Lou Volpe: the Italian father in “Jersey Boys”
The Italian actor Lou Volpe started his career when he was a teenager. After moving to Massachusetts and starting a family, he left acting, because he had to provide for his family.
But time goes by, and his kids are grown and on their own, so Lou decided to return acting again. He wrote, directed and produced his romantic comedy “Divorced White Male”, based on his own life; and portrayed Victor, a partially deaf man, on “Every Secret Thing”.
Nowadays, he is a part of “Jersey Boys”, a Clint Eastwood movie, in which he portrays Anthony Castelluccio, Frankie Valli’s father. The musical biography follows the trials, tribulations, and triumph of four friends that form the iconic 1960’s band The Four Seasons, with a focus on frontman Frankie Valli, the small kid with the big falsetto.
In a conversation with The Outsider Argentina, Lou spoke about his acting path, his experience on working with Clint Eastwood and the desire of getting a role on a TV series.
How did you start acting?
I started acting a little in Italy as a teenager. Just some theater plays with a touring company that came through my town one summer.
How was it like returning to act again after leaving it to provide for your family?
I left acting when I moved to Massachusetts and then started a family. Then some years after I moved to LA I decided to resume acting, but I could never actually think of it as a career because I had to make sure I always had a full time job. I could never take an acting gig that would take me away from my family or my job for more than a few days. I could only take small jobs around L.A. Now my kids are grown and on their own, so about three years ago I decided to leave my full time job and resume my acting career. It’s been wonderful so far.
How was your experience writing, directing and producing your romantic comedy “Divorced White Male”?
It was great. I had written plays and scripts before, but Divorced White Male was semi-autobiographical and it only took me about four days to write. It just poured out of me. At that point I decided to take a big risk and make the movie. It was very challenging since I had to do pretty much everything myself, including financing, but I would not have done it any other way.
How was the challenge to portray a partially deaf man?
Every Secret Thing, the movie in which I played Victor a partially deaf man, was originally a stage play I wrote years earlier called “Tall And Powerful”. Several friends of mine loved the play and kept asking me when I was going to make it into a movie. So, I finally wrote the script. I really wanted to play the character of Victor because those roles are usually very hard to get. To play Victor I spoke to a couple of friends of mine who are partially deaf, and I learned to speak like them. One of those friends actually let me borrow his hearing aid for the movie. The role was challenging, but I loved doing it.
How did you get the opportunity of being on “Jersey Boys”?
My agent submitted me for the role. I auditioned with several other actors and about a month later my agent called me and said I had the part. I jumped out of my chair and screamed! It was unbelievable. Clint Eastwood had chosen me out of all the other actors to play Frankie Valli’s father. I was on cloud nine.
What can you tell us about your character Anthony Castelluccio?
From my research, mostly from Frankie Valli’s autobiography, I learned that Anthony was a normal hard-working Italian man. He was a barber at first, then at some point he went to work in a factory. Basically I think he was the kind of man that just wanted to provide for his family and give them a better future than the one he had. Pretty much what every parent wants for their children.
How can you describe his relationship with his son Frank Valli?
I think it was a normal father-son relationship. Anthony was not against Frankie’s choice to go into the music industry, he just wanted to make sure that Frankie would be able to make a good living at it.
What was the response to the film and the repercussions for your career?
I think the response has been pretty good. Personally, I love the movie. Not because I’m in it, but because it’s a good story told very well. I think Clint did a great job and so did everyone else involved. For me, I’ve been getting a lot of attention for my portrayal of Frankie’s father, but mostly for just being in a Clint Eastwood movie. Those roles are just not easy to get. My career hasn’t actually changed very much yet, but it is looking up. Things just don’t move that quickly, but I’m a very patient man. At this point I just feel very blessed to have been part of the movie and I’ve been having a great time.
Which other projects do you have for this year?
Well I just got a small role in another movie, but what I really hope is to get on a TV series. That would be a blast. I also have some projects of my own that I’m working on. I have a sitcom pilot that I wrote and hope to get interest for, and a western comedy movie script that I’m trying to finish.