Review/Interview: OITNB star Nick Sandow talks ‘THE WANNABE’

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Presents

THE WANNABE

Respect isn’t earned. It’s stolen.

Written & Directed & Co-Starring Nick Sandow (Captuto on Orange is the New Black) Executive Produced by Academy Award Winner Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas) & Dean Devlin (Independence Day)

The wannanbe poster
No matter who we are, during our lives we have idolized a person. Perhaps in some cases, to a point that may border on the unhealthy. Orange Is The New Black star, Nick Sandow, has written and directed a new film where that idol is the infamous mobster John Gotti. Meet one man’s story of obsession and desperation to be somebody, in The Wannabe.
The wannabe still Patricia Arquette,Vincent Piazza

Based on true events and Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese and Dean Devlin, comes  a story about Thomas ( Vincent Piazza), a man obsessed with Mafia culture during the 1990s in New York City. When Thomas’s failed attempts to fix the trial of infamous mobster John Gotti gets him rejected by the people he idolizes most, he sets off on a drug infused crime spree with his girlfriend and long time mob groupie, Rose (Patricia Arquette), by brazenly robbing the local Mafia hangouts.

the-wannabe-Vincent Piazza

The film is perfectly paced by Sandow‘s writing. Coming up with the story after a friend sent him an article about the real life couple, The Wannabe is a “what might have happened” tale. Perfectly cast as Thomas, Vincent Piazza gives a fully fleshed out performance as a man who craves acceptance. When he doesn’t receive it, drugs lead to power hungry and dangerous life choices. Piazza’s time on Boardwalk Empire served him well in outlining his gangster look and the way he carried himself physically. We’re on the emotional roller coaster alongside him throughout. Patricia Arquette as Rose, is nothing less than brilliant. I am convinced that no matter what character you throw at her, she would own it. Her ease and presence on screen is unmatched, ever the scene stealer. Also, a Boardwalk alum, along with Sandow, it is clear that their chemistry as a trio makes the film as successful as it is.wannabe- Patrcia Arquette

I was privileged to interview Nick Sandow this week. Take a look at what he had to say about The Wannabe.


Liz: Firstly, Nick, thanks for taking the time to chat with me. The Wannabe is an incredibly successful story of audacious choices and personal delusion. Love the structure and style. So, congratulations on the film!

 Where is the line between truth and fiction with Thomas and Rose’s story?
Nick: The line is blurry. There were a handful of facts about a real couple that in the early nineties went around robbing mob social clubs. I was fascinated with how they got from A to Z. I just ran with the story and started to blend in real events that were going on at that time.
Liz: You write and direct this project. What was the biggest challenge in wearing both hats?
Nick: Writing and directing hats go very well together. I’ve directed things that I didn’t write and I have to work very hard to find my way into it. When you write it….. it’s yours…. you are already inside it. It has your DNA all over it so when it comes time to direct it I am attempting to take it further and trying to find another level of understanding with all the tools available.
Liz: Getting the script to Scorsese, wow. What was that moment like when he decided to come on board?
Nick: I couldn’t believe it. I still don’t. It’s hard to fathom. But what a gentle guiding spirit he is.
Liz: When writing, did you already have Vincent and Patricia in mind?
Nick:  I didn’t have them in mind at first but when they did come on board they were both very influential contributors to the rewriting process.
Liz: Was mob history an interest of yours prior to discovering this story?
Nick: Mob history wasn’t an interest. I grew up in a very similar neighborhood in the Bronx. So it was less an interest than a way of life.
Liz: How easy/difficult was it to shoot in the city for it being a period piece?
Nick: It was extremely difficult shooting a period piece in NYC on our budget in 20 days. It was all about finding the right locations. We had 35 location in 20 days. We were trying to find the 90s in the city and you really have to hunt for it. It’s there, you just have to get out into the boroughs. We shot in every one of them except Staten Island.
Liz: Have you ever been obsessed, for lack of a better word, with an individual in the way Thomas was?
Nick:  I’m not sure I was ever as obsessed as Thomas with one single person but I do very much identify with the desperation of wanting to be someone you are not. I’ve made a living out of doing that as an actor for 25 years. I understand where that obsession comes from… I had an outlet for it with acting.
Liz: You, as an actor, have a knack to for being cast as an authority figure, shall we say? Why do you think that is?
Nick: I’ve never really thought of this before. An authority figure….hmmmm. To be honest the first thing that pops into my head is that as a kid I always felt I needed to know the answers to survive. In many ways that served me and in many ways as a young person I feel it shut me down to learning as much as I could of. Maybe this is why? It’s only a guess. I really don’t know.
Liz: We are definitely excited for more Caputo action in Season 4 this June. We’re really rooting for something good to happen to this character! Outside of OITNB, what’s next for you?
Nick: Yes, there will be more Caputo in Season 4. It’s going to be a great season. I’m also excited about it.
Besides Orange, I am looking to shoot another film this spring. It’s a great script written by Frank Pugliese of House of Cards. It is the weekend in the life of a middle aged retired pro football player coming to grips with having Dimentia. I’m also working on a documentary about Kalief Browder who was wrongfully imprisoned for 3 years on Rikers Island from the age of 16 to 19.
Liz: That all sounds incredibly exciting! Thanks again for your time, Nick. ReelNewsDaily is looking forward to seeing more of you any way we can!

Starring:

Academy Award Winner Patricia Arquette (Boyhood),  Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos),Domenick Lombardozzi (The Wire), David Zayas (Dexter) & Nick Sandow (Orange Is The New Black)

The Wannabe is now playing in select theaters nationwide and is available on all VOD platforms.

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.