‘Writing scripts was always in my heart. My brother’s words were a wake-up for me to go ahead and pursue this.’
“I would write plays and movies in elementary school. I wrote an alternate ending to ‘The Godfather.’ At the end of the year, the teacher allowed me to direct it, write it, the whole nine yards. Afterwards, she said, ‘In the future, less ‘Godfather,’ more writing!’
“Writing scripts was always in my heart. Before I lost my brother to cancer, he had a heart-to-heart with me in hospice. He told me, ‘If there’s anything deep inside you that you want to chase, go do it.’ During COVID, my businesses were shut down. I was bored at my home in Florida, and a couple of production companies moved to the area because New York was shut down and they couldn’t film. It gave me the opportunity to start acting and to chase my dreams.
“My brother’s words were a wake-up for me to go ahead and pursue this. I was discovered by one of the co-producers of an Amazon series called ‘Capo: Rise to Power.’ He wanted me to star in it. As I dove into acting, they started giving me writing opportunities, and I wound up getting executive-producer credit, too. We’ve almost wrapped season one, which will be released this summer. We’ll be filming season two at the end of the year on Long Island. The beauty of this show is that the Mafia is just the color of the show. The premise of it is stregheria, Italian witchcraft. It’s about a generational curse that happens to a Mafia family. It’s ‘The Sopranos’ meets ‘Dexter’ and ‘Stranger Things,’ all wrapped into one.
“A lot of the show takes place in Centereach, where I grew up. I’m a diehard Islanders fan as well, so when you see flashback scenes from the ’80s with the Islanders, they’re from my memories. Working in film has been challenging, especially with writing and being creative, because everything has to do with childhood memories. I’ve been taught the magnificent transition of putting them on paper and then on film. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that if you’re going to go in, you’ve got to go all in. You’re going to fall on your face, and that’s OK because life is truly a journey, and you have to live it day by day. If I didn’t experience falls and mishaps along the way, it wouldn’t have built the character of the person I am today.”
Interviewed by Iris Wiener