Perhaps best known for playing Dogsy in The Sopranos, Kevin Interdonato has been winning over fans and critics alike thanks to his latest role in the film Bad Frank. Influenced by the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Daniel Day Lewis, Kevin chatted to ThisIsTheLatest about first auditions, his former career in the military and his thoughts on social media.
TITL: As a former soldier, at what point in your life did you start seriously considering as a career path?
Kevin Interdonato: I began studying when I was 20. I bounced around college classes after high school and was a little lost at that time in my life. I joined the Army National Guard when I was a senior in high school, and I enjoyed those years serving. It gave me the freedom to pursue my passion in this business, play with tanks and shoot weapons at the same time. I made many lifelong friends in the military.
TITL: Can you remember your first audition? What advice would you give those about to have theirs?
KI: Yes I actually do. It was for a student film at Montclair University and I think my mom still has that laying around somewhere – I should go blow the dust off it and have a good laugh at myself! My advice is to be yourself, and make the role yours. It’s so intimidating, the audition process – still is. But if you direct 100% of your focus on the reader and audience and NOT worry about yourself, then you’ll always be safe.
TITL: In terms of influences, which actors do you most look up to?
KI: There are too many to list. I respect an actor’s talent, and I also admire the career of others – the choices and how they handle their business. Mark Wahlberg and Sylvester Stallone are machines. Those guys are always working, creating projects and jobs for people, and it’s inspiring. From Sean Penn, Daniel Day Lewis, John Cazale, to Vera Farmiga, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi…my list of influences goes on and on.
TITL: How if at all do your National Guard days impact the roles you take on?
KI: Not much really. I know how to handle myself for a military role more than most, but I find myself not sticking to that aspect of my life because it binds me. I’m not free for anything that comes my way if I think of my time as a soldier. It’s robotic, systematic…and those are aspects of my being that I disregard for my work…unless a role calls for it.
TITL: You’re perhaps best known for playing Dogsy in Season 4 of The Sopranos. What impact did having a role on such a hugely popular show have on your career in terms of auditions/work offers?
KI: Believe it or not, not much. I didn’t have an agent at the time, so I wasn’t being handled as maybe I should have been. It was a great thing that happened, and the novelty of it was wonderful. Who didn’t want to get on that show at the time, you know? I really enjoyed it too. But the career thereafter came from hard work and persistence.
TITL: Who or what ultimately drew you to Bad Frank and what would you say the films’ unique selling point is?
KI: I was approached by the director and producer early on, before the script was finished. When they were telling me about the character and story which wasn’t fully fleshed out yet, I just had a gut feeling about Frank. Something clicked – I felt like I could tap into him, and I was in.
I think the sell of the film is how the film captured the reality of the man, and the extreme lengths he goes to. People like seeing people ‘snap’. But I tried to play Frank as honestly as possible to justify all his behaviors, and let people believe that this could be a reality.
TITL: The film has some pretty big names attached to it including Tom Sizemore and Ray Mancini. What was it like working alongside them and what would you say each brought to the film?
KI: Sizemore is a great guy. He was there long days, rolling around in the mud and rain at 2am, and was all about it! It was inspiring for everyone to watch him perform, and come in like a pro.
Boom – Mancini – is a wonderful man; everybody loves him. He played my father in the film with such conviction and sensitivity, plus we look alike. We were really lucky to have him.
TITL: Bad Frank has won several best film and best actor accolades at events and festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. Does praise like that mean much to you or are you more the kind of actor who is more concerned about taking pride in their work and the roles they choose, despite what critics might say about it?
KI: It’s funny. I’ve heard some great theories about Bad Frank from critics, and gotten the same – sometimes better – insight on the film from regular movie-goers. So I take it all in my stride, the good and bad, and leave it at that. Everyone’s got their right to an opinion, and so be it. Fortunately most of the press and reviews for Bad Frank have been pretty damn good so I’m happy that people are responding well to it.
And yeah, you hit it on the head. It’s all about the movie and the role for me, and I tend to stay focused in that world. The accolades are wonderful and humbling, but my focus stays with moving forward and doing the best I can. It’s always about the movie.
TITL: Can you recall the nicest and worst things a fan or critic has said about your work?
KI: Not really. I lucked out by not getting my ass handed to me, from the ones I’ve seen anyway. It’s nice to hear that reviewers were receptive to my work. But I am open to all, I always want to improve, and welcome feedback.
TITL: The film is one of a growing number of successful indie films in recent years. What do you think it is about independent movies that has suddenly caught everyone’s attention?
KI: Bad Frank blowing up is a combination of a good movie, and smart guerrilla marketing. There was really NO money for either, in comparison to other films. I think those 2 qualities are crucial, if you don’t have the benefit of having stars in your film. People want to see GOOD movies, period, and because of the VOD platforms, little films like Bad Frank can stand up there right next to the big studio films.
TITL: How do you feel about social media, both personally and professionally? Do you think it’s been a positive tool for the industry or have you seen down-sides to it as well?
KI: Well I miss the days of handling boredom by reading a book or throwing on some good tunes. The ability to keep in touch with old friends and family is very important to me, as well as giving fans a direct gateway to say hello – and vice-versa. Keeping up with news, getting good laughs at funny videos – it’s not that big of a deal anymore and I’ve accepted it, but I do find myself weaning off and remembering ‘life’ lately.
For the industry, it’s made its way into entertainment as the tangible source for relativity and popularity per movie or person, and it’s not going anywhere for those reasons alone. I used to view it as a necessary evil… now it’s just necessary.
TITL: What’s next for you? Are there any upcoming projects you can tell me about?
KI: Thanks for asking, yes. Dirty Dead Con Men will be out in this winter. It’s a cool film I also produced and wrote. I think fans are really going to enjoy it. Peter Dobson’s Asbury Park will be filming this October, very lucky to have been cast in this epic alongside Joe Pesci and other greats. This one’s a game-changer for many; I can’t wait for it myself.
TITL: Finally then, what’s your ultimate goal in life, both as an actor and an individual? What would you like to have achieved 5-10 years from now and what would you like your legacy to be?
KI: As an actor; to be the best, and be able to say I always gave my all. To be in movies that stick with people for a long time. Personally…I guess I just want to make my old man proud.
For more information and to keep up-to-date with Kevin Interdonato, follow him on Twitter.