, recently screening at the SOHO Int’l Film Festival and heading to the Jersey Shore Film Festival later this summer.
"The Kids Menu" has also been racking up awards for both of its stars, with Nyle taking home ‘Best Actress’ from LA Shorts Awards, Los Angeles Film Awards, London Independent Film Awards, NYC Indie Film Awards and New York Film Awards; and Vincent earning the Spirit of New York Award at the Big Apple Film Festival.
I recently caught up with Nyle Lynn to find out more.
Tell us about “The Kids Menu.”
NYLE: 'The Kids Menu' is a dramedy about Old School Brooklyn vs. New School Brooklyn, clashing in a local pizzeria. When set-in-his-ways Italian pizzeria owner Pete 'Pugs' Puglisi (Vincent Pastore), meets headstrong Kat (Nyle Lynn) tensions and calorie counts rise. Shot in Brooklyn, NY it takes a comedic look at the serious issue of hyper-gentrification that is closing so many beloved “mom & pop” shops all over the city.
How did this project come together?
NYLE: I go to a lot of script reading workshops in NYC to practice my cold reading skills, and when I heard ‘The Kids Menu’ read I rushed up to the writer Richard (Vetere) not know who he was and said -- “I wanna make your play into a movie.” He generously offered to bring on his friends, Vinny (Vincent Pastore) and Paulie (Paul Borghese), to act and direct. I didn’t realize who he was talking about at first and when I did, I knew I was going to need a lot of help from my friends & family to make this movie happen, everyone pitched in, it was a truly collaborative effort.
What was it like work with Vincent Pastore?
NYLE: Working with Vinny Pastore was wonderful. He genuinely loves acting and other actors. We met up at diners in the Bronx to rehearse and he gave me acting tips and helped me breakdown my script. I learned a lot from working with him.
What would you consider your characters ‘best’ quality? And their ‘worst’?
NYLE: My character Kat’s best quality is that she really wants the best for children everywhere and is willing to work hard to better their lives. Kat’s worst quality is that she looks down on others and thinks she can do everything better than them. This coupled with her ambition and need to impress the other moms makes her a bit of a steamroller but I admire her tenacity and she really does have the best intentions in her heart for her children.
Any interesting stories from the set you can share with us?
NYLE: In the original script Vinny’s character was called Carmine, but the location we shot at was Pete’s Brooklyn Eats, owned by Mario Macaluso ('Boardwalk Empire') who played Vinny’s nephew in the film, so we had to change the lead character’s name to fit the location.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned from working on this project?
NYLE: Don’t wait for anyone else to take your career to the next level. You can do it with a lot of help from God and your friends and family!
And, now just for fun:
Who’s your favorite actor/actress?
NYLE: Oh gosh, you want me to pick just one? This might be impossible. There are so many! Robin Williams has had a profound impact on me as a person and an actress. Viola Davis rivets me! Cate Blanchett’s work is seamless. I watch old De Niro movies over and over again. The way Morgan Freeman tells stories stops me in my tracks. Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo blew me away, and Judi Dench in everything she does!
What role from the past do you wish you could have played?
NYLE: Another tough one to narrow down! I don’t know if I could have done it as well as she did but Jodie Foster in “Silence of The Lambs” always inspires me.
Favorite movie or TV show from your childhood.
NYLE: I love 'Election' starring Reese Witherspoon and “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” starring Will Smith. I can watch those over and over again. They make me smile!
Tell us one thing that would surprise our readers to learn about you.
NYLE: I’m dyslexic and couldn’t read out loud in front of people when I was a kid. I have done everything I can to combat this but it can still make cold reading a script in front of people extra difficult and anxiety provoking.
How can fans keep up with you?
NYLE: I am on Instagram @nylelynn link
, FB: www.facebook.com/NyleLynnFanPage link
and Twitter @NyleLynn link
And the movie’s page is www.facebook.com/kidsmenumovie link
you can see what festival it’s heading to next on there.
Thanks, Nyle -- and all this talk about pizza has made me hungry!
Vincent Pastore and Nyle Lynn in 'The Kids Menu'
SOHO Int'l Film Festival - 'The Kids Menu'