Interview with David Deluise

David Deluise is the son of legendary comedian Dom Deluise. He is currently starring in Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place”. The show is currently finishing its third season and already has a TV movie in the bag. Movie Mikes had the chance to talk to David about growing up in the business, how he likes working on “Wizards” and what’s coming up next for this talented actor.

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Mike Gencarelli: How was it growing up surrounded by family members in the movie business, did you always want to go into that career?
David Deluise: I was around the business a lot. We would go to the sets and visit my dad on “The Cannonball Run”. There was a lot of watching what my parents did and what my dad did was fun and great. I did do a TV movie with my dad when I was in sixth grade. What my dad always said to me and my brothers was you can always be in this business but you can only have a childhood once. He encouraged us to be kids before we entered the business. Evenings around my house, my dad would always have people over like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Anne Bancroft. They were always hanging out and I always made it a point to make these people laugh. When you make Mel Brooks laugh you are doing something good. There was one time [laughs] when Mel came over and my dad said “I will give you a dollar if you can fart on cue”. He counted…1…2…and I farted and Mel laughed so hard. I was in training at a young age if I knew it or not.

Mike Gencarelli: What has it been like working with your family on many projects, such as the film “Happy” and the “CSI” franchise?
David Deluise: We all did “Seaquest” together. We all did a movie that my brother Michael produced and directed and my brother Peter starred in and wrote called “Between the Sheets”. We also did an episode of “3rd Rock from the Sun”. It is always great and fun [laughs]. It is funny because you say “My brother got a job, maybe I will get a job”. Michael was on “Gilmore Girls” and I played his brother on that for two episodes. My brother Peter writes, produces and directs “Stargate” TV series and I was able to do four or five episodes of that. You are never guaranteed a job if your brother gets a job, but it doesn’t hurt.

Mike Gencarelli: You currently play the dad, Jerry Russo, in “Wizards of Waverly Place”, do you enjoying working on the show?
David Deluise: I love it. It is a dream job. Everyone is really fun to work with and great. I actually directed three episodes, so I had to make friends with all the technicians and technical aspects of the show. There are not a lot of vehicle places rather than Disney that you are given that kind of opportunity. Prior to this, I have never directed before, but thanks to the show I was able to. That was great. Bottom-line is, I have never said this to anybody I was debating whether I was doing the show or not. I was unsure. I called my brother Peter and he said “Ok all of that aside do you like the part” and I said “Yeah, it was written for me, a crazy kooky dad that teaches his kids how to properly use magic, it’s perfect”. He said “I think you just answered your question”. It was the beginning of the pilot season and I didn’t know if I wanted to do a Disney Channel show but I am very very glad that I ended up doing the show!

MG: You mentioned you directed three episodes of “Wizards”, how did you enjoy acting and directing?
DD: I found it fun and challenging. What was hard is to be the actor. You have three or four scenes while you are rehearsing other scenes. I would go and watch while they were rehearsing other stuff. As the director you are in charge, you make decisions and sometimes it is a little overwhelming but you are in every aspect of what is going on. What color do you want this? What size do you want that? When should people come in? You can add some jokes and try and make it better. It’s fun. I really had a good time and I hope I can do more.

MG: What is it like working with such a great cast?
DD: Everyone is so fun. The kids are very professional. Selena (Gomez) I have no idea how, at 14 when we started, she had such impeccable timing as a comedian. That just happens you can’t teach that. She did admit to me that she has watched every episode of “Friends”. She has a lot of lines and she learns her lines quickly. She is always on her game. We do a thing at the end of every episode with the audience. They come down and we all take pictures with everyone and sign autographs. In the beginning I was like [laughs] there is no way this is going to last but every single episode with the exception of two we have done that.

MG: How was it working on the “Wizards” movie versus the TV series?
DD: There were new people that we were working with. We have been doing our characters for sometime now and we kind of know how we are going to act. We want to keep it through-line. There was a lot of “Yeah David, that’s the TV show and this is the movie” and I was like “How is it different”? I think there was a little bit of us fighting for the integrity of the characters. I really think the movie ended up being great. In the movie, Selena makes a wish that comes true, “I wish my parents had never met” and then I never had given up my powers. I was a single man and I had magic. So I got to do magic in the movie which was great.

MG: Do you have a favorite episode?
DD: There are so many that I like. If I would have to pick out one it would be the quinceañera episode. Selena and I have this moment where it is the father/daughter dance. It was just really sweet. A lot of times on sitcoms you don’t get those sweet moments.

MG: What is in store for the future of the show? Is there a Season 4 planned?
DD: I think we are going to do a fourth season and we are going to do another TV movie. It is being discussed, there is nothing set in stone but I think that would wrap it up. Selena is in Europe doing a movie right now. David Henrie and everyone else is ready to go on and do their other projects. The fourth season and the movie would mean I have a job for the next year so I am happy about that.

MG: What do you have planned in the future besides “Wizards”?
DD: Well I am toying with and working with a friend of mine on writing a book. We did a signing in NY and all these kids came up to me and said “I wish you were my dad”. I was like maybe I kind of talk to the kids and the tweens and in a fun anecdotal way, I can explain to them where their parents are coming from. I am working on that. I just did a spoof movie but I can not talk about it at all so I can’t give anymore details. I might also be doing another movie before we start shooting “Wizards” again. Got a lot of great things coming up.

Click here to purchase David’s movies


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