Matt Dillon’s Musical Journey By Jayjay Epega

Matt Dillon (image courtesy of Michael Swartz, Icon)

Matt Dillon (image courtesy of Michael Swartz, Icon)

The Luxury Channel caught up with Hollywood actor Matt Dillon, who was recently in Europe attending the Taormina Film Festival in Italy, where he talked about his love of Cuban music and his forthcoming documentary. Dillon has had a prolific career and can count amongst his filmography The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, There’s Something About Mary, Crash – for which he got an Academy Award Nomination – and, most recently, Bad Country and The Art of the Steal.

Of late, he has been working on a project about the late Francisco Fellove, a Cuban scat singer who fled Cuba for Mexico in the early 1950s. “He was a great artist and he left a great musical legacy. It was a privilege for me to be able to work and spend time with him” says Dillon, a true music lover who says he’s also a “very amateur” percussionist. “The stuff the musicians of that time were doing was so creative and interesting, and that’s one of the themes I’ll be talking about, as well as the people and their relationships and the way they took care of each other.”

Matt Dillon & Francisco Fellove (image courtesy of Matt Dillon)

Matt Dillon & Francisco Fellove (image courtesy of Matt Dillon)

Francisco Fellove died in 2013 in Mexico aged 89, but is remembered for his fabulous onstage flair and original vocal stylings which, on songs like El Jamaiquino, established him as a pioneer of Spanish-language scat. He is considered a founder of the Cuban jazz-inspired bolero movement called Filin. Fellove wrote his signature song Mango Mangué at the age of just seventeen. Inspired by the calls of street vendors, it was recorded by Celia Cruz and salsero Johnny Pacheco, amongst other artists. The singer and composer was a long-time resident of Mexico and soon after his arrival, Mexican artistic director and producer Mariano Rivera Conde dubbed him “El Gran” (“The Great”) Fellove.

As far as the documentary goes, Dillon is open to working with new talent and developing original ideas. “I believe it’s good to use mixed media, to keep it as dynamic as I can,” he enthuses. Dillon also says he is keen to keep growing and learning. “I want to be more proactive; to do the things I’m excited about as an actor and director as opposed to just being an actor for hire.”

Matt Dillon in "Wayward Pines" (image courtesy of Fox Television)

Matt Dillon in “Wayward Pines” (image courtesy of Fox Television)

So what’s next for the star? Things are going from strength to strength, in particular with his starring role in Fox’s first event series, Wayward Pines, the drama from M. Night Shyamalan and Chad Hodge, which will air globally in 2015. It is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Blake Crouch, and is described as a thriller in the vein of Twin Peaks. The drama revolves around Ethan Burke (Dillon), a Secret Service agent who arrives in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, on a mission to find two missing federal agents.

Though he readily admits he’s generally drawn toward darker material, Dillon says that what is most important thing to him, in any medium, is that the project is truthful. “That’s what inspired me to become an actor — it wasn’t the idea of performance, it was the power of being able to turn the mirror on the audience. Verisimilitude, that’s my new favorite word!”

For more information on Wayward Pines, go to