Vinyl: Why Olivia Wilde spat on Bobby Cannavale on the set of the HBO series
In HBO’s new, ’70s-era music biz drama Vinyl, Bobby Cannavale plays Richie Finestra, the now sober founder of record label American Century. Actually, make that formerly sober. In the two-hour, Martin Scorsese-directed pilot, which premieres Feb. 14, we see Finestra fall off the wagon in extreme, coke-snorting, alcohol-guzzling fashion. One person unimpressed by this turn of events is Finestra’s wife, a onetime New York scenester named Devon played by Olivia Wilde, who reacts to discovering her husband in a state of alcoholic disrepair by spitting a mouthful of booze in his face. So what? So, don’t be shocked if Cannavale’s surprise at receiving this face-wash seems particularly convincing. Turns out, the spit was a piece of improv on the part of Wilde.
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“Nobody knew she was going to do that,” says Cannavale. “Marty didn’t know, I didn’t know. She just did that. I’ve never had anybody spit in my face before. It was pretty f—ing intense! [Laughs] And Marty was thrilled. We didn’t have to shoot that one again. We just got it. It was really, really, really, really smart. Here, you’ve got a person, somebody who was in her element back in the day. When she and Richie meet, she’s part of the scene, she’s a performance artist, she hangs out at the Factory. She gives that all up to move out to Connecticut, to raise a family. And she gets the rug pulled out from under her. And, so, is she going to just sit there and take that? Or is she going to be proactive? And, in that one moment, in that scene, she shows you that she’s not what you think she’s gonna be. I think that that moment catapulted the writers to really write something different to maybe what they thought they would be writing.”
You can see a trailer for Vinyl, below.
A version of this story appeared in Entertainment Weekly issue #1402, on newsstands now