april_11.jpgThe often-controversial actor-writer-director Vincent Gallo was born on this day in Buffalo, NY in 1961. As a teen he dropped out of high school and moved to New York City, nurturing his creativity by making Super 8 films, playing in bands (including one with graffiti artist Jean Michel Basquiat) and exhibiting his paintings and sculpture work at local galleries. After discovering an affinity for motorcycle sports, Gallo took up acting as a way to get health insurance. His first feature was 1986’s Euridice of the Avenues, for which his score won the 1984 Berlin Film Festival Award for Best Music. In the mid-’90s his mug could be seen in Calvin Klein ads the world over. By 1998 when his semi-autobiographical Buffalo ’66 was released, he had already racked up bit parts in The House of the Spirits, Palookaville and The Funeral. But he wouldn’t again receive such heightened critical acclaim until his second time in the director’s chair with The Brown Bunny. Starring alongside former flame Chloë Sevigny, Gallo also took on roles as the movie’s cinematographer, costume designer, editor and camera operator.

Factoid: Vincent Gallo came back with a vengeance when The Brown Bunny premiered at Cannes to extreme and mixed reviews. First there was the now infamous exchange of words with critic Roger Ebert, followed by an equally infamous sexually explicit billboard display in Los Angeles. It’s difficult to tell whether the publicity helped or hurt the small independent movie, which made back only one-third of its budget.