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New York Minute

Alex Witchel profiled Bobby Cannavale in the magazine a few days ago:

Cannavale turned serious. “I don’t come from an intellectual family,” he said. “I fly them in for the opening night of whatever show I’m in, and it’s great, they love me, they’re proud of me.” He paused. “But we don’t ever talk about what the play is about. So I was always in search of people I could talk to. I guess you could pull apart psychologically why it’s always a guy this happens with. My father-in-law” — the director Sidney Lumet — “was like a dad to me, and we talked about this art form ad nauseam.”

That was another way his life changed because of “The Normal Heart.” Jenny Lumet saw the closing performance. “We met in July, got married in December and had Jake in May,” he said. “He was born two days before my 25th birthday.” The marriage lasted nearly a decade, though his relationship with her father lasted until his death, in 2011. Among the films Lumet directed were “Serpico” and “Dog Day Afternoon,” both starring Pacino. For years, before a performance, Cannavale would psych himself up by saying, “Pacino’s coming tonight.”

It does boggle the mind to think of this Jersey boy suddenly hanging out with Sidney Lumet. Not to mention Jenny’s maternal grandmother, Lena Horne. “Sidney was the most down-to-earth guy you could meet,” Cannavale said. “He loved me because I didn’t have anything and he came from nothing. By the way, I didn’t know who she was,” he said of Horne. “But I think she liked that I was a little dirty.” He smiled. “She, like Sidney, would love to say around her friends, ‘Bobby, tell that story,’ and I’d tell some story they would all be charmed by.” His voice held no edge. “Nothing is more charming than poor folks.” He leaned back into the couch. “They were all great, but it was Sidney, that guy,” he said quietly. “To the end, he was like a dad to me.”


1 Matt Blankman   ~  Apr 2, 2013 11:45 am

Cool, I will give it a read. Definitely a fan of Cannavale's movie and TV work - he's always capable of surprising you.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 2, 2013 12:58 pm

It's not a long piece but she's always solid. I like him, too, though I haven't seen him in too much.

3 Matt Blankman   ~  Apr 2, 2013 1:11 pm

[2] He stole the most recent season of Boardwalk Empire.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 2, 2013 1:31 pm

I liked him in The Station Agent and Win/Win.

5 Matt Blankman   ~  Apr 2, 2013 2:33 pm

[4] Yeah, I thought he really made the most out of that part in Win/Win. It was a supporting part, but he gave that guy a lot of dimensions.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 2, 2013 2:42 pm

5) Right. He wasn't just the angry ex-husband. Those roles showed that he's got a light touch and can play comedy. Sometimes watching him in BOARDWALK I thought he might just be a guy who plays the heavy, not one-note, just limited. But he's got more range than that.

7 Matt Blankman   ~  Apr 2, 2013 3:19 pm

[6] Yeah, but even as a heavy, that character on Boardwalk kept throwing you off guard, right up until the very end.

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