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Interview with Oscar Nominated Actor Chazz Palminteri

During September, thoughts of my late father dominated my mind for reasons peculiar to me. Sure, I knew his October 14th birthday was approaching, but I couldn't make sense of it. He had passed away in 2012. Around this time, I was conversing with a friend about one of the movies my father and I enjoyed watching together. It was the 1993 hit film Bronx Tale, directed by Robert DeNiro and written by Chazz Palminteri and based on Palminteri's well-received one-man play. The fictionalized story, based on some factual incidents, is a coming-of-age tale about Calogero, a young man growing up in the Bronx and torn between two patriarchs, Lorenzo, his father, who is a bus driver, and Sonny, a local crime boss.

Then my friend hit me with a bombshell. He revealed Chazz Palminteri was bringing his one-man play to the Springfield MGM Aria Ballroom on October 14th! I wasted no time in purchasing tickets for both me and my wife. His performance on the stage that night was superb.

In the back of my mind, I thought it would be cool if I could somehow talk to Mr. Palminteri and get more insight into his life and how he came about writing a play in 1988 where he performed 18 different characters. On a hunch, I reached out to his representative, and the next thing I knew, the Oscar-nominated actor was calling me on my phone.

As a 9-year-old boy living in the Bronx in the early 1960s, Palminteri witnessed a murder when two men were fighting over a barking space. One of them fired a gun in reaction to the other smashing his car window with a baseball bat. For a moment, Palminteri locked eyes with the murderer.

While this incident never produced trauma, Palminteri never forgot about it. Many years later in 1988, he was a dejected struggling actor in North Hollywood, California. As a child, he recalled his father telling him, "The saddest thing in life is wasted talent." He knew he couldn't wait for a break out role. So, he thought about what he could write about. The killing he witnessed decades earlier still held an indelible impression on him as an adult. Eventually, it made its way onto a monologue he crafted. He shared it with members of his acting class. They found favor with his creativity. For nearly a year, Palminteri wrote, edited, and rewrote the piece until it became the 90-minute story it is today. It was so popular that studio heads were eager to get him to surrender the rights to his property for six and seven figures. However; he was not welcome to star in the film or write it. Palminteri declined these offers.

Legendary actor Robert DeNiro, who saw the play in Los Angeles and later New York, saw the potential in it as a film for his directorial debut and teamed up with Palminteri to produce the film version, which became a hit. Under DeNiro's involvement, Palminteri was able to write the screenplay and star as Sonny.

At 71 years old, Palminteri shows no sign of slowing down. He is proud to use his passion and gift to introduce "The Bronx Tale" to a new generation of audiences who had never seen the original play or film. His body of work in the filmmaking industry signifies if you have the talent and drive to work hard, you can fulfill your dream. You can learn more about Chazz Palminteri at

As for myself, I am immense in several projects. In April of this year, Springfield Mass Studios and Cellar Door Productions wrapped up production on my indie screenplay, "A Mind Made for Murder". The crime suspense film is now in post production. I am in the midst of writing my own one man play comedy, "Foes of a Minimum Wage Guard", a story of self discovery about a hesitant elderly retail guard reassigned as an Asset Protection Specialist in a store plagued with shoplifting. I am also working on my 45 minute "Library Castle" storytelling program geared for children between the ages of 5 through 8. With puppets and props, I will be conveying "The Story of King Midas", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Hansel and Gretel" for childcare centers during the summer. Check back with me later if your business is located in western Massachusetts or northern Connecticut.

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