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‘Capone’ star Gino Cafarelli Delves Into the Film’s Take on Dementia

Gino Cafarelli discusses his career in Holywood so far and why the story of Capone's final days is an important one to tell.

Al Capone was the epitome of a 1920’s gangster. With the cigar in his mouth and a scar on his face, Capone was a brilliant, but deadly, individual. 

In Josh Trank’s movie Capone, we don’t see that man. Instead, we see a decrepit figure clinging to life as syphilis eats its way through his body. Capone is living his days in a haze of dementia, surrounded by family members who love him, but also wish he would remember where he hid his last 10 million dollars. 

This movie is dark. It lacks all of the glitz and glam you would find in a stereotypical gangster film. But it’s real. It’s the reality of what happens when people get old. It’s the reality that these men are not immortal. 

One of the movie’s stars, Gino Cafarelli, said, “It’s about the last year of [Capone’s] life, it wasn’t glorious, you know? It’s kind of like The Shining, it’s a horror movie.”

Cafarelli has been in the film industry for over 30 years. He’s stared in works like The Irishman, Dante’s World, Boardwalk Empire, and The Sopranos. This actor’s film/tv credits are a mile wide. He’s also stepped into the role of producer and director.

Gino Cafarelli Headshot

Before Cafarelli made it to the big screen, he was just a kid growing up in New York City dreaming of becoming an actor.  

“If I was driving my mom into the city for an appointment there would be all these film trucks around. I would always pull over, even with my mom in the car, to see what they were filming.”

One day, Cafarelli decided to approach one of the crew members on the set of Al Pacino’s Sea of Love to see how he could get involved. They told him to check the Hollywood Reporter for movies filming in New York and send letters inquiring about work. 

“I mailed out like fifty letters and the one movie that came back was [Anthony Minghella’s] Mr. Wonderful.

He worked on the set as a production assistant, bringing coffee and food to cast members or running important errands. Even though it was an unpaid internship, Cafarelli never forgot his first day on set. 

“I get there on my first day and who do I see doing a scene with Annabella Sciorra, James Gandolfini.”

Fast forward to 2020, we find Cafarelli starring alongside Tom Hardy, Matt Dillion, Katherine Narducci, and Linda Cardellini in Capone

He has known Josh Trank for years but the pair had fallen out of touch when Cafarelli moved back to New York. When the news broke about Tom Hardy starring in a movie about Al Capone, Cafarelli got a call from Josh who asked him if he wanted to be in the film. 

His character, whom he shares the same first name, is Capone’s right-hand man. He serves his boss faithfully even as he withers away before his eyes. Most of the time his character appears to be an even-tempered individual, but in Capone’s dementia induced flashbacks he’s anything but. 

“I am the total opposite of this person. I was always the class clown, more like a Kevin James King of Queens kind of guy, but I can play that tough-guy character.”

Cafarelli said his favorite scene would probably have to be the opening scene of the movie where the audience sees Capone and his family celebrating Thanksgiving together. It gives you a look into the man behind the myth while also setting up the movie’s ever-present question of whether or not the scene is really happening the way we first see it. 

“Josh did his homework, he basically said it’s like the movie has dementia.”

When asked what was next, Cafarelli spoke about two screenplays he’s working as well as his upcoming children’s book inspired by his daughter, Athena, and her hearing loss. 

“From Capone to a children’s book I kind of did a 180, but that’s just the kind of artist I am.”

You can catch the new movie on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Xfinity, and Youtube. 

 Sources: 

Feature Picture: Still From Capone Movie Trailer

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