Tag Archives: Enrico Colantoni

Bad Blood: Enrico Colantoni on Bruno Bonsignori and his love affair with Kim Coates

After decades playing other characters in feature films, the theatre and television, Enrico Colantoni is the closest to playing himself in City’s miniseries Bad Blood. To play Bruno Bonsignori, advisor to Vito Rizzuto (Anthony LaPaglia), Colantoni called on his Italian roots and a childhood that inspired his take on Bruno.

In our latest interview—done from the set of Bad Blood in Sudbury, Ont., last year—Colantoni outlines how he became part of the Bad Blood cast and how his past helped define the character.

How did you get involved in Bad Blood in the first place?
Enrico Colantoni: I’ve had an admiration for Kim Coates since Waterworld, and then seeing him on with George Stroumboulopoulos and realizing he was Canadian and from Saskatoon. And then, I won a Canadian Screen Award and he presented it to me. The hug I received … it was like two star-crossed lovers. I just love him and get him on so many levels and I think it’s mutual.

I was in Vancouver directing an episode of iZombie and I was having such a great time. I said, ‘If I can do this for the rest of my life I’ll never act again.’ Directing, even episodic for just two weeks, uses all my faculties. I got to act all the roles and have the final word on things. It was so exciting.

And then the phone rings and the script comes and I say, ‘Oh no, a mobster. I don’t want to do this.’ Then I read the first episode and, not only is the writing fantastic, but this character. I’ve never gotten to play an Italian mobster in my whole career. And this guy’s energy is so different from all of the other heavies. He’s sort of buffoonish, clownish. And I realize, ‘For the first time in my career, I can play me as an homage to the goofs I grew up with.’ And then when I realized this was with Kim, and Mr. LaPaglia and Mr. Sorvino … I gotta go. There hasn’t been a disappointing moment yet.

Bruno Bonsignori is a fictional character.
Kinda. He’s based on a real character, but the story I was told is that the reason they changed his name is because of the liberties that the script takes. He was based on a real guy and they share the same nickname, ‘Peacemaker.’

For Bruno, bloodshed is a last resort in this violent world.
Right. There’s gotta be that guy who is just the business-minded guy, who is good with the money. Who is good with talking. He is that guy.

I find it interesting that, when you dig down and really research some of these people, there are heroes. Not everyone is a villain.
Some of these guys just want to make a living. It’s so funny that the guys who I grew up with … their attitudes toward life walked such a fine line between legal and illegal. Objectively, I could see the difference, but they really couldn’t. If they got away with something, they were applauded for it and congratulated for it inside the family. My father would have beaten the shit out of me, but there were some Italians who thought that was appropriate behaviour and it was encouraged.

And Bad Blood is a Canadian story.
Isn’t that beautiful? I took such pride in that. We had our own version of the Cosa Nostra. I always thought that the famous names in Toronto were the Toronto version of something, never imagining that their ties to the bigger animal were so connected. And the guys in Montreal were even more so. When you hear the name Bonanno mentioned, you realize [the Canadians] were playing in the major leagues.

Bad Blood airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on City.

Look for more coverage of Bad Blood from our set visit late last year in the coming days, including exclusive interviews with director Alain Desrochers, and Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War authors Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards.

Image courtesy of Rogers Media.

 

 

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Bad Blood: Kim Coates headlines City’s Mafia mini based on the life of Vito Rizzuto

It’s a story from the pages of Canadian history. Bad Blood, the six-part miniseries debuting Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on City, reaches into the history of mob-influenced Montreal to tell the real-life story of Vito Rizzuto, who had everyone from city hall to motorcycle gangs under his command during the 1990s.

The project, from New Metric Media (Letterkenny) and Sphère Média Plus (19-2), is toplined by an incredible cast led by Kim Coates, Enrico Colantoni, Maxim Roy, Tony Nappo, Michelle Mylett, Paul Sorvino and Anthony LaPaglia. Adapted from Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War by Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards by Simon Barry (Continuum) and Michael Konyves, Bad Blood is a deep dive into Montreal’s seedy underbelly, a blood-splattered thrill ride in Canadian history. Back in 2013, before New Metric Media was formed, producer Mark Montefiore was going through his morning routine of reading news outlets and noticed an uptick in mob hits in Montreal. One person kept popping up in the stories he was reading: “mob expert” Antonio Nicaso. After six months of coffee with Nicaso and discussing general Mafia-themed ideas, Vito Rizzuto’s name came up. Nicaso, Montefiore learned, was writing a book about Rizzuto with Peter Edwards, the organized crime reporter for the Toronto Star.

“I said, ‘I want this story.'” Montefiore remembers during a break filming Bad Blood in snowy Sudbury, Ont. “We closed the deal on the manuscript on the Friday of December 2013 when we had the ice storm. On Monday, December 23, Vito was dead.” Rizzuto died from complications from lung cancer at the age of 67, but he’d left a trail of bodies in his wake that had suffered more violent fates. Montefiore and his New Metric Media partner, Patrick O’Sullivan, always pictured Bad Blood as a miniseries that picked up with Rizzuto (played by Anthony LaPaglia) getting out of prison until his death and following how a man who built an empire based on bringing people together and working together built an empire.

Thursday’s first episode sprints out of the gate, with Rizzuto’s right-hand man—the fictional Declan Gardiner (Kim Coates)—setting the scene and describing how Rizzuto united the Irish gangs that ran Montreal’s ports, the Italians who controlled business, politics and government, the bikers who ran distribution and the Haitians who handled street-level distribution of drugs to construct an empire. Viewers learn that even the police are in Rizzuto’s employ (Sphère Média planted a sweet 19-2 Easter egg in the first script.) and that anyone who attempts to take down Rizzuto will experience a major hurt thanks to Declan and loyal bodyguard Gio, a fictional character played by Tony Nappo.

“I was cast early on and then I read the scripts as they came in,” Nappo says. “I got to the end of each script and I couldn’t wait to see what was going to come next.” Gio and Declan are around Rizzuto all the time, Nappo explains, describing his character as a ninja who observes and protects, a soldier who is never going to refuse orders.

For Coates, Bad Blood came at the perfect time in his career.

“I took some time off [after Sons of Anarchy] and was offered some TV roles and I turned them all down,” Coates, who also serves as a co-producer on Bad Blood, says. “I wanted to focus on films. This was handed to me—they sent me the first three scripts—and every 20 minutes I would come out and say to my wife, ‘This is unbelievable.'” He got on the phone with the producers, committed to the project, and passed on Godless, Netflix’s western TV series from Steven Soderbergh. Scheduling eventually allowed for him to do both, but Coates was willing to drop Godless entirely in favour of Bad Blood.

“I know what everyone is wanting to do with this project,” Coates says. “I’m not afraid to tell everyone what a great job they’re doing. I’m so proud to be involved with this. It doesn’t have to perfect, but it does have to be honest.”

Bad Blood airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on City.

Look for more coverage of Bad Blood from our set visit late last year in the coming days, including exclusive interviews with actors Enrico Colantoni and Brett Donahue, and authors Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards.

Images courtesy of Rogers Media.

 

 

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Interview: Enrico Colantoni on “bang” up start to Remedy’s second season

On Monday night, Remedy, Global’s Enrico Colantoni-starring medical/family drama, returns for its second season, and fans better be ready to get shaken up. At the very least they have to prepare to watch their favourite characters, including Colantoni’s Dr. Allen Conner, go through one of the biggest shake-ups in the show’s history.

In the name of keeping things spoiler-free, that’s about all we can say about the premiere. But the good news is, we spoke to Colantoni himself, and he offered a few more clues as to what kind of chaos is ahead, both for Allen and the entire series.

The season premiere starts with a pretty big … let’s say “incident.” How was it shooting that scene?
Enrico Colantoni: We start the season off with a bang! [Laughs.]

It was a little out of our wheelhouse. It’s safe to say that whole season isn’t going to be like that. It’s a nice way to reintroduce the world and have a little sensationalised drama, which is fun and fun to do.

Can you say if that event is going to ripple through the season? Or are there other events that come along during the season that have a bigger effect?
What’s wonderful about our show is that the shoe doesn’t drop; it sort of falls really slow.

We watch our main characters find their way [this season]. They’re all dealing with being a fish-out-of-water in a way. Sandy has a new baby and she wants to come back to work. Mel is dealing with this man. Allen is in the ER. Griffin is dealing with living with Zoe. So, the [event], I would say is the metaphor of what’s going to happen, but it’s not an indication of what’s going to happen. It really builds to this place where the whole family has to deal with and can’t avoid Griffin anymore. That’s an extraordinary nine episodes of just watching him fall really slowly.

Allen is going through some challenges this season as well. His area of expertise is not being valued at the hospital anymore and he’s being thrown into the ER environment. How is that professional havoc going to change him?
Rico has the best time playing Allen this season. He doesn’t have to hide behind a desk. He really is getting his hands dirty.

But [Allen] really is a fish-out-of-water at the beginning because it is a young man’s game. He doesn’t have the dexterity to deal with 20 different patients. He wants to spend time, he wants to be the doctor who heals every individual, and you just don’t have time in the ER. You send ‘em off—you either send ‘em upstairs, or you send ‘em home. So he has a hard time understanding that. But what it does is it brings a lot of integrity back to the ER. He’s saving a lot of lives that otherwise would have been lost. But on the other hand, he’s learning how to function quickly. He gets excited about it.


But the glue is always … this family is despicable. They are! In a subtle, sublime way, they’re despicable. They’re just so insulated.


He’s getting reinvigorated.
Yeah! He’s getting reinvigorated. You just see the joy. Even in the fourth episode, which you haven’t seen yet, the first time you see him, he’s like a little kid. He’s got his first gunshot trauma coming in and he’s all excited. That sort of shifts [things] and that episode affects him deeply.

So it wasn’t necessarily the change he wanted, but the change he needed?
Yes. He realizes how much he hated being an administrator. He realizes that, of course, he loves medicine. And it affords him more time to be the dad he wants to be, needs to be. How Greg Spottiswood manages to make it all dramatic is beyond me. He’s that skilled, because I’m having the best time in the world. And he is, certainly, as well.

But the glue is always … this family is despicable. [Laughs.] They are! In a subtle, sublime way, they’re despicable. They’re just so insulated and I don’t know if xenophobic is the term, but they’re just like, ‘Stay away. We are an island. We don’t need anybody else.’

They have each other…
But in such a co-dependent way!

You have played a father figure to many strong women, career-driven women. How important do you think it is to portray these deep father-daughter relationships?
What an opportunity to play a dad to someone who is already an adult! My kids are still teenagers, so you have to pound that voice in that head and hope that somehow, when they’re 30, they’re going to hear dad stop them from going down the wrong road.

Playing Keith Mars [on Veronica Mars], I think, had more value to it because he was all she had. And he did allow her to be her own person at a young age, which is such a gift. These guys are too smart for their own good! The fact that they even listen to me still …. and the fact that he still tries to butt heads with them is like, what are you, an idiot? You should have let them go a long time ago, but you’re just so stubborn and wanting to control the whole thing. They’re adults for God’s sake, but you treat them like they’re kids! There’s nothing valuable in that. [Laughs.]

But that’s part of being a dad, right? You’re always going to have that urge to come in and control the situation.
It is! It doesn’t stop! And that’s what makes the show beautiful. It’s beautiful because it’s real.

I like using the word ‘sensationalize’ because a lot of these medical dramas are [that]. They’re relying on the false sense of drama. I always had this debate with the writers on Flashpoint. Like, it’s already dramatic, why do we have to fake the drama?

That’s what made Parker so special to me. While everybody else is freaking out, he’s going, ‘Guys, calm. Let’s move.’ Which is how you deal with situations. You don’t go, ‘Oh, this is really important!’ We know it’s important. And that’s how we deal with Remedy. Like, this is fucked up, and this is how we deal with it. And when it really gets heightened it’s all about, ‘You shut up! No, you shut up!’

The bickering is so beautiful on this show. And I love it.

 Remedy returns Monday, March 23, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

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