Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Interview with "Crackers" star Brenda Vaccaro

The Italian Tribune,

Brenda Vaccaro: A Genuine Treasure

Amidst all the performers on TV and in film today there are a few true stars who continue to delight us year after year with great class and distinction. Brenda Vaccaro is one of those authentic stars. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Brenda grew up in Dallas, Texas, where her parents Mario and Christine Vaccaro opened the renowned Mario’s Restaurant. She returned to New York after graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1958 to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse Theater. I spoke to Ms. Vaccaro recently to ask her about her early years of acting and to tell us about her latest projects.

What are your earliest memories of performing? Did you have any favorite actors that inspired you?

In Dallas I initially attended the Ursuline Academy where I was in several school plays. I remember I would stick my head out from behind the curtains to wave and talk to the audience. The nuns would get mad at me and tell me to stop. I was also a clown in class and after a while it was suggested to my parents that with all my energy I would do better in another school. I loved attending the opera with my father; one of my favorites was Rigoletto. I also loved the movies, watching Bette Davis and all the ladies of the thirties and forties. I loved them all. For me they bring back memories of my mother’s generation, the hair, the clothes and the style. So classy.

Have your experiences in your acting career been different than what you expected?

I had no idea what I was getting into. I was a young actress in New York City. I was making $250 a week on Broadway. There was no manual. I would ask questions but there weren’t always answers. As you start working and getting paid you learn by experience and become a professional. Then I went to Hollywood and it was a whole different bag. I always counted on my talent.

Brenda talked about becoming more confident as her career progressed in New York. In 1961 she debuted on Broadway with Everybody Loves Opal for which she won a Theatre World Award. She then went on to perform in the musical How Now, Dow Jones for which she received a Tony nomination. She was noticed by the director John Schlesinger who later cast her in Midnight Cowboy. From there she went on to many other roles on Broadway, in film and in TV productions.

You once said that it doesn’t matter if you work in film, TV or theater. Which do you find most demanding?

They are all demanding. I don’t think anything different about any of them. One of the most difficult aspects is when you are in a close up and can’t move and also when filming a movie that is shot out of sequence.

You just completed the short independent film Crackers, co-written, produced and directed by Greg Principato. With such an intense shooting schedule, what was the atmosphere on the set?

It was wonderful. I walked into a family! Vincent D’Onofrio is a great guy, very loving. He would point out other cast members and crew who had all worked together on “Law and Order. “

How did you come to join the cast? What intrigued you about the script and how did you connect with your character Bidelia?

Greg Principato was a cameraman on the set of You Don’t Know Jack (Brenda portrayed Margo Janus, Jack Kevorkian’s sister in this 2010 film for which she received an Emmy nomination). When he wrote the script for Crackers he already had me in mind. He called my agent and I looked at the script. I thought, this is funny, and I really wanted to work with Vincent D’Onofrio. It came right into my head to portray Bidelia like the character in an old French film called Tatie Danielle (Aunt Danielle). Tatie Danielle was hopelessly mean – a horrible person. I liked playing someone who was completely manipulative and without redemption.
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[CURRENT PROJECTS]

List of films in production.

"In Dubious Battle" [2016]

"In Dubious Battle" [2016]
An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s. Vincent....Al Anderson

"TENN" [TBA]

A story about the early life of Tennessee Williams

Directed by James Franco
Vincent D'Onofrio, Jacob Loeb

"American Falls" - [TBA]

In a rural town in Southern Idaho, the Suzukis, a Japanese American family, run a small motel. One night they get a strange visitor who sports ‘city’ clothes who turns out to be the first African-American man that Toru Suzuki’s children have ever seen. Yoshiko takes it upon herself to solve the mystery about this man, especially when 2 police officers come knocking on their door.

Short film produced by Erika Hampson.
Vincent D'Onofrio as Detective Foster.

'Purgatory' [TBA]

'Purgatory' [TBA]
Tagline: In the Wild West a lot of blood was spilled... but it didn't go to waste. Vincent....Dallas Stoudenmire

"A Fall From Grace" [TBA]

Detective Michael Tabb knows the city of St. Louis inside and out. He has felt its true heart, as much as its dark underbelly: but he does not know who, in both the dark and light - is taking the lives of young girls.

Director: Jennifer Lynch
Producer/Writer ...Eric Wilkinson

Vincent D'Onofrio ....George Lawson (GRACE's father)
Tim Roth.......Detective Tabb

Filming in St Louis - TBA

"Supreme Ruler" [TBA]

A man campaigns to become the leader of the Buffalo lodge.

Vincent D'Onofrio as Hank Dory
Ron Livingston as Steve
Marcia Gay Harden as Nancy

"The Monster Next Door" [TBA]

"The Monster Next Door" - Comedy Horror

Executive Produced by Dennis Johnson, Melanie Mohlman Produced by Eric Wilkinson, David Michaels
Written by Jim Robbins
Directed by Jennifer Lynch

Cast: Vincent D'Onofrio, Bill Pullman, French Stewart, Bill Moseley

'Down & Dirty Pictures' - [in Production - Filming TBA]

'Down & Dirty Pictures' - [in Production - Filming TBA]
Vincent......Harvey Weinstein

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