Joseph Lushi is a talented Hollywood actor, screenwriter and producer known for his projects “Detroit 187”, “The Key”, “Le Coeur Brisé”, etc. Actor Joseph Lushi was born in Metro Detroit, Michigan to Albanian parents from Montenegro. Having a keen interest in theatre he enrolled in the Purple Rose Theatre Academy and the Dramatic Arts Studio of Michigan. He starred in television, shorts, and independent films throughout Michigan before relocating to Los Angeles in 2012.
Lushi’s first script, a historical drama entitled “The Six-Starred Golden State,” placed in the Top 20 percent of the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Competition for 2010.
Lushi gained notoriety as an actor in 2011, when he was selected to co-star as a recurring character on ABC’s television cop drama “Detroit 1-8-7” as a thug for mobster Al Stram (played by actor Tommy Flanagan) in two episodes. In that same year, he was cast in a supporting role as Cal in the independent film “The Key”, directed by Jack Schaberg.
In 2014, Lushi starred, wrote, and produced a short film entitled “Le Coeur Brisé,” which made its official festival debut at the SVA Theatre of Chelsea in New York City on October 3rd of that same year.
In 2015, Lushi played the role of Bob in the Young Actor’s Space (Y.A.S.) theatre production of Christopher Durang’s “Beyond Therapy,” directed by Patrick Day.
NY Elite Exclusive Interview with Joseph Lushi
NY Elite: Tell us a little about yourself.
Joseph Lushi: Hi NY Elite Magazine. Excited about this interview! Well, for starters, my name is Joseph Lushi and I’m an actor and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. I’m the son of two ethnic Albanian parents from Montenegro. Born and breed in the United States, originally from Michigan, I moved to California in late 2012 to follow my dreams and to leave a lasting legacy behind that I can be proud of.
NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?
Joseph Lushi: Currently, it’s pilot season in LA, so I’ve been auditioning for roles on shows, new shows about to go into production, and films, while training extensively with two outstanding coaches. In addition to doing all this, I’m also focusing on my screenplays and in the process of writing another two new feature-length scripts.
NY Elite: Tell me more about those new scripts.
Joseph Lushi: Surely! Without revealing too much, the first one is going to be a remake of the 1954 film “The Great Warrior Skanderbeg.” The second script, which I’m excited beyond belief to bring to life, is the story of the rise and fall of one of the greatest professional wrestlers in the world to ever grace the WWE. The identity of that wonder is a surprise. Stay tuned!
NY Elite: Exciting! What other scripts have you written?
Joseph Lushi: After graduating from Wayne State University – Detroit in 2007, my father took me to visit my ancestral homeland in the Balkans as a gift for all of the time and hard work I put into being the first man of my house to obtain a college education. Our first stop was Montenegro and shortly after we were in a car driving to Albania to visit some distant relatives.
It wasn’t until we both decided to go to Kosovo on a whim to explore that great land of war, honor, death and triumph. After having conversations with the local people of Prishtina and Peja, I knew there was a story to be told, and that I was going to be the one to tell it.
In that same year I started developing the story of the people in Kosovo, the culture, the heritage that came with the devastation of being in constant turmoil in the late ‘90s. When I finished the script, entitled “The Sixth-Starred Golden State,” I entered it into the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Competition 2010 (an annual competition conducted by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – Oscars) and placed in the Top 20 percent out of 6,200 or so scripts. It did not advance in the competition afterwards, but it was the indication that I needed to continue my writing and to realize I have a gift. I wrote a WWII drama, “The Führer’s Bride,” in 2011 and I’ve been developing millions of ideas and continuing to write ever since.
NY Elite: In regards to your acting, where else have you played leading role?
Joseph Lushi: Acting has always played a big role in my life, especially when I used to emulate what I saw on television as a kid making up imaginary scenarios and playing each character simultaneous with my favorite action figures all by myself. I did various talent shows when I was growing up, especially in junior high. Our version of the musical “Grease” till this day was my absolute favorite thing to be apart of as a teen. I love to tell stories. Through my writings, my speech and my acting.
I received my first break in the film and television world when I was cast as a mobster/thug on ABC’s short-lived cop TV drama “Detroit 187.” It was a glimpse into the life I had always envisioned for myself. For those marvelous two weeks on set, I was literally in paradise. Having the opportunity to work alongside Michael Imperioli (“Sopranos”) and Tommy Flanagan (“Sons of Anarchy”) literally changed my life. I was there learning and being in a presence of greatness while watching their technique and skill. It was better than anything I had ever experienced. These two weren’t just people I saw and grew up to know on television and film, they were actual human beings that I was able to have conversations with and admire through their stellar artistry. I discovered who I was and my ability as an actor because of them. Thankful and grateful to them both.
After filming was complete, a year later I did a small independent film in Michigan, “The Key,” as Cal, a young misguided teen. A lot of months, long hours, and no money while shooting, but it was the most rewarding experience because it tested my love and passion for the art and for the business. It cemented it. After that, when I moved to LA, I really started to think outside the box and created my own work to showcase what I can further offer to this industry. It was then that “Le Coeur Brisé” and the character L’homme was born. It was out of a vivid, scary dream I had one night that developed into a beautiful short film, which was shown at the Albanian Film Festival in Chelsea, NYC in 2014.
NY Elite: What other types of movies would you be interested in filming?
Joseph Lushi: I’d be interested in being a part of movies that merge art and film seamlessly. When they come together organically, it literally becomes the most beautiful and stimulating visual experience on the big screen. For example, when the screeners for the SAG awards this year were being sent out, and “The Revenant” was available to stream instantly to the computer, I was so excited by amping myself up about the magic I was about to witness. And then while it was playing, it didn’t do much for me in the moment. However, when I took the time out and physically went to the theatre to watch it a week later, I was completely in awe.
Alejandro Iñárritu created a visual masterpiece with “The Revenant” that shouldn’t have been allowed to be screened on a computer but only and exclusively screened at movie theaters. From the cinematography, screenplay, the performances of Leonardo DiCaprio and the incredible Tom Hardy. Films like that intrigue me the most. I also loved how he directed “Birdman” the year before. He’s just someone that speaks to me through his work. Working with the likes of him would be a dream.
NY Elite: What hidden talents do you have?
Joseph Lushi: I tell you, I should be lip-sync champion of the world, because I do not think anyone can compete with me on that! I can’t sing for shit, but boy do I sure know how to put on a show with lip-syncing as if I’m really doing the vocals. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me on MTV’s “Lip Sync Battle” one day.
NY Elite: What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
Joseph Lushi: Have no fear. I still struggle with that as well on the daily, but realistically it’s essential to have that no fear mentality in order to achieve success. Being an actor, or being in arts, might seem like this lavish life – and it can be – but it doesn’t get to that point six months after you decide you want to pursue coming into this industry. That’s a huge misconception that people do not understand. No one becomes a star overnight. You have to put in the work.
There is always a backstory to how that specific person all of a sudden became a household name. There is always a story. The media just doesn’t like getting into those deeper details so much. Everything takes time. You need to have patience and you need grit in order to survive in this business. It takes a lot of balls to sacrifice everything for what you passionately believe in: your craft, your art, yourself. Confide in family and friends that push you forward, that understand the everyday struggle in the life of an actor, and in people that navigate positive energy to you and through your heart. Attitude is everything. Believe me when I tell you, changing attitude to your mind’s perception is one of the most challenging things you can do, but it can lead to some amazing things in your life that have yet to be discovered.
NY Elite: What can we expect from you in 2016?
Joseph Lushi: I don’t like to live a life of expectations. Although it would be amazing to expect everything that you want in life right now, or to put it in months or years on schedule, I’m going with where life takes me creatively. I know things will be wonderful this year. I don’t need specifics or guarantees to make me happy and feel more secure with my destiny. A beautiful year filled with positive energy, love and gratitude to what I’ve been sharing with the world. That’s my real expectation. A continuation of love and happiness. That’s it. The rest is in someone else’s hands.