David Della Rocco [Interview]
is one of those films that some say mysteriously built a cult following for unlikely reasons. I tend to disagree. The reasons were plain as day! It was a vigilante film. Who wouldn’t love that? Justice being taken into the hands of ordinary citizens has always been a long loved past time in the film world. Throw in some strategically placed, yet well tamed, violence and humor and drinking, and you have yourself a cult classic! Boondock Saints
was a film that may have taken a while to be appreciated, but it was inevitable that success would come.
And what a cast! Most memorable to some (me, at least) was the man who brought the comedic relief. The very David Della Rocco, who played, well, Rocco! Director Troy Duffy specifically wrote the part of Rocco for his friend. And David’s performance was nothing less than tour de force! He holds the most memorable line the film simply by stating: “We could kill everyone!”. That and blowing a cat all to hell.
David Della Rocco stunned audiences several years ago with this performance, and created a fantastic persona for himself as a street worthy Italian American ready for whatever. Maybe not the most wits in the world, but all the balls. This will be apparent even more so when he stars in Hells Angels founder Sonny Barger’s upcoming film Dead in 5 Heartbeats. Rocco is certainly ambitious enough to not be pigeon held to one character, but if he had to be this wouldn’t be a bad one. David was kind enough to share a few words with us about Boondock Saints, intimidation of Sonny Barger, and more! Enjoy!
You’ve known director Troy Duffy for quite a while. In fact, he wrote the part of Rocco for you in Boondock Saints as well as its sequel. What are the odds that we might see a further collaborations between the two of you?
I’m sure Troy would be interested to work with me again. whether he would alter his writing to fit my strong points as an actor I could not tell you. The problem with working with Troy is I am pretty sure he is doing something with Boondocks either a third movie or a series, and as you know [unfortunately] I died in the first Boondocks. But I am sure we will do something together in the years to come.
In your personal opinion, what do you think it is about the Saints films that started a cult phenomenon?
That is a hard question to answer. When the movie first came out the studios did not want it, nobody wanted it. We sold it to Blockbuster Video and I thought it would just die on the shelves,but for reasons unknown to me it just really did well. Most of the time if you do not have a studio behind you for advertising or to help move the film in some way it just gets lost. Boondocks was word of mouth. I know I did not answer the question of how it has a cult following I just don’t know,but I’m glad it does.
How often does somebody stop you on the street and beg you to say your infamous line, “We can kill everybody!”, on the streets. Does your recognition as Rocco in Boondock Saints ever grow old and annoying?
No it never bothers me nor does it annoy me. Sometimes they want scenes that have a lot of emotion in it like, Shut your fat ass Ravey. I can’t buy a pack of smokes …. and it is difficult to do on the spot without some sort of preparation.
You are a classically trained actor who studied under the late Susan Peretz. How did studying under Susan affect your life both professionally and personally?
Studying with Susan Peretz was great she conducted her classes more like a theater group so there were a lot of plays and seminars you got to perform. The best quality that Susan had was that she really got you to love acting. Susan ,herself being a good actress[Dog Day Afternoon], knew how difficult it is to be a working actor so you better enjoy it. You would spend the whole week working a job you did not enjoy then you would go to her class and you really would feel it was nice being an actor.
Tell us about Dead In 5 Heart Beats, an upcoming film you will be featured in? Who will you be portraying?
The Character I play in “Dead in Five Heart Beats is Angelo, a good man gone bad. He has a weak moment a tries to pull off a drug deal on his own without the club knowing about it. He gets set up by the feds and they want him to rat on the club. The fact that he has a son to take care of make his choices difficult.
Was it strange to associate with founding members of the notorious big gang, Hell’s Angels?
Strange is a good word. I mean ,I have known of the Angels my whole life not personally,but they are very iconic. It was very strange filming at their club and acting with them .We used a lot of them as extras and some had nice parts. One of the members , i forgot his name, had to play the president of the club and did a great job. When I told him he did a good job acting he told me,”I have been doing this for twenty years,”for some reason it made the scene have a very strange a little too real, like after the scene was over I would drop my character – he didn’t. At first I felt that I was walking on egg shells I didn’t want to say or do something that would upset someone, but after a while it was okay. This was a book that Sonny Barger[I don’t know if I spelt the name right] wrote and the Angels love and respect him an awful lot so they would not disrupt or make it difficult on set.
If you could portray an figure in Italian American history, who would it be. Why?
If I could play any Italian American I guess I would like to play a forties or fifties gangster. Not that all historical Italian Americans are gangsters, but I’m sure a couple were. I really liked the movie The Godfather. Seems that it would be fun.
If you could add any advice not already mentioned in the documentary Off The Boulevard, in which you were a major character, what would be some advice you would tell young actors trying to make their way into the biz?
I’m not that great with advice, but if I had to give some it would be love acting. It is difficult and if you have to do it make sure you love it. A lot of times I have to find that part in me that made me become an actor. Some one said “don’t be an actor unless you have to.” It sounds funny but it is[ kinda] the truth.
Learn more about what David has been up to at his Website. Also be sure to check out the wonderful documentary, Off The Boulevard, for a wonderful candid look into the world of independent filmmaking featuring David, and director Troy Duffy.