Adelphi's Theatre Department hosted a Q&A with two Hollywood veterans

by Bonnie Eissner and Jeffrey Weisbord

As a writer, director and producer, Todd Robinson ’82 has worked with John Travolta, Emilio Estevez, Salma Hayek and Jeff Bridges, among others. Phantom, Mr. Robinson’s latest release, which he wrote and directed, is a Cold War thriller about an ill-fated Soviet submarine mission and the clash between the hardened captain (played by Ed Harris) and the conspiring KGB operative (played by David Duchovny) assigned to his ship.

Five days after the film’s March 1 release, Mr. Robinson and Mr. Duchovny were on campus for a special screening and a Q&A session moderated by Theatre Department Chair and Professor Nicholas Petron, M.A. ’70. Mr. Robinson also hosted a master class for theatre students and attended a reception with students and alumni. “To come back to Adelphi, where I got my initial training, is just really quite wonderful,” he told Long Island Online News.

What was on the minds of these two Hollywood veterans last March? Here, we share some of their thoughts.

Todd Robinson on why he wrote a Cold War submarine epic:
“We grew up with the Cold War as a very real thing. We had fallout shelters in our schools…My dad actually built bomb shel- ters. He was an architect…That kind of made it very real for me…But growing up, I was always wondering who’d be pushing the buttons, or exact that attack. As I got older, it dawned on me that it’d be regular people. And so the story has to do with how we objectify our enemy in order to do them harm.”

David Duchovny on filmmaking and the unexpected:
“I’ve never really learned anything from success. I’ve only really learned from failure. The actual shooting of this was a great experience…We shot this in only 20 days. I just have a pleasant feeling about the whole experience. And as I work more and more, there is the finished product, which I’m proud of, but there is also just the experience of making the film as a human. And that human experience becomes more important.”

Todd Robinson on the role of a director:
“The director’s job is that of a conductor, and you have a 30,000-foot view.”

David Duchovny on his biggest epiphany as an actor:
“I’m waiting for that. I don’t know if it ever really happens. This is the key, again… relaxation. Stop questioning yourself and stop thinking in those terms…’When’s the epiphany going to happen?'”

David Duchovny Todd Robinson
David Duchovny takes questions
following an on-campus
screening of Phantom

Todd Robinson ’82 (right) gives
Nicholas Moneta ’13 advice
during a master class.

Todd Robinson with students 

Todd Robinson’82 (with black cap) and Theatre Department Chair and
Professor Nicholas Petron, M.A. ’70,
center with Adelphi theatre students.
ack row, from left Lisa Gaylord ’13, Julie Brannon ’15, Kate Mcleod ’15,
James Weippert ’14, Felicia Ferrigno ’14 and Caitlin Belforti ’13.

Front, from left 
Ernaisja Curry ’14, Christopher Trindade ’14,
Leore Riven ’14and Lauren Meloro ’15


This piece appeared in the Adelphi University Magazine Spring 2013 edition.

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