Twenty-two years ago, former University of Louisville football player Matt Battaglia made the switch from athletics to acting, moving nearly 3,000 miles to transition his career. Three and a half years ago, Battaglia decided to shift from being the man in front of the camera, to being the one behind it. And last Saturday night, Battaglia’s decision paid off when he won his first Emmy for the television show, “Last Shot with Judge Gun,” as executive producer. The Voice-Tribune had a chance to catch up with the award-winning actor-gone-producer to find out what the career change was like and how he enjoyed the Emmys.
The Voice-Tribune: What made you go into producing?
Matt Battaglia: Producing is something I decided to do about three and a half years ago. I wanted to get involved because I felt like there was a whole side of my brain that wasn’t being used. I majored at Louisville with a business degree and a minor in finance. As an actor, you’re just using the creative side of your brain. Also, as a producer, I can be selective. “Last Shot with Judge Gun” is a program (in which) the judge oversees the most successful drug re-treatment program in the country. These peoples’ lives are at stake. It’s really a show that makes a difference and tries to have a positive impact. Saturday night was a validation of that.
V-T: Out of all the work you have produced, what are you most proud of?
M.B.: “Last Shot with Judge Gun” is probably the most proud to date in the entertainment world, because it’s a field that really has a positive impact on thousands of lives. Not just the participants and those who are rehabilitated, but their families and friends as well. I’m proud that I was successful in producing a show, but knowing that we’re helping save lives and reconnecting families. And then to boot, the industry itself favored us to give us the Emmy; it’s a win-win all around, creatively and (as a) humanitarian (venture).
V-T: What was the most enjoyable or unexpected part of the Emmys?
M.B.: The most enjoyable and unexpected part was definitely winning the Emmy. When they call your name, you’re like, ‘Did they just say that?’ It feels like you’re in a time warp. Walking from your seat to the stage, saying what you’re going to say, and walking off behind the curtains, where they start the interviews; all of that probably took 10 minutes but it felt like it was over in 30 seconds. Though I will say that as great as a lot of people think (winning) is, a fellow former UofL football player who was a friend of mine, Brian Bray, died this morning. You just think, ‘You know, Emmys, Oscars, whatever.’ It’s great for the moment, but it’s definitely fleeting. It puts everything in true perspective.