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'White Lotus' star Michael Imperioli on joining season 2: 'It's like you're watching a new show, but it's already a hit'

Landing a major role on one of the most revered TV shows in history is the ultimate double-edged sword in entertainment, especially if that character is a member of the Italian Mob. Michael Imperioli should know this better than anyone, as most people will immediately recognize him as Christopher Moltisanti from The Sopranos

One of the funniest characters. But instead of letting yourself be in In the years since the show ended, Imperioli has kept busy in order to buy some time for himself. You’ll see him in an indie movie and then maybe an episode of Cybercrime Proceedings here, SAG Award nominated character Miami Nights There – but the next big character in a TV show is going to have to be pretty special. He figured it out and played broken, sex-addicted Dominic in season 2 of HBO’s The White Lotus” Dom” Di Grasso

. Imperioli and stars including Jennifer Coolidge’s first-season Emmy-winning role, F. Murray Abraham and Aubrey Plaza lineup, they were tasked with trying something out of the ordinary: setting the second season of the TV show in the same luxurious, all-encompassing resort world as the first, but using almost entirely new characters in different locations and in different stories line-up.

A well-known project with a strong New Jersey accent and a successful track record not involving mafia members, White Lotus: Sicily Gives him a chance to do something different for his resume, and a chance for some viewers to see actors they know in a particular role in a new way. But for Imperioli, it’s work. When he’s not acting, he’s busy doing a few things—from writing novels and screenplays to playing in his band, Zopa. As he told THR, playing around with different art mediums isn’t something he does out of boredom, but more of an opportunity for him to always have an outlet Opportunities for unlimited creativity.

you did between

So many The Sopranos and

White Lotus . You wrote a novel, you play a lot in your band, you podcast. Do you feel the need to always do something creative, or do you prefer to expand your horizons and constantly redefine yourself?

I started playing music at the same time as I started studying acting, and soon after I started writing. It took me a long time to really find any kind of voice or any kind of proficiency as a writer because I didn’t really research it. I did study acting for a long time, and stuff like making plays and directing plays, in my early days 15s. I don’t think it’s trying some new format because all this stuff has been with me. But they are always just means of creative expression. For someone like me, it’s important to have different creative expressions because when you’re acting you’re sitting there waiting for the next episode or movie to cast you.

I think you are also careful not to be classified as an actor.

When you’re famous, people are very suspicious, especially in areas like television. A lot of people think, “Oh, now you’ve got commercial success, so you’re using it to try other things.” But I was in the early days of downtown NYC 48 emerged in the 1990s, when multidisciplinary artists were the norm. A cross-pollination between punk rock and experimental theatre, film and painting – very fluid. It does sound pretentious to call yourself a multidisciplinary artist when you have any kind of commercial success, especially in something like TV, but people do it all the time. (laughs.)

I appreciate your character In two The Sopranos and From left: F. Murray Abraham, Eleonora Romandini and Michael Imperioli on The White Lotus: Sicily white Lotus is that you work very well with others. Do you enjoy working with ensemble actors?

Collaboration has always been very important to me, especially when I can stuff when people work together. My wife and I built a theater and we opened the theater at 1402, Studio Dante where It’s not really a company — we do run a theater, but it actually becomes [a company]. Over the years we have worked with many colleagues in film, theater and television. For me, it’s not just about collaborating with colleagues. I feel like I started with “75” Part of the scene was in New York when I started going to acting schools, some of which I still work with today. And also related to a certain lineage in New York. I really appreciate the collaborative spirit when everyone is working on one thing.

From left: F. Murray Abraham, Eleonora Romandini and Michael Imperioli on The White Lotus: Sicily

From left: F. Murray Abraham, Eleonora Romandini and Michael Imperioli on The White Lotus: Sicily

From left: F. Murray Abraham, Eleonora Romandini and Michael Imperioli at The White Lotus: Sicily Fabio Lovino/Courtesy HBO

F. Murray Abraham at From left: F. Murray Abraham, Eleonora Romandini and Michael Imperioli on The White Lotus: Sicily

The White Lotus, I can’t get over the fact that I’ve been thinking, “They really feel like they can be father and son.” How did you two do it?

Murray and I are really good friends for a number of reasons I think. We share a mutual appreciation for what we do, but he’s a very different actor than I am. He brings a certain drama to his work, but it’s grounded in so much truth that magic happens. It’s really hard to explain, but working opposite him is very profound. And by “dramatic” I don’t mean “contrived” or anything else. If you do a lot of film and good TV acting, you really get used to keeping things under control. Eyes are the most important thing at the end of the day, especially on TV, because there will always be close-ups, more important than filmmaking. And theatrical performance is closely related to the whole instrument. When I was with Murray, my hotel room was right below him and I could hear him doing vocal exercises every day. Even though he has COVID. We had it at the same time and I was dying of a sore throat. I can’t even speak. I heard Murray singing. He is 80 years old and doing it every day during COVID Do. He just really embodies someone who has dedicated his life to art and loves and respects it.

You are now at From left: F. Murray Abraham, Eleonora Romandini and Michael Imperioli on The White Lotus: SicilyThe SopranosAnother inFrom left: F. Murray Abraham, Eleonora Romandini and Michael Imperioli on The White Lotus: SicilyThe White Lotus. How do these characters help you better understand your own background as an Italian-American? From left: F. Murray Abraham, Eleonora Romandini and Michael Imperioli on The White Lotus: Sicily

I’m nearby15 When I first went to Italy, I went to Rome, my family’s hometown. It was a very profound experience – I was literally overwhelmed. I burst into tears and I really don’t know why. Some things really do look familiar. Sounds, people’s voices, faces, smells, light. Yet it is strange—it is both familiar and strange. I’ve never had that experience. I’ve been to other different countries, but I’ve always been a foreigner. I’m a foreigner in Italy but have a strong connection to it.

With White Lotus From left: F. Murray Abraham, Eleonora Romandini and Michael Imperioli on The White Lotus: Sicily

, you are about to star in the most popular The second season of one of the critically acclaimed films. What is the biggest challenge?

It’s a win-win situation because it’s like you’re on a new show, but it’s already popular Welcome. This is a very rare opportunity and situation that I have never encountered before. You might join a popular show in its third season or join as a new cast member. But it’s very specific, because you don’t even have to watch season one to know what happened in season two. The challenge is just to live up to what they did in season one. I didn’t even see the first season until after the audition.

Writer/Director Mike White did to How Can You Live Up To What The Cast Of The First Season Did?

I think what he cares about is making it real and honest. We really see eye to eye on this character, [and] talking about addiction is where we find common ground. When I got to Italy, I had read all the scripts and made notes, there were very few suggestions, some of which didn’t have any ego issues, and nothing extensive went into the script. It’s not about that. But I think there are a few small pieces that could be useful, and he’s perfectly willing to incorporate them if he likes them.

I think the [first season] series worked because the actors played the characters so realistically, they weren’t caricatures. Even the character Sean played by Jack Lacey — everybody knows someone like that. But he played it so authentically. A specific and honest description of someone can easily be dismissed as a stereotype. When I started watching the show, I was thinking at first, “is this going to be some cynical statement about how bad the rich are, how bad the world is, and everything is shit?” Absolutely not . [White] really showed us a lot of dimension and humanity and compassion for all of us. I found this very inspiring.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

This story first appeared in the November stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, 2021 click here to subscribe .

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