Tuesday, April 16, 2013

'BPAC hosts conversation with actor Vincent D’Onofrio'

Article by Robert Cambria - April 15th, 2013

“I don’t think of myself as a stage actor. I am a film actor,” said Vincent D’Onofrio during the Screen Actors Guild Foundation Conversation series at Baruch College’s Engelman Recital Hall on a wet April 10 evening, to a sell-out audience.

Moderator Richard Ridge of BroadwayWorld.com had an easy manner of questioning that brought out the boyish quality that has made D’Onofrio an actor’s actor.

At 53, with cropped Brillo-like hair, a hint of stubble on his face and dressed in a well-tailored black suit and a white shirt, D’Onofrio’s six-foot-two, (6'4") large-boned frame is a reminder of the days when he was a bouncer at Studio 54, the Ritz and Hard Rock Cafe.

At times he worked as a bodyguard to Yul Brynner and Dan Ackroyd.

Appearances notwithstanding, the Brooklyn-born actor retains a boyish charm, which the long reach of the Soviet director Stanislavski’s influence has nurtured and continues to sustain during D’Onofrio’s 30-year career.

D’Onofrio is nothing but a man driven by acting. He feels comfortable before the camera and, on stage, too, and more importantly he has easy relationships with other actors.

Acting is a defining moment, yet he has come to realize things about his performance and his character of which he had not been completely conscious.

“Regardless of his own will he lives the part…not thinking of his own accord, subconsciously and intuitively,” wrote Stanislavski in the bible of method actors, An Actor Prepares.

“There is a warmth between legitimate [committee] actors,” D’Onofrio regarded with a broad smile. “I accept them as friend and peer.”

Still, acting is like a fine-grained whetstone on which to give a keen edge. 

D’Onofrio’s filmography is long and impressive. From his spectacular breakout role in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket in 1987 to Mystic Pizza, he has taken on the appearance of a chameleon, taking on the color and character of the role.

Even today the muses of acting have a powerful hold on him. For 2013 and 2014 he has six films in pre-production.

D’Onofrio turned down a part in The Sopranos, yet, he is not afraid of being ethnically typecast. On the other hand, he is best known as Detective Robert Goren in Dick Wolf’s Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

He amusingly described how he grew into his role during the series, 10 years on TV with worldwide syndication. Squid-like, he molded Goren’s quirks to heighten the drama of this crime series.

His pauses, his daring techniques of nailing the criminal, his Sherlock Holmes narcissism, his egocentricity and arrogance brought a fever-pitch tension to Goren, which won him and his character a huge following.

Nonetheless, the pull of the theater and the call of his buddy, the talented actor-director Ethan Hawke brought him back to the boards of off-Broadway.
“I would do anything for Ethan,” D’Onofrio admitted.

In a revival of Brecht’s heavy-handed Baal, D’Onofrio won critical acclaim, as he did in Hawke’s stage of Jonathan Marc Sherman’s Clive.

His disclaimer that he is simply a film actor notwithstanding, be it on TV, on the “silver screen” or Broadway, proves otherwise.

But there is another side of D’Onofrio. In his own way, he is a Renaissance man. He is a producer, a director, he sings and dances and can use his talent even as a magician and juggler, if they are called on.

D’Onofrio is a man driven by his own demons, so much so he had to take a leave from Law and Order owing to an exhausting work schedule.

Nowadays, he works as hard as ever, but manages his energies better. His daughter is a student at the The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, and he makes sure that he has more than enough time for his 13-year-old and 5-year-old sons.

Charming, urbane, witty, he is hardly midway in his multifaceted career.


Sandy said...

Great article. Not much more to say.5401

Sandy said...

Sorry, don't know how that number got in there!

Nantz said...

How weird is that? In this article I had to change numbers...he had Luka as being 10 and Vincent's height at 6'2"!

marian kaplan said...

Fast read, I began counting the errors. Gave up because I got bored.

vikeau said...

Like minds--while it was a glowing article I found it to be repeative. Additionally there was an atempt at a floral flair that just didn't get it. It was like the author cribbed the Wikepedia entry and tried to beef it up.

MrsClaire K said...

Guess we would have done better, eh? ;-)

Thanks for posting :-)

Sandy said...

Guess it wasn't so great after all. Maybe it's just because there hasn't been much written about him lately that I'll just take anything and run with it,LOL.

Nantz said...

Maybe it was done too quickly but a fact check could have been helpful