David della Rocco is well known from playing a character of the same name in the “Boondock Saints” series. Some might know him as the ‘Funny Man’ but if you are a fan of the “Boondock” series, you know Rocco. Movie Mikes had a chance to talk to David to discuss his role in the series and what he has planned for the future.
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Mike Gencarelli: David, tell us how you originally got the gig in “The Boondock Saints”?
David della Rocco: What’s interesting is that Troy happened to be working at the same bar that I was working at. I had a friend that owned the bar and I told him I needed a second job at the time. I just got done doing a play that took place in 1975. So I grew a beard and had long hair like a hippie. So I’m working at the bar and Troy is writing the script. He’d talk to me about it and one day he said “you know, your character…the way you are…” and I thought nothing about it. Plus, he loved my name. “della Rocco.” It’s a great last name. Everybody calls me “Rocco.” To make a long story short, he was writing it and he said, “Hey, you’re an actor. Why don’t you play the part?” So I said, “of course. But sell it first.” And of course he did.
Mike Gencarelli: Do you have any crazy stories from the set of the films? I’m sure you guys had a blast.
David della Rocco: You know we did. There was a lot of excitement there. We were living in this huge house. Before we went up there they told us we were all going to be living in this house together. Me, Troy, the producer, the film editor…and I was thinking “how can I take this serious? I’m here to do a film.” But the house was HUGE! It was three stories and we all had our own bedrooms. There was a lot of fun going on but Troy was working very hard. He had to be up at six every morning and work until nine at night. But there are a lot of fun stories. Like the first time Troy had to direct (Willem) DaFoe. He had to walk up and do his newscaster thing. He does it and says “I want to do it again.” And I look at Troy and say “I’d let him do it again. I like the first take but if he wants to do it again…(laughs). A lot of stuff like that was going on. I mean it was Troy’s first film. Heck, it was my first film. I’d done a lot of theatre. It was a good time but a lot of work as well.
Mike Gencarelli: Was there any improv done on the set? Or did you play the script pretty tight?
David della Rocco: You know what’s amazing, and a true compliment to the script, is that a lot of the “Boondock” fans…they look at the movie and see we’re drinking a lot and they ask “what did you guys do…get drunk and improv a lot?” But every single line was a written line. I remember the one scene where we blew up the cat…we do the scene, blow up the cat. Now we’re all looking at it. And Troy says, “when they say “wow I can’t believe that just happened,” wait a beat and say “Is it dead?” It wasn’t in the script. But that was basically about it.
MG: What was it like returning for “All Saints Day”?
DD: Well Troy wrote two films. And for a long time I was wondering and asking Troy if he needed me…I wanted to do it, of course. I was wondering if I was going to get cut out. So it was very nice of him, really, to give me that one scene in there. I knew I’d get up there to do it but I didn’t know if it would stay in the film. But it did. Troy wanted us to go to Fenway Park. He has a brother-in-law that’s a sportscaster in Boston. They were doing some construction on the field and he thought we could do it out of season. But because of the construction we couldn’t. So that was the scene that we were supposed to do. We found out on set that we couldn’t fly to Boston so we kind of made up that scene…the dream sequence. Me and Troy and the brothers wrote it just before we did it. So that’s interesting…you end up having it at the hockey rink…having it at the bar…having it on a skyscraper. And I’m afraid of heights. Even though it was very safe they put this harness around me. They had to because I was so close to the edge.
MG: Your story actually continues in the comic “Boondock Saints: The Lost Gig”, where you involved with that?
DD: No, not at all. Not at all. I didn’t even know it was going on. I just saw it a couple of weeks ago. I’d heard about it but I don’t know a lot about it. I know it’s about the brothers and Billy and all that and that it will keep going. I really had nothing to do with it.
MG: Can you believe the impact that these films have had on the fans?
DD: You know, it blows me away. It really does. Because it was a film that really came out at the wrong time. The tragedy at Columbine had just happened. And I hate to use that as an example. But they were telling people to take their kids to the movies and see stuff like “Legally Blonde.” We hardly had any theatrical release. Then Blockbuster bought it. And I figured it would just be one of those films that never gets seen. And then little by little it started getting recognized. I mean, the first time I got recognized I remarked that I had just met the only person in America that had seen the film. And then little by little I see it really begin to pick up steam. Because with any movie, it’s up to the fans. I mean, if only seven people had watched “The Godfather”…I mean, it’s a great film but what are you going to say? The fans are the ones that really made the film. It had nothing to do with marketing or publicity. It was just on the shelves of Blockbuster. It really did blow me away. It still does.
MG: If you can say one thing to your fans, what would it be?
DD: Thank you. I owe you. We went on a college tour all around the country. We got on a bus and went from L.A. to New York. We went to Boston. And what is amazing is that you have a film like “Titanic.” It had a great director, great advertising…it came out at the right time. But when you do a film like this, it’s the fans that make it go. It’s the word of mouth that’s the publicity. It’s really nice. Every time we have a function and there’s fans around I just really, really enjoy it. I’ll sign autographs and take pictures until my arm falls off. We have really, really great fans and I love them all. I owe them a lot.
MG: What do you do when you are not acting?
DD: I try to keep the acting going but I also have hobbies. I’m a guitarist. I’m a bad guitarist. I’m a music lover. I don’t have a lot of hobbies so I try to keep the acting going. It’s tough. I have another film coming out in October. But it’s really a difficult business. I should find a couple more hobbies. It’s not that acting is so time consuming, it’s just that there’s a lot of waiting and it just consumes your life. I mean I’ll look back six months and I’ll say “I could have gone to Jamaica for six months and it wouldn’t have mattered.” A lot of time it’s just waiting. Seeking things out…auditions…meeting people. I should start woodworking or something (laughs) Actually, Troy does that. He’s very good at building things. I mean, for a present he’ll make his mom or dad something really, really nice.
MG: Are you holding out for “Boondock 3”, any other plans for the future?
DD: You know, that’s a funny question, because Troy never even thought about it. But when we went on this tour that was the first question everybody was asking. The first few times Troy would answer that he had a couple other things he wanted to do but by the third gig he’s saying, “Yeah…there will be a ‘3‘. I already have some ideas.” But I don’t know. I think Troy is the type of person who would want me in Part 3. But I don’t know…do ghosts age? I know Troy does have a couple other projects so I’m not sure when it will be coming out. I would love to have it come out, of course, but I don’t know if I’ll be in it.
MG: Maybe they could do some flashback scenes like in the comic book?
DD: Well, that’s what I mean about getting older. The first film was done in 1998. That was 12 years ago. And if we have to wait another five….people will be asking me “what happened to your hair?” I mean I could wear a wig, but then they’d be asking why did my face fall?
MG: What else are you working on?
DD: My agent just got me this movie, we’re doing it in Cincinnati. It starts filming in October. My character’s nationality has been changed. I think he’s going to be more Mediterranean. Maybe Spanish or Italian. It’s a mafiosa thing. There’s a singer in it, it has music in it. The main character is an old country singer who has gotten out of jail. I’m the mafiosa guy he had to deal with. It’s called “The Dove.”
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