Check out episode twenty-four of Richard’s web series, “In Isolation With…” It’s the talk show where we make a connection without actually making contact! Today, broadcasting directly from Isolation Studios (a.k.a. my home office), we meet Joe Pantoliano, a working actor for over forty years. From doing plays in empty basement theatres in New York City to Broadway to guest roles on the biggest television shows of several decades like “M*A*S*H” and “The Sopranos” and juicy supporting parts in films like “Risky Business,” “The Goonies,” “The Fugitive,” “Memento,” “Bad Boys” and “The Matrix” he says “There aren’t any small parts, only small paychecks.”
He jokes that he has a twenty-minute face, perfect for character work but his new film, “From the Vine” offers him the chance to show off his ninety-minute face. His first starring role in recent memory sees him playing a man who gives up a high-flying career as an executive to return to Italy, where he was born, to search for find his centre and regain his moral compass. In this interview we talk about the parallels between his life and that of his “From the Vine” character, Jimmy Stewart’s wig and how “On the Waterfront” made him want to be an actor… and here’s a surprise… it had nothing to do with Marlon Brando.
“They sent me to a place called Bob Roberts,” Joe says in the interview, “a guy who made wigs on Robertson Avenue. Robertson Boulevard in LA, and as I was walking up the courtyard out walks Jimmy Stewart. He’s got a fishing cap on, and he is carrying a box. It’s his hairpiece. I said, ‘Mr. Stewart. I’m a young actor and I just got a big job over at Warner Bros. I’m getting fitted for my first hair piece.’ He said, ‘Well good for you young man. I didn’t get fitted for mine until I was 38.’”
Let’s get to know Joe Pantoliano.