Broadway's Glengarry Glen Ross Star Bobby Cannavale Talks Process, Past and Pacino

By Stuart Miller
16 Oct 2012

Bobby Cannavale
Bobby Cannavale
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Bobby Cannavale plays Glengarry Glen Ross' ultimate badass, Ricky Roma, a character who acts out. Cannavale can relate.


Some actors will go on at length (or even longer) about their process and how they approach a role. Not Bobby Cannavale.

This fall the two-time Tony nominee stars as sleazy real estate agent Ricky Roma in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, but ask about his preparation, and he says, "I'm not comfortable talking about what I do," allowing only that he is reading the script every day and reading about the era.

"It's not that long ago, but there was no Internet and no cell phones, so when you were dealing with someone you had to do it face to face," Cannavale says. "There's an art to that."

But don't think for a second that Cannavale, 42, is a reticent interviewee. Far from it. He's gregarious and funny and while not as full of four-letter words as a Mamet character, he certainly isn't censored. That shouldn't be surprising, considering that one of his Tony nods was for The Motherf**ker with the Hat. (The other was for Mauritius.)

He talks about what made him a self-described "sensitive" kid — his parents divorcing, the move to Florida, where his complexion (his mother is Cuban-American, his father Italian-American) got him bullied and called "Dorito" by the very white students he was suddenly surrounded by. "I never felt I was in the right place at the right time," he says. As a result, he adds, "I practically invented the term 'acting out' — I was a dramatic kid and was always getting kicked out of school for performing a skit or printing a 'zine that made fun of the faculty."

It's amazing that Cannavale can find the time to chat. In the last 18 months, in addition to Motherf**ker, he has appeared briefly but memorably on "Modern Family," "Nurse Jackie" (earning a Guest Actor Emmy nomination, an award he previously won on "Will & Grace") and "Boardwalk Empire." And he just finished filming a Woody Allen movie in San Francisco.


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