For some, the drive for creative expression is instinctive. Just as a person may inherit their father’s eyes or their grandmother’s nose, so too can they inherit a passion for the arts. That couldn’t be more true than it is for Venezuelan-American Leandro Simozza, who comes from a family rich with creative talent. His incredible skill as an actor is due in no small part to the inspiration and encouragement he’s received from his mother, an accomplished painter, and his uncle, a virtuosic musician.
Simozza has been acting on screen and stage his entire life, and the combination of that experience and his innate gift for performance shines in every one of his roles. Moreover, the impact of his work is made all the more powerful by his penchant for frequently addressing social issues in his projects.
“I like to make something that has a strong message to society and the world,” Simozza says of his wide range of roles. “It is so important to do something one feels passionate about and I am grateful to have been able to portray many different kinds of roles.”
To call Simozza’s list of credits diverse isn’t an exaggeration, but an understatement. The Venezuelan tour de force has embodied everything from a family man struggling with alcoholism in “Regrets” and an American crack fighter pilot in “The Second Coming of Christ” to a modern day cartel mobster in “The Head of The Mouse.”
In addition to being the writer and editor of the film “Regrets,” Simozza also starred in the tragic drama as Emiliano, a father determined to drink himself to death after the loss of his daughter.
“He tries to destroy his life, but thanks to his nurse and professional help he realizes all the damage he’s caused and tries to overcome the situation,” Simozza said. “He wants his daughter to be able to look down on him and be happy about the fact that he’s changed his life and quit drinking.”
Because he was so thoroughly involved in every part of the production, Simozza went to great lengths studying and researching both the subject matter and the script. That research even included attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and hearing the true stories of real people who have lived the similar substance abuse nightmares as his character Emiliano in the film.
When he wrote the script for “Regrets,” Simozza was determined to shine a light on the iron grip of alcoholism and on the life-shattering toll this insidious disease can take on not only the afflicted, but on their families and loved ones.
That drive to tell compelling stories with powerful messages is what led Simozza to play the racist antagonist in the film “The Murder of Tasneem Ali.” The film follows the titular character Tasneem, a young Muslim girl, as she is relentlessly harassed and derided by Simozza’s character. Filmed in black and white, “The Murder of Tasneem Ali” is a gripping examination of Islamophobic abusers and their victims.
Simozza once again portrayed an addict in “Escaping the Gang Life.” His character, Luke, is a criminal hardened by years of drug abuse. Audiences soon see that beneath the surface of his sordid lifestyle lies a good, albeit flawed man. Luke’s friend and fellow gang member Luan, played by Klement Tinaj (“Furious 7”), struggles to leave the gang alive.
“His exit is violent, and the surviving gang members will not allow Luan to get away without a massive blood bath,” Simozza said. “My character is one of the members of the PMW Gang and he helps Luan find out who killed Luan’s sister, Angela, and get revenge for their loss.”
Whether explosive and action-packed or heartfelt and dramatic, Leandro Simozza’s works are almost always centered around issues of social strife. Like his mother and uncle, he recognizes the uniquely powerful role of the arts as a mirror for humanity. Addiction, prejudice and violence are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the scope of subjects examined in Simozza’s work. Brilliant and unrivaled not just as an actor but as a writer, editor and producer, Simozza’s long and ever-growing list of credits continues to amaze critics and audiences alike.