The first thing you notice about Paul DeSimone is…well, everything. And that is strictly by design and hard work. DeSimone, a 23-year-old Boston-area actor/filmmaker, is also a nationally placed bodybuilding champion. The winner of the Mr. Massachusetts competition, among other honors, possesses one of the most chiseled and well-muscled physiques of any person in the independent cinema realm.
But rather than wait for someone to borrow his muscles for a movie, DeSimone took the initiative to create his own production that works his body to the max. On the surface, DeSimone’s The Underground Lifting Video might seem as just another bodybuilding documentary or DV calling card. But instead, this feature provides one of the most refreshing surprises to come along in ages.
Mixing equal parts fly-on-the-wall observations with unexpected chunks of absurdist humor and topped with a sense of genuine sincerity and humanity, The Underground Lifting Video is an absorbing gym odyssey where pain and pleasure are served in heaping amounts. Whether pushing himself too far in weight training (at several points DeSimone complains of nausea and cramps after excessive routines) or indulging in sight gags worthy of Buster Keaton or Jacques Tati (DeSimone inexplicably walks into a parking lot and begins lifting automobiles off the ground), DeSimone’s film captures the genuine personality of a driven athlete enjoying his regimen to the fullest. Indeed, not since “Pumping Iron” brought Arnold Schwarzenegger’s real-life persona to movie audiences has a sports documentary captured the quirky soul of a competitor building his hunger for success.
DeSimone, who is currently at work on a second documentary about his athletic training and was just signed to a starring role in the independent comedy film “The Land of College Prophets” (as a demon who infiltrates a university), put his barbells on hold to speak with Film Threat about his work in the gym and in filmmaking.
Get the interview in part two of PAUL DESIMONE: THE NEXT VERY BIG THING>>>