Martin Scorsese: Vinyl director doesn't think people remember his films, says Bobby Cannavale
For Bobby Cannavale, it was a dream come true to work with Martin Scorsese on the pilot episode of HBO’s new music biz drama Vinyl (which premieres Sunday). “In my early ’20s, Martin Scorsese was it, was it,” says the actor, who plays a record company bigwig named Richie Finestra on the show. “You know, for an Italian-American kid from New Jersey, there’s a little piece [of you] that goes, ‘One day I’m going to work with him!’ And here it is now.”
Cannavale says his experience of collaborating with Scorsese — who, in addition to directing the two-hour pilot of Vinyl is one of the show’s executive producers — more than lived up to his expectations. But the actor reveals that the Taxi Driver and Goodfellas director has one strange idiosyncracy. It turns out that the famed filmmaker doesn’t think people are actually that familiar with his filmography.
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“The very first shot we did, it’s a long shot, a tracking camera,” says Cannavale. “I see the camera on the crane and the camera’s right in front of where I’m about to go sit. I’m like, ‘Holy s—, my first f—ing shot and the camera’s right up in my face.’ Marty comes over and he says, ‘Okay, I do this thing in my movies, I want you to look into the matte box.’ You’ve got the camera and the matte box is the thing around it. He’s done it for years, where people are talking to each other, and he’s in a close-up and it gives you this sense that they’re looking right at you, but in fact they’re just off the middle of the lense. [Marty says] ‘The thing I like to do is …’ Finally, I go, ‘I know! I know what it is! Look, I’ll do it right now!’ And he laughed so hard. He goes, ‘I forget sometimes.’
“When we were shooting in Richie’s apartment, which overlooks Central Park, we were waiting on a setup, and I was looking out the window. He came up and he said, ‘You see down there, that f—ing statue? That’s where Bob tried to assassinate the politician in Taxi Driver.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know! I know!’ ‘Oh, you knew that, didja?’ He would do things like that all the time.”
You can see the trailer for Vinyl below.
A version of this story appeared in Entertainment Weekly issue #1402, on newsstands now