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InDepth InterView: Frank Vincent on CHICAGO OVERCOAT & More

Appearing in all three of Martin Scorsese's masterpieces - RAGING BULL, GOODFELLAS and CASINO - would surely suffice, at least for the artistic quotient of any resume, yet the suave and commanding presence of Frank Vincent as Tony Soprano's arch-nemesis Phil Leotardo on HBO's THE SOPRANOS may very well be his most beloved role to date. Yet, how to even choose? In addition to those four simply masterful entities, Mr. Vincent has also appeared in films for a wide array of highly notable directors, including: Spike Lee on DO THE RIGHT THING and JUNGLE FEVER; Brian DePalma on WISE GUYS; James Mangold on COP LAND; and the recently deceased Sidney Lumet on the 1996 crime thriller NIGHT FALLS ON MANHATTAN. In addition to a thorough discussion of his past roles, new and old - plus, what it was like to act as acting coach to Nas, Method Man and DMX on Hype Williams's BELLY - we also get down to brass nuts and bolts about his riveting new crime thriller, Beverly Ridge Pictures' CHICAGO OVERCOAT, available this week for purchase, download and rental on Amazon, iTunes, Netflix and more. Further information about CHICAGO OVERCOAT can be found at In CHICAGO OVERCOAT, co-starring Stacy Keach, Armand Assante, Kathrine Narducci, Mike Starr and THE DARK KNIGHT'S Danny Goldring in a pivotal role, Mr. Vincent portrays perhaps his most rich and complex character to date and his powerful performance is something to cherish, cheer - and, surely, cower at; in fear. Filmed entirely on location all over Chicago, the film is a perfect capsule of a gritty and tough world where nothing and no one is quite how he - or she - seems. OVERCOAT contains the role of a lifetime and Mr. Vincent wrings every last bead of sweat, tear and drop of blood out of the deeply affecting story by newcomers John W. Bosher and Brian Cauntner. After all, who does badass boss better than Mr. Vincent? As it turns out, he's also a hell of a nice guy, to boot! Now, to quote Billy Batts in GOODFELLAS, "Go home and get your shine box!" but, first, enjoy his colorful comments on CHICAGO OVERCOAT and much, much more!

Spit, Polish & Shine

PC: So many of your films take place in the Big Apple, so how do you compare it to Chicago where your new film CHICAGO OVERCOAT is set? Who's tougher? Who's dirtier? Who's realer?

FV: Well, actually, I found Chicago to be very delightful. I was never there before I did this project and it was a real delight to be there. The people have a different point of view than the New Yorkers - the New Yorkers are a little tougher and a little grimier, I think; and, Chicago - because of that Midwestern influence - isn't as much [like that]. The restaurants are great. We had great weather when we were there and we really had a good time in Chicago.

PC: How did you get involved with CHICAGO OVERCOAT? How did you first experience the script?

FV: It was a simple process. It was sent to my agent - they got my representation from IMDB - and they sent the script. They sent it to me, and I read it and loved it, and we wrote back to them and we got in touch with them and we made a deal - and, that's how it was done. That's what we did.

PC: Was all the voiceover narration written into the script?

FV: No. That was put in after. The voice-over stuff was put in after we shot the whole movie.

PC: That really made the movie all click, to me - some truly great lines, especially the last one!

FV: Yup! Yup.

PC: Tell me about re-teaming with Kathrine Narducci, your SOPRANOS co-star.

FV: Well, Kathy and I knew each other. We knew each other from THE SOPRANOS and, also, we had done a movie called COP LAND together. And, she's a New Yorker and I'm a New Yorker so our paths have crossed quite a few times. So, it was a thrill to have her as my love interest because we really loved each other and we're very much the same person from the same place, so the chemistry was good.

PC: What about the great Stacy Keach?

FV: I actually didn't get to see Stacy. He worked on the film, but I didn't get a chance to work with him. Of course, he's recognizable as one of the greats.

PC: And Armand Assante?

FV: And Armand, of course! Armand and I did a couple of movies together - we did GOTTI together. We had a chance to work together again here.

PC: Mike Starr?

FV: Mike Starr - we've done a couple of movies together. It was pretty good working with all these people you are familiar with and know you have chemistry with - that's what made the movie work, also.

PC: How crazy is it to see Phil Leotardo and Charmain Bucco together?!

FV: (Laughs.) Right, right, right - that's exactly right!

PC: In that Uma/PULP FICTION black bob wig, as well!

FV: Yeah, she had to change her look a little bit! She played more of a siren role in this. She was great! Kathy's a great girl and I love her.

PC: You two really flesh out the whole twenty-five-year relationship in those few scant scenes - which is very hard to do; to create a whole sub-textual back-story.

FV: You are exactly right. But, it was written well and we moved into our roles well, I thought, so it clicked together.

PC: It's a very precise and exact screenplay - and they're so young, the guys who made it.

FV: They are great, great, young, talented kids and they've got a great future. That's one of the interesting things - when I got to the first location to shoot, and I looked around and saw all twenty-five-year-old kids, I said, "Wow! What's this gonna be?" I thought it was gonna be a problem - but it was no problem whatsoever. They're all very professional and very talented. We worked well together on the movie and it was fun doing it.

PC: I hope the film gets a high profile because it deserves it.

FV: Thanks. I think it turned out really good. I'm very happy with it.

PC: Moving to your past film work, tell me about working with Martin Scorsese on RAGING BULL, GOODFELLAS and CASINO.

FV: Marty's a detail-oriented director - and very much so. He's very conscious of what everything looks like, obviously, aside from being able to tell the story cinematically - he'll change a picture on the wall; he'll change your wardrobe on the set, you know, "Please change this guy's tie," or, "That extra in the back there - I don't like the shoes he's wearing." So, again, he's very, very detail-oriented.

PC: What's the atmosphere like on one of his sets? What's he like one-on-one working on shooting a scene with you?

FV: You come to the set; you come to rehearsal, and you look at where the shot's going to be, from the angle of the camera - then, we talk about it. He says, "What do you think if we did this? What do you think if we do that?" Or, I make a suggestion - or somebody else makes a suggestion. And, he's very wide open to anything you want to do. He's a very, very brilliant, talented man. I am very thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with him so many times.

PC: Steve Buscemi was telling me about working with Scorsese on BOARDWALK EMPIRE and, also, working with you on THE SOPRANOS, when he did this column recently - would you consider joining him and Scorsese on BOARDWALK in the future? It seems destined to be!

FV: Oh, in a minute! Terry Winter - who's the head writer - is a dear friend of mine. He wrote on THE SOPRANOS. And, Steve directed me in an episode of THE SOPRANOS.

PC: He said he quite enjoyed working with you.

FV: Yeah. He's a great guy. We worked together as opposing guys on the show, though. He played the cousin who just got out of jail and I played the thorn in Tony's side.

PC: The best TV villain of the 21st century!

FV: (Laughs.) There's a scene Steve and I have together in the car, when I have the brace on my neck and Steve says, "The seat doesn't work," and I said, "How could it work if it's awry?" The writing on THE SOPRANOS - next to nothing better than that. It was brilliant writing and brilliant moviemaking.

PC: It's Shakespeare, thematically.

FV: Absolutely.

PC: And in its implications.

FV: Absolutely.

PC: Look how prescient it was, as well - looking back now.

FV: David Chase is a genius. Interesting story: Chase and I went to the opening of JERSEY BOYS. We got invited to the opening and we came out of the theater and it was raining. And, I had a limo and in the limo I had my friend, Dr. Dan Conti, and his son and myself. David said, "Frank, I need a ride!" So, I said, "Get in the car with us, then!" So, he got in the car with us and we went to the opening night party. Consequently, we invited him and Terry [Winter] and their wives to Dr. Dan's restaurant - called GOODFELLOWS - and Dr. Dan wound up on the show.

PC: No way! Who did he play?

FV: When I came back - when Phil came back from Florida, Johnny Sack was dying and he was trying to get control of the family. He's the character we end up shooting outside the whorehouse.

PC: Classic scene.

FV: Yeah! That was Dr. Dan Conti! And, during our conversations at that dinner, we talked about my wife - who was Ukrainian - and, as I said, Terry was there, too - and they made my girlfriend on the show a Ukrainian girl. If you remember, they kill the father and they kill the daughter.

PC: In the last season.

FV: Yeah! That's how observant David and Terry were! When I said that - and my wife was present - I saw them look at each other and, right away, you know, there was a twinkle in their eye!

PC: The spark of inspiration!

FV: They take reality and bring it into the project - and that's also what makes it so warm and cozy.

PC: Plus, being at JERSEY BOYS opening night! Oh, whatta night!

FV: (Laughs.) Right! Right.

PC: Are you involved in David Chase's new project with James Gandolfini? They have begun casting it.

FV: I have heard that he is doing a movie thing, so my antennas are all up. My people have been in touch with the casting people. There's got to be something right, though. David didn't use me for the first three years of the show, but, he knew that all the while he was going to do Phil Leotardo. He knew that the whole time. And, when the time came, he brought me in and that's how it worked.

PC: You and Steve Buscemi's characters on the show are the most important antagonists of the series.

FV: Right.

PC: You guys gave Tony Soprano his complex!

FV: That's true! (Big Laugh.) That's really true.

PC: Do you consider Phil Leotardo one of the great villains?

FV: I would say that Phil was, yeah. He didn't fool around. Phil was serious. He had a job to do and he thought, you know, "This Soprano guy is from Jersey, what does that mean? We are New Yorkers! The Jersey mob is nothing - they don't even prick their fingers when they do the ceremony." Some of the writing for Phil was just brilliant.

PC: That line you just quoted is in the very last episode.

FV: Right! You know your stuff! (Laughs.)

PC: Tell me about how they filmed your big death scene where your head is crushed by the car. It was so well done - it really looked like you.

FV: Well, they made about five or six dummies and they made about ten heads. I had to go in to the effects people and they made the heads. In fact, I have one of the heads and my daughter has one of the heads - she puts it in her window for Halloween!

PC: That's hilarious.

FV: (Laughs.) Yeah, it looks exactly like you. I mean, he does the eyes and matches your hair color and everything. So, we sat in plastic for a few hours and they did it.

PC: What about the stunt to crush your head?

FV: What they do is they chain the vehicle to only go so far. Then, I have to lay down under it for the first shot. Then, after I get up, they put the dummy with my fake head on it. Then, the car goes over the dummy. It was very interesting to do.

PC: Was it difficult to film?

FV: Well, there were three little babies that were part of this little trio that played the two babies in the back seat. So, the first take that I did when we were shooting it, I said, "Say ‘Bye Bye' to grandpa! Say ‘Bye Bye' to grandpa!" And, David says, "Cut!" And, I said, "David, what's the matter?" and, he said, "Frank, they're two years old! They can't talk. Just tell them to wave to pop-pop." (Laughs.)

PC: Stick to the script, right?

FV: Yeah, so I had to say, "Wave bye-bye to pop pop!" Then, when I get out of the car I get shot and fall down and the car rolls over me and whatever. But, the reactions from the other people is what made it all work for me - one person actually upchucks, you know. Then, there's another person who goes, "Oh, my God! Look what's going on!" So, that's the genius of Chase, you know?

PC: The location of your death - the gas station - is a very important place in the show. That's where Christopher imagined his life if Adriana had lived and not ratted on him.

FV: Right. Right.

PC: Throughout the series, it's referenced, and you have the last scene at the gas station.

FV: Right. That's true. Another thing I want to note is that they always referenced me as "the Shah of Iran" - you know, the guy with the grey hair; they always talked about my head. Tony made some remarks and somebody else made a remark, "Yeah, he looks like the Shah of Iran!" And, interesting - that's how they killed me; they crushed my head.

PC: Wow! I never noticed that.

FV: Yeah. Chase is brilliant.

PC: Speaking of heads: tell me about your bobble-head doll on your website based on your GOODFELLAS character.

FV: Well, Billy Batts is a famous guy...

PC: Of course.

FV: And, wherever I go, everybody says to me, "Go home and get your shine box!"

PC: That's your classic catch phrase!

FV: Yeah, so, that's why I did what I did on my website - - I have T-shirts and mugs and different things. I had this Mob-ble-head made - and, it's called a Mob-ble-head, as opposed to a bobble-head - and, it talks.

PC: What does it say?

FV: It says, "Go home and get your shine box!", "Give those Irish hoodlums a drink!" and "Nobody's breakin' up my party!" Those are the three lines from GOODFELLAS that Billy Batts says. We sell them on my website - and people buy them. It's amazing. And, it's a cute little gimmick - we're having fun with it.

PC: The internet is vital to a career and staying current.

FV: It's amazing, isn't it? These movies are twenty-five, thirty years old - they're older than you!

PC: The three Scorsese films are among the most popular movies of my generation, as you well know.

FV: Right. Right. They are great works of art - and, you know, the interesting thing to me about the trilogy with Marty is that they are all true stories; as opposed to THE GODFATHER trilogy, which is based on fiction. I'm not saying THE GODFATHER trilogy was bad - because it was brilliant - but, that was fiction. It was based on reality. But, these three stories of Scorsese's are true stories.

PC: And Nicholas Pileggi's, as well, in two cases.

FV: That's right. I'll tell you a funny story. When I was in Chicago doing CHICAGO OVERCOAT, and I went into a little restaurant that this little old lady owned and she said to me, "How could you do that to those people? How could you put them in a hole and bury them alive? I knew their wives - they were wonderful people!" She actually thought that I was, you know, the person who did that - when we bury them alive in CASINO. So, these are Chicago people that really believe that story and that I was the guy that did it in real life.

PC: Those movies are quite realistic, so it's not totally surprising to hear that. What do you think of those films being on TV all the time in that highly edited and censored form?

FV: Well, I think it's good that they are out there. I am a little upset that they are cut up - it's like THE SOPRANOS, on the reruns we had to go back and loop all the bad language. And, the girls that were dancing in the go-go bars, they had to shoot them with clothes on more so than the topless for the reruns. But, at least they're all out there and if someone really wants to see it in its real form they rent it or get the DVD or Blu-ray or whatever and then they see the reality of it. I think it loses a little bit in the translation.

PC: What do you think about SOPRANOS censorship, personally?

FV: I'll tell you, a lot of people are offended by the language. I've had real, real mob guys come up to me and, you know, they say, (Thick Accent.) "How coulds yous talk like that?" And, these guys have notches on their guns! (Laughs.)

PC: That's so funny - and so scary!

FV: (Laughs.) It's funny. (Pause.) It's ironic, too. People are funny in the way that they choose to express themselves.

PC: Maybe it cuts too close to the core for a lot of people.

FV: Sure. Absolutely.

PC: Moving to your non-Scorsese/SOPRANOS films: tell me about working with Spike Lee on DO THE RIGHT THING and JUNGLE FEVER.

FV: Spike Lee. My wife's good friend was dating a black fellow who I met socially - nice fellow and all that - and, I get a phone call from Spike Lee. I mean, I picked up my phone, I said, "This is Frank Vincent," he said, "This is Spike Lee." I said, "OK. Who are you?", he said, "I'm a director." I said, "Are you Chinese?" - because, Lee sounds like a Chinese name - and, he said, "No, I'm black." I said, "Are you making a black movie?" and, he said, "No. I'm making a regular movie." And, I said, "Oh. OK."

PC: You weren't aware of him at that point, I'm assuming.

FV: No, I had no idea who he was. He had a couple of movies out prior to DO THE RIGHT THING - SCHOOL TIES and some things. So, he said, "Martin Scorsese asked me to call you." And, so, immediately, my antennas went up and I said, "OK. What do we need to do?" And, we talked and we made a date to meet. Then, I ran into my black friend that I told you about and I said, "Who is Spike Lee?" and, he said, "C'mon! I'll show you." He had SCHOOL TIES and he showed it to me and I said, "Oh, wow, this guy's pretty good!" That was before I met him. Then, when I went and met him, he hired me to play the role of Charlie with the car.

PC: What was filming DO THE RIGHT THING like on set with Spike?

FV: We had a lot of fun doing that. And, he let me just go loose with that because a lot of that is adlibbed. When I say, "Two black kids whipped me with the car," and, the cop says, "Did you get their names?" and, I say, "Did I get their names? They ran away!" and, he says, "What were their names?" and, I say, "Moe and Joe!" And, he says, "Moe and Joe what?" and, I say, "Moe and Joe what? You wanna know Moe and Joe what? Moe and Joe Black! How about that?"

PC: So classic.

FV: Spike just let me run with that and it just worked out perfectly.

PC: It's a great film.

FV: By the way, one of those cops is Danny Aiello's son, you know. The other cop is pretty famous now, too - he's done a lot of work. They wanted to have a rehearsal for the scene, and, I said, "No, I don't wanna rehearse. Let's just fly with it and see what happens." And, that's what we did. And, the scene turned out wonderful and Spike just loved it.

PC: Susan Lucci was just telling me about what a great trainer Danny Aiello's son was for actors on boxing films.

FV: Danny, Jr. passed away, unfortunately, and he helped my son - my son is a stunt man and a coordinator - Danny helped him out a lot. Danny Aiello, Sr. and I are very good friends. That's his other son in the movie, though - Ricky.

PC: Danny, Sr. was so great on BROOKLYN SOUTH.

FV: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember that - he played the Brooklyn cop.

PC: Would you consider taking on a big TV lead role like that again? Most of your work has been in film.

FV: Well, the one hour shows are really tough - it's a big schedule; 23 shows a year. I mean, if the right thing came along and I was offered the right kind of situation I might consider doing it - I don't know if I would move to California to do it, though. You have to remember, SOPRANOS is a different animal - that's 13 episodes a season; it's not 23.

PC: Big difference!

FV: Yeah, so, it's a little different kind of a schedule - plus, you had two weeks to do the show. On the hour shows, you usually only get a week to do them. I did a lot of NYPD BLUEs and LAW & ORDERs and a couple of other ones that were shot in New York earlier in my career.

PC: David Milch is a true genius - the creator of NYPD BLUE.

FV: Yeah! Milch is a crazy guy. He's a good guy. A really, really good writer.

PC: Could you tell me about working with Brian DePalma on WISE GUYS?

FV: Brian is more of a laid-back director; compared to Marty - Marty is a pretty nervous guy, you know?

PC: Antsy. Tense.

FV: Yeah. He's always right there with you, "Bum-bum-bum", you know? And, Brian is more of an easygoing personality. I mean, he gets his work done and he is great at what he does - obviously. Every guy is a different guy, you know? He's a laid back guy and I loved that about him and he's just great.

PC: I have to ask since it is such a huge movie for my generation: tell me about working with Hype Williams on BELLY.

FV: That is a complete insane thing to do - to work with Hype and DMX and Method Man and Nas and that whole thing. Those guys... I was the acting coach on that movie and I had a couple of scenes that I did. Those guys are incredible - they don't rehearse. They just go. I don't want to tell you about their bad habits, but there are a lot of bad habits that happen!

PC: I can imagine!

FV: I mean, for days, somebody doesn't show up and there are four hundred extras waiting! They think they're doing videos, sometimes, I think - those guys. But, these are big-time movies.

PC: BELLY is one of those films that is so visually compelling - it is like a moving painting.

FV: Absolutely. Totally. It's gorgeous to look at.

PC: What about working with Hype directly?

FV: Hype? Hype is great. I also did the Nas video with Hype and Nas.

PC: "Street Dreams" - a real late-90s classic.

FV: Yeah. Yeah. Right.

PC: Tell me about that video - it was sort of inspired by you, in a roundabout way!

FV: Yeah, we shot it in Vegas and we were doing a sort of spin-off of CASINO, as you know.

PC: Of course! So, you're glad you did BELLY with Hype and Nas?

FV: BELLY was an experience for me. It was great. I made good friends with everybody - and, in fact, I am going to be seeing Power from the Wu-Tang Clan soon, coming up. The SoHo Film Festival is giving me the Icon Award and we are doing a thing to promote CHICAGO OVERCOAT at Power's place the night before.

PC: Congratulations on the Icon Award!

FV: Thank you. If you go on the Soho International Film Festival website there's more information. The CHICAGO OVERCOAT party is on the 21st and, then, the 22nd is when I get my Icon Award.

PC: What about working with Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Sylvester Stallone on COP LAND?

FV: Right. COPLAND - James Mangold. I auditioned for James and it was a nice little role, with me, Bob De Niro and Harvey. Yeah, I got a chance to be onscreen with Sly - I forgot about that for a moment! It shot in New Jersey. Kathy Narducci is in that. Cathy Moriarty. A lot of big names are in that. That was a fun movie to do, also. James Mangold is a good director.

PC: That film doesn't date, either. It's very unique.

FV: Yep. Absolutely. And, it was an interesting role for Sly because it was a departure for him. Critically, they didn't do him any justice - but, I thought he did good in it.

PC: The critics gave CASINO a hard time, too.

FV: Yeah! The critics gave everything Marty ever did a hard time. Marty won the Academy Award for THE DEPARTED, I think, because Jack Nicholson was in it and I think Hollywood finally said, "This guy's supposed to win an Academy Award." Remember, RAGING BULL was nominated for eight Academy Awards and it won two - Best Editor and Best Actor, for Bob. Redford's movie beat us - he won like six, seven Academy Awards on his directing debut.

PC: ORDINARY PEOPLE - which dates horribly, in comparison.

FV: ORDINARY PEOPLE, right. So, Marty's gotten beat up quite a few times.

PC: It doesn't matter now - RAGING BULL is widely considered one of the Top Ten greatest American films of all time.

FV: Right. Right. Exactly.

PC: Is RAGING BULL the one you think will last out of all the films you've done?

FV: Yeah. Absolutely. It's monumental. I think all three of them will last. You know, CASINO is a similar story to GOODFELLAS, but, I think, historically, GOODFELLAS will work because it really happened, and CASINO is about Vegas - and, Vegas is a part of the American culture. All three will last - and GODFATHER II will last forever, because Bob was brilliant in that; and GODFATHER I will last.

PC: Undoubtedly.

FV: You know, when I was growing up - I'm a little older than you - I was watching [James] Cagney and Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. [Robinson]. Growing up, my kid brothers and I would go to the movies every Saturday - we didn't even have a television yet. That's where you went for entertainment - you saw two movies and a comics and the news. That's what you did.

PC: WHITE HEAT starring Cagney is one of my favorites.

FV: Tony Sirico [Paulie Walnuts on THE SOPRANOS] is Cagney all over again!

PC: That's so funny - but so true!

FV: Sirico's favorite actor is Cagney and when you see Sirico you see Cagney.

PC: Let me ask you about some of the big actors working now, since you‘ve worked with all of the best: first, Leonardo DiCaprio?

FV: Brilliant. Brilliant young man. Brilliant talent. Again, Marty saw something in him and he pulled  it all out of him. I mean, TITANIC was brilliant, also, but I think he's gonna be around for a long time.

PC: What about Benecio Del Toro?

FV: I like Benecio, but he's a little off-beat, a little bit. He plays a lot of those weird roles, you know? I guess there's room for that - I mean, I don't know what's going to happen with the movie industry now with all the technology. I mean, how many times can we do SUPERMAN and all these kids of movies? And, he sort of plays those little off-beat roles, so I don't know what kind of range he's really got. But, he's wonderful in what he does.

PC: He was beyond incredible in Steven Soderbergh's CHE.

FV: Oh, yeah. He's a natural for that. That's the kind of things he is the best at. He doesn't have what Leo has, though - Leo has such charm onscreen and he's so beautiful to look at, you know? He's like the old time actors that we used to love - the Clark Gables - he's a real movie star, Leo.

PC: So, is Leo, Benecio or Sean Penn the great actor of the next generation?

FV: Well, I love Sean! Sean for character stuff. I think Sean's brilliant, also. I mean, nobody plays an Irish guy better than him. And, he's done some great movies. But, I like Leo and I think Leo's the frontrunner, yeah.

PC: What about the movies you have coming up: THE TESTED?

FV: THE TESTED will be good. That's coming out soon. I am also doing this thing with John Gallagher called FICKLE. That's gonna be a cute little movie, too.


FV: Yes, RESURRECTION is coming out soon, too.

PC: What was your favorite film of last year?

FV: Favorite movie of last year? THE FIGHTER.

PC: Christian Bale gave a performance for the ages. Oh, my God!

FV: Oh, my goodness! And, let me also say, Melissa Leo killed me. She killed me she was so brilliant.

PC: The scene with the two of them on the couch where Micky tells them he's going to Vegas...

FV: With the daughters! And, her whole attitude! If you see this woman, Ms. Leo, out of character - you don't even know who it is.

PC: Are there any TV shows on right now you really enjoy?

FV: I like BOARDWALK. I don't watch much TV - I like some of the light stuff like AMERICAN IDOL and DANCING WITH THE STARS where you don't have to criticize it too much about the writing and the production. I mean, the shows they are banging out? This reality stuff is nonsense - I think it is going to destroy television.

PC: It pretty much already did. It killed a generation of writers and directors.

FV: Yeah, how many reality shows can you have? It's all a fad. It's all bullcrap, man.

PC: Frank or Dean?

FV: (Laughs.) I'm a Dean, and then a Frank.

PC: Why is that?

FV: Dean is very influential in my characterization of myself and Frank is brilliant. And, with my musical tastes - of course I am a musician first - Frank is the boss of bosses.

PC: You and Joe Pesci started out together in an act, right? You were the drummer?

FV: Yeah, Joe and I had a musical group together. Then, we had a comedy act together - we did comedy together for five, seven years. And, that's what got us into the movies. The first movie we did was an independent movie and we went from there into RAGING BULL.

PC: And the rest is history: GOODFELLAS and CASINO.

FV: Yup and yup!

PC: Last question: Define collaboration.

FV: Well, collaboration is very simple: you have to all work together because it is not about one person or one department. Movie-making is very difficult because you need everybody to participate in the final thought process. Sometimes, you get to a set or a location on a project where the wardrobe person thinks they are the most important part of the movie - or the cinematographer - that's not true. It's all about everybody working together and it is very, very important that you have that kind of a thing happening - otherwise, it's gonna be lopsided and that is not good.

PC: Thank you so much for this, Frank. This was amazing. You are truly one of the great character actors. This was an honor for me.

FV: Yeah, it was real nice to get to talk to you, Pat. It was a real privilege and I thank you, sir. Have a great night! OK, Bye!

More Information on CHICAGO OVERCOAT:

"CHICAGO OVERCOAT," the exciting new mob film that wrapped November 2007 and completed post-production April 2009, had its World Premiere October 2009 at the 45th CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, where it was voted in the "Best of the Fest." The film is a chilling (though fictional) tale based on The Chicago Outfit and how they operated in the city of Chicago during the latter half of the 20th century. It is the brainchild of an impressive new Chicago indie film company, BEVERLY RIDGE PICTURES, which was founded by six recent graduates of COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO - all in their 20's - very articulate and knowledgeable on the subject. They did extensive research on The Chicago Outfit, penned the script, cast, directed, and produced the film. Chicago Overcoat is set in the present, but pays homage to the gangster films of the 40's and 50's; and was the first major mob film made in Chicago since Brian DePalma's "The Untouchables" in 1987. The superb script attracted its star FRANK VINCENT ("The Sopranos," "Casino," "Goodfellas"); ARMAND ASSANTE ("American Gangster," "Gotti," "Mambo Kings"); MIKE STARR ("Dumb and Dumber," "Goodfellas"); STACY KEACH ("Lights Out," "Mike Hammer: Private Eye"); KATHRINE NARDUCCI ("The Sopranos," "A Bronx Tale"); and DANNY GOLDRING ("The Dark Knight," "The Fugitive"). BEVERLY RIDGE PICTURES: JOANNE MOSS, executive producer; JOHN W. BOSHER, writer/producer; KEVIN MOSS, associate producer/cinematographer; and CHRIS CHARLES, associate producer/casting director.

The story is by JOHN W. BOSHER and BRIAN CAUNTER; screenplay by JOSH STAMAN, ANDREW DOWD,BRIAN CAUNTER, and JOHN W. BOSHER. In an interview with BILL ZWECKER of the Chicago Sun-Times,Armand Assante remarked that he did Chicago Overcoat "because I was so impressed by the level of the writing. I wassurprised such young people could create such an unconventional script from a genre that has been done to death!"

THE ENTIRE FILM WAS SHOT ON LOCATION IN CHICAGO (exteriors and interiors)! It features such diverseneighborhoods as The Loop, Pilsen, Chinatown, Beverly, Bridgeport, Logan Square, Cicero, and the former JolietCorrectional Center, to name but a few. The Green Mill (where Al Capone hung out), The Italian Village, and the famous Rosa's Lounge on Armitage are also featured in the film.

A BRIEF SYNOPSIS: FRANK VINCENT is Lou Marazano aka "The Flower Man," formerly The Chicago Outfit's most deadly mobster. In order to finance his retirement, he decides it's time to reprise his role as the mob's top hitter. He's taking his orders from the imprisoned mob boss, Stefano D'Agnostino, played by ARMAND ASSANTE. DANNY GOLDRING (who has been recognized as one of Chicago's most versatile and impressive stage actors) plays homicide detective Ralph Maloney. Maloney is obsessed with tracking down The Flower Man, whom he believes is responsible for a series of gangland slayings that have never been solved, and are very similar to the case he is currently investigating. MIKE STARR is the Outfit street boss, Lorenzo Galante. STACY KEACH is featured as retired police detective Ray Berkowski, and KATHRINE NARDUCCI plays Marazano's girlfriend, Lorraine Lionello.

The supporting cast also features many talented Chicago actors, including DOMINIC CAPONE (the great-nephew of AL CAPONE) who plays a gangster in the 31st Street Crew; TIM GAMBLE who is police official Harry Greene; RICK PLASTINA as mob attorney Angelo Perelli; BARRET WALZ as police detective Elliot Walsh; and AARON CRIPPEN, a master stunt coordinator, to name but a few. NBC 5 Chicago news anchor DICK JOHNSON and former anchor ELLEE PAI HONG also play themselves in the film.

The film's score, soundtrack, and on-screen musical performances are ALL CHICAGO: The legendary BUDDY GUY'S blues track, "Done Got Old," opens the film. Chicago-based music label ALLIGATOR RECORDS provided much of the film's music, with tracks by renowned blues artists Hound Dog Taylor, Big Walter Horton, and Detroit Junior. Chicago jazz singer KIMBERLY GORDON, of the Kimberly Gordon Organ Trio, also wrote an original song called "You're Sweet," which she performs with her band in the movie.

CHICAGO OVERCOAT had its TV premiere on SHOWTIME in December 2010, and airs throughout 2011. More information is available at and you can bring the film home starting Tuesday!

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From This Author - Pat Cerasaro