By Veronica Dudo
Boardwalk Empire has captivated viewers, taking them on a wild ride through history back to the bootlegging days on the boardwalk. The HBO hit TV series focuses on Atlantic City during the prohibition era and has been nominated for 18 Emmy Awards. Vincent Piazza, who portrays the real-life character Lucky Luciano, hosted a party at Dusk inside Caesars Casino in Atlantic City over the weekend.
A native New Yorker, Piazza first got his start in off-Broadway productions such as Baby Steps, A Match Made in Manhattan and Much Ado About Nothing; before appearing on TV shows like ‘The Sopranos,’ ‘Rescue Me,’ and ‘Law & Order.’ His film credits include ‘Stephanie Daley,’ ‘Rocket Science,’ ‘Assassination of a High School President,’ ‘Goodbye Baby,’ and ‘Polish Bar.’
Piazza spent time playing ice-hockey at Villanova University before a shoulder injury sidelined him. He has also made headlines stepping out with rumored girlfriend Ashlee Simpson. I caught up with the actor who talks about Boardwalk Empire, his time at Villanova and reveals what he thinks about Simpson.
V: Welcome back to Atlantic City. Do you feel a special bond with the resort since the show is about the town’s colorful past?
“Thank you, good to be back. Yeah, for me to come back here—we were actually just sitting out at dinner watching the boardwalk and people bustling and coming and going and you can’t help but think about the show.”
V: Boardwalk Empire has been nominated for 18 Emmy’s, congratulations! How does it feel to be a part of that accomplishment?
“It’s amazing to be a part of a winning team. We were talking about it and it’s just like you learn over time you’re a part of something bigger and to know that everyone deals with it (Boardwalk Empire) with such love and attention and detail; to be a part of it is just an honor—a huge honor.”
V: In Boardwalk Empire, you portray an historical figure Lucky Luciano; do you find it easier or harder playing a real-life character for fiction?
“It’s actually a lot harder. I never had the opportunity to play an historical figure so in some ways you feel like the executor of this person’s estate whether they were good or bad you’re like, ‘I really have to try and get it as true as possible,’ so you work with the writers and you work hard on the craft and getting it together and hopefully you can find some type of truthful place where it’s entertaining but yet conveying what this person’s life was like in some way.”
V: You began your career on the stage and have worked in television and film—do you have a preference?
“Theater is always my first love you never forget that, then TV and film is something that you’re constantly learning and stretching and trying different things—it’s a completely different medium but the principals are the same. I love to fiddle around with whatever I can.”
V: Do you have any upcoming projects?
“I’m doing a 9-11 tribute play—a series of readings—so I’m excited about that for the memory of the 10 year anniversary called, ‘110 stories’ which is an honor to be a part of that. We’ll see there’s a few things pending right now so I don’t want to put a hex on it.”
V: You played Ice-hockey for Villanova University any special memories of Philadelphia?
“Tremendous, tremendous—I loved it! We’d go into the city; we’d find our way into certain clubs and have a great time with people. I love Philly, Philly is a tough city but it’s a good city and I played hockey there and Bryn Mawr and I forget where Ice Land was but that was our rink but yeah we had a great time.”
V: How are you handling being in the spotlight?
“Well, a lot of people don’t know who I am; I’m fortunate enough to look a lot different physically then the guy I play on the show and previous roles so I kind of luckily blend in I feel like John Doe and I’m happy with that but whenever you do get in those circumstances where people want to know what you think and feel it’s a tricky thing—it’s not something you’re trained for.”
V: With that, people would like to know more about recent photos of you hanging out with a certain recording artist and actress (Ashlee Simpson) but you both have remained very quiet—anything you would like to share?
“Well, she’s a wonderful girl.”
BUZZ @ THE BEACH
For the July 22 weekend, Borgata welcomes Daniel Tosh, Elvis Costello and the Imposters along with TV host and comedian Howie Mandel. Dionne Warwick performs at the House of Blues inside Showboat Casino on Friday then Gin Blossoms perform Saturday. The Goo Goo Dolls with special guest Michelle Branch are appearing at the Tropicana while the Dark Star Orchestra will be at the Hilton.
Veronica Dudo is an award-winning journalist who has covered everything from breaking news to red carpet celebrity interviews. To view her bio, click here.