Shalom Life | April 20, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Vincent Piazza on Season 3 of 'Boardwalk Empire' and 'Polish Bar'

The TV star talks to Shalom Life about the new season of "Boardwalk Empire" and his role as a Jewish DJ in “Polish Bar.”

By: Ilan Mester

Published: April 25th, 2012 in Culture » Film » News

EXCLUSIVE: Vincent Piazza on Season 3 of 'Boardwalk Empire' and 'Polish Bar'

Vincent Piazza is no stranger to television. He stars as Lucky Luciano in the HBO megahit Boardwalk Empire and he’s also appeared in other critically-acclaimed shows such as Rescue Me and The Sopranos. But Piazza is also carving out a name for himself on the big screen; he plays an aspiring DJ from a Jewish family who lives a double life in Polish Bar (which will have its Canadian premiere next month at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival). Piazza talks about his role in the film and what fans can expect from the upcoming season of Boardwalk Empire in this exclusive interview.

What drew you to play your character in Polish Bar?

I had worked with the producer Effie Brown on one of my first jobs, Rocket Science and shortly after, she told me she had me in mind for Polish Bar. After reading the script, I was immediately drawn to the hunger and conflict that exists within the character of Reuben. Thankfully, it worked out and I was fortunate enough to work with some great people.

What sorts of things did you do to prepare for the role?

Luckily, I had the opportunity to play an orthodox Jewish character in a play that ran for some time in NYC. That wonderful experience introduced me to many of the traditions and the warmth of the culture. I felt that that research and experience shed plenty of light for me to prepare for Polish Bar. In addition, I spent plenty of time mining my personal experience along with some great movie references from the director, Ben Berkowitz.

What was it like working with actors like Meat Loaf, James Badge Dale and Judd Hirsch?

Well, Badge is a very dear friend of mine who I actually met in our very first play together here in NYC. Our friendship was certainly something I leaned on in the film and working with Mr. Hirsch, Meat and Mr. Belzer were not only educational but fun experiences I cherish.

Fans are anxiously waiting for Season 3 of Boardwalk Empire. What can they expect from the new season?

Well, we're in production now on Season 3 and it’s pretty exciting for everyone involved. The show picks up in 1923, which is the year where the 20s begin to roar. Many of the iconic images of that decade begin to surface, so its been exciting to say the least.

What’s been your favourite moment on the show so far?

There's been so many, which sounds like a cop out but its true. I guess the genesis of it all; working on the pilot and getting to work with HBO, Mr. Scorsese and Mr. Winter over those few weeks are experiences I'll never forget.

You work with an amazing cast on Boardwalk Empire. Who would you like to see guest star on the show?

That's a tough question! I've been so lucky to work with the team that's been assembled for Boardwalk Empire. One person that comes to mind with not only the era but the mob genre is Jon Polito. He's wonderful for it.

You’re no stranger to playing characters based on real people. If you could portray anyone you’d like, who would you pick?

Well, funny enough, Lucky Luciano is the first historical figure I've had to play and its been a tremendous challenge. I haven't thought much of who I'd like to play but there are many, many classic literary characters I'd love to play!

You have a few movies coming up. What can you tell me about those projects?

During this past hiatus I worked on a film called 3 Nights in the Desert with Amber Tamblyn and Wes Bentley helmed by Gabe Cowan. It was shot in the desert and was a reunion film about three friends getting together to catch up on life when the film quickly descends into many of the issues that pulled them apart to begin with. It was a pretty intense experience as I soon discovered how inhospitable the desert actually was. :)

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