Vincent Piazza

The staff at the stndrd disagrees about a lot of pop culture minutia. Like so many vocation command centers across the country—our work force does not always see eye to eye. When it comes to our favorite day-to-day distractions—we often must agree to disagree.

Scarlett Johansson vs. Jessica Biel? Kobe vs. LeBron? Polo vs. Lacoste?

The list of squabbles goes on and on…

But, there is one factoid, one notion that makes the team come together as a cohesive unit. There is one piece of popular culture that requires no debate or argument here at our home office.

What is the finest show on TV?

Boardwalk Empire is the best show on television—at least according to us good folk at the stndrd!

Vincent Piazza makes it easy to understand why Boardwalk Empire is one of those rare shows that are worth watching on its first showing instead of a DVR playback a month later while you do your laundry.  The show is so compelling and riveting that you might actually have to Tweet about the show…AFTER the show is over.

The talented actor plays historical bad guy Lucky Luciano on the mob series. Vincent’s obvious dedication to his craft and interest in his character make him an easy target for praise and admiration.  If the rest of the cast and crew of this marvel, premium cable program are as invested in their work as he is then it’s easy to understand why Boardwalk Empire is such damn good television!

Mr. Piazza talked to the stndrd about historical accuracy, working with a living legend and shocking endings!

What he knew about Lucky Luciano before grabbing the part…

I knew he was a famous mobster. I knew he was buried in a neighborhood where I grew up. I didn’t know much more than that. When I got the job…I decided to find every bit of information possible.  I am kind of a research nut and it seems everyone involved with the show is cut from the same cloth.

On how much of his portrayal is fact based…

When you’re trying to play a historical gangster—what you have to avoid is the cliché.  You have to really research it. These guys led such secretive lives so it makes finding the truth difficult. The writers take poetic license and then mesh that with historical events.

It was fun detective work…not only did I read everything Luciano had to say about himself…but I read everything other gangsters had to say about him.

Regarding Lucky’s inability to have kids stemming from his gonorrhea infection…

When you think of the ego of a gangster, a guy like Lucky Luciano, you would think he would be interested in having children.  For whatever reason he never had any kids. I think a lot of that was tied to his sexual dysfunction.

His feelings about the real life Lucky and how that affects his performance…

I don’t think you have to like the character you are playing but you have to be their defense attorney. You have to understand what’s driving their action, that’s what’s most important.

The show deals with the dark side of humanity. It’s hard to sympathize with a person who was that cruel. You can defend someone to a point, but you wouldn’t want to be friends with a guy like that. I’m more interested in understanding than sympathizing.

On working with the icon, Martin Scorsese (executive producer of Boardwalk Empire)…

What makes him special is that intimidating as he can be…he makes it such a safe and fun place to work. Great directors let you feel so secure and safe that you can create without inhibition.

On the Awesome 2nd season finale and the death of Michael Pitt’s character James “Jimmy” Darmody…

The episode was amazing as far as the writers and their decisions. I never want to see an actor not work [Pitt], especially someone I have come to know and like. Certainly it was pretty shocking. They didn’t tell us what was happening. As a viewer, I would watch every week. It was pretty intense. I love Michael’s work. He put in some gorgeous work on the show.

On what he hopes to see on the show in the future…

We always see the guys like Tony Soprano who inherit the rackets. The guys on Boardwalk Empire…they are actually building the rackets. You want to see them building this empire.

For more on Boardwalk Empire click HERE.


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