CHAZZ PALMINTERI

July 25, 2018 at 5:15 am

Actor Chazz Palminteri is here to talk about “A Bronx Tale.”

Aired on July 24, 2018.

Transcript Print

>>> IT'S ABOUT AS NEW YORK AS A
SHOW CAN GET, AND NOW A BRONX
TALE IS TAKING ITS TURN ON
BROADWAY AS A MUSICAL FOR THE
VERY FIRST TIME.
MANY OF US SAW IT WHEN ROBERT DE
NIRO AND -- CHAZ -- A YOUNG
ITALIAN AMERICAN GROWING UP IN
THE '60s AS HE STRUGGLES WITH
THE ALLURE OF THE MOB,
INTERRACIAL LOVE AND PERSONAL
TRAGEDY.
MORE THAN TWO DECADES LATER,
BOTH ACTORS ARE BACK, THIS TIME
WITH DE NIRO CODIRECTING, AND --
AND STARRING IN A BRONX TALE.
I HAD A CHANCE TO INTERVIEW CHAZ
POMETERI, AND ASKED HIM ABOUT --
WHICH HE ORIGINALLY WROTE AS A
ONE-MAN PLAY ABOUT HIS OWN LIFE.
>> I WROTE IT, PERFORMED IT IN
1989.
I'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING THAT
MAKES ME DIFFERENT THAN
EVERYBODY ELSE, YOU KNOW, WHERE
I CAN SHOW MY RANGE AS AN ACTOR.
YEAH, I'LL DO A ONE-MAN SHOW.
I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE
ABOUT.
I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS KILLING I
NEVER FORGOT WHEN I WAS A YOUNG
BOY SITTING ON A STOOP, AND THIS
MAN KILLED A MAN RIGHT IN FRONT
OF ME.
AND I DIDN'T RAT THE GUY OUT AND
IT ALWAYS STAYED IN MY HEAD.
I SAID, WELL, THAT'S A GOOD
THING TO START OFF WITH.
I STARTED WRITING ABOUT THAT
WHEN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MY
FATHER, THE WISE GUYS, AND ME IN
THE MIDDLE, HOW THE BOISES BOTH
PEOPLE AND TAKES THE BEST FROM
BOTH AND BECOMES A MAN.
>> IT'S A GREAT MESSAGE FROM
THAT STORY, THAT HE'S ABLE TO
GLEAN THE BEST OF BOTH.
>> HE'S ABLE TO TAKE THE BEST OF
BOTH.
WHAT MADE THE BRONX TALE SO
UNIQUE, SONNY WANTED -- HE SAID
THE SAME THING AS MY FATHER
SAID, DON'T WASTE YOUR LIFE, GET
OUT OF THIS NEIGHBORHOOD.
BUT MY FATHER WAS KIND OF
JEALOUS OF HIM, AND HE WAS ALSO
VERY SMART.
HE WAS MY DAD.
HE SAID, LOOK, EVEN IF HE'S NOT
TELLING YOU TO DO THOSE THINGS,
JUST BY HANGING AROUND WITH HIM,
YOU WILL BE INFLUENCED.
AND YOU COULD MAYBE GET INTO
TROUBLE.
AND HE WAS RIGHT.
AND I PROMISED HIM THAT I
WOULDN'T WASTE MY LIFE.
I SAID, I PROMISE, DAD.
I SAID, COME ON.
>> YOU'RE LUCKY YOU HAD A GOOD
FOUNDATION.
>> YEAH.
>> THE NEXT STEP IN THE JOURNEY
THAT GETS US TO BROADWAY IS THE
FILM.
>> YEAH.
>> AN INTERESTING PART OF THAT
STORY THAT MOST PEOPLE HAVEN'T
HEARD IS THAT HOW MANY OFFERS
YOU HAD TO MAKE THAT FILM, AND
HOW OFTEN YOU RESISTED.
>> WELL, WHEN I MADE THE
MOVIE -- WHEN I MADE THE PLAY
AND I DID IT, TWO WEEKS LATER I
HAD $200 IN THE BANK.
I GOT OFFERED $250,000 TO WALK
AWAY.
THEY DIDN'T WANT ME --
>> WALK AWAY SAYING YOU'VE GOT
THE RIGHTS, TAKE IT, I'M GONE?
>> JUST TAKE THE RIGHTS, TAKE
THE STORY, MAKE THE MOVIE.
.
I SAID NO, I WANT TO PLAY SONNY.
THEY SAID NO WAY.
YOU'RE A WONDERFUL ACTOR, NOBODY
KNOWS WHO YOU ARE.
WE ON THE AN "A" PLUS WRITER IN
HOLLYWOOD.
>> YOU'VE GOT $200 IN THE BANK.
YOU'RE SAYING NO TO 250.
>> YEAH, AND I GO INTO ANOTHER
MEETING.
A GUY HAS A PIECE OF PAPER ON
THE TABLE, AND HE GOES LIKE
THIS.
HE GOES IF YOU SIGN THAT PAPER,
YOU'LL HAVE A CHECK FOR $1
MILLION TOMORROW.
AND I SAID I'LL DO IT IF I PLAY
SONNY, AND I WRITE THE SCREEN
PLAY.
AND THE GUY JUST PUT HIS HEAD
DOWN LIKE THIS AND HE LOOKED AT
ME, AND HE SAID, CHAZ, YOU
REALIZE THIS MOVIE WILL NEVER
GET MADE.
AND I SAID YOU'RE RIGHT, IT
WON'T, WITH YOU.
AND THEN ONE NIGHT, ABOUT THREE
WEEKS LATER, I GET OFF THE STAGE
AFTER PERFORMING, AND SOMEBODY
SAYS ROBERT DE NIRO IS IN YOUR
DRESSING ROOM.
HE JUST SAW THE SHOW.
I SAID WHAT?
THEY SAID YES.
I WALK INTO THE DRESSING ROOM,
THERE HE IS, SITTING THERE, HE
SAYS, THAT'S THE GREATEST
ONE-MAN SHOW I WILL EVER SAW.
HE GOES YOU JUST DID A MOVIE.
I SAID YEAH, AND I SAID BEFORE
YOU SAY ANYTHING --
>> HE LOOKS AT ME AND GOES I
KNOW, I KNOW.
HE GOES, LET ME TELL YOU HOW I
FEEL.
YOU SHOULD PLAY SONNY, YOU'LL BE
GREAT AS SONNY, AND YOU SHOULD
WRITE THE SCREEN PLAY.
IT WILL BE HONEST.
I'LL PLAY YOUR FATHER, I'LL
DIRECT IT, AND WE'LL GO
PARTNERS.
>> DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST
TIME YOU ACTUALLY GAVE THOUGHT
TO THE IDEA THAT AS GOOD AS THIS
WAS AS A FILM, MAYBE WE COULD
MAKE IT A BROADWAY MUSICAL?
>> I ALWAYS FELT IN MY HEART, I
CAN SAY THIS HONESTLY.
ONE-MAN SHOW, MUSICAL, BUT I
ALWAYS FELT THAT THE MUSIC,
ONE-MAN SHOW MOVIE, THE MUSICAL
WILL BE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL.
BECAUSE IT HAS THESE OPERATIC
THEMES, BIGGER THAN LIFE THEMES,
THE WASTED TALENT, FATHER, SON,
THE LOVE OF A FATHER TO HIS SON,
THE LOVE OF A -- RACISM, HOW
RACE IS BRED DOWN FROM ONE
I SAID, IF WE CAN CAPTURE ALL
THIS IN SONG, AND LOOK, I HAVE
AN EIGHT-TIME ACADEMY AWARD
WINNER, ALLEN MACON, GLEN
SLATER, THREE-TIME TONY NO,
MA'AM TEE TO DO THE LYRICS, I
WANT THEM TO BE ALL NEW, ALL
YOUNG ACTORS, DANCERS, SINGERS.
>> TALENT THERE, I'VE GOT TO
TELL YOU, IN OUR SHOW, LITERALLY
THE LAST NOTE OF THE ENTIRE
THEATER WAS ON THEIR FEET,
APPLAUDING.
>> STANDING OVATIONS AND THEN
THERE'S REAL ONES, THIS ONE,
BOOM, CHICAGO OVER, BAM.
>> IT'S A FABULOUS SHOW, BRONX
TALE.
IT'S NOW PLAYING AT THE LONG
ACRE THEATER THROUGH AUGUST 5th.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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