Boardwalk Empire’s Vincent Piazza

Last night, a favorite show of ours – Boardwalk Empire – premiered its final season. Besides the fact that we’re victims of ‘Golden Age Thinking’ where we believe fashion, food and everything else was more enticing in an earlier time period (aka the roaring twenties, the time the show’s set in), we’re also obsessed with the cast of the show. More specifically, Vincent Piazza, the no-nonsense spitfire that plays Lucky Luciano.

We won’t spoil it, but this season’s going to be big for Piazza, a season that’s come right after his recent big role in Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys as Tommy DeVito. In other words, Piazza’s tearing it up out there in Hollywood, so we couldn’t help but hang with him at his favorite New York spot Via Emilia, where he showed us a thing or two in the kitchen…

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From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

Thanksgiving. Traditional. Simple.

One thing you’ve noticed about food and drink during prohibition times while playing Lucky Luciano on Boardwalk Empire

A lot of times in my Boardwalk scenes, I was drinking iced tea for scotch, and there were racks of lamb and lobster; it all looked delicious. Not exactly the authentic prohibition examples you may be looking for. Hot pastrami on rye with cream soda is amazing, and I did find out that it was something the real Luciano loved and missed most during his Italian exile in the later years.

What’s one thing you can tell us to expect from Boardwalk Empire’s final season?

Each of the final eight episodes feels like a finale.

What’s been your best memory on the set of the show?

Over five years working in such an intense environment, it was always a relief when we would find levity. We had so many laughs on that set. Hard to pick just one!

Has Martin Scorsese given you advice? What’s the best piece of advice from him thus far?

I got to work with Mr. Scorsese on the pilot, and he is an incredibly generous man. It wasn’t straight advice per se, but he had a wonderful way of sharing: Ideas, stories, inspiration. He definitely made me want to pursue the work in a deeper way. He also inspired me to take in many classic Italian films.

Best piece of advice from Clint Eastwood on the set of Jersey Boys…

Another man that led so much by actions. Just getting to share time and space with men like Mr. Eastwood and Mr. Scorsese is a master class in and of itself.

A few surprising things about your cast members…

They’re all much nicer than the characters they get to depict on the show!

Have you had a favorite scene you’ve done? What was it?

A favorite is probably the sit-down in Season 3 with Joe “the Boss” Masseria, played by Ivo Nandi. He was so much fun to work with. And, anytime I got to work with Michael Stuhlbarg; we would usually get to the work in a fun way.

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How do you prepare for your role?

It really all depends on the role. There are so many questions to ask in the process (who, what, why, where, when, and how). Then I have to determine what I have in common with the character versus what I don’t and need to work for.

What are your pre and post shoot routines?

The prep changes with what each job requires, but I usually reward myself with a nice sea salt bath and massage when I finish a project.

What’s always in your on-set trailer fridge?

Either bottled water or a strange smell. Those things get around. And, it’s an optimistic question because there have been plenty of times when there is no fridge.

Has the show evolved your style? How so?

So much so! I’m an absolute pain in the ass when I get fitted for clothes. The wardrobe on Boardwalk is tailored so specifically, and it really makes a difference. So now, I’m a tougher customer anytime I go shopping for some new clothes.

What’s one thing you think every man should own?

One custom tailored suit.

How do you always start your day on a good note?

It usually carries over from what kind of sleep I was able to get, but definitely with a stretch and some coffee. Extra time to read or go for a walk is also a great gift when that happens. If I’m eating breakfast while I’m walking down the street, I’m likely in for a hectic day.

Words to act by… 

Be there.

What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?

New York City has anything and everything, although I think Los Angeles has better sushi and tacos. Outside of that, when I travel, I love finding some interesting local spots. I feel spoiled that I’m able to try so much incredible food from all over.

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*Vincent Piazza, photographed at Via Emilia in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann