Josie DiVincenzo has acted in many TV and movie roles, including CSI: NY, WEEDS and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, and here we discuss her role as Josie in the Daredevil movie from 2003. Many thanks to Ms. DiVincenzo for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do the interview. Much appreciated!
Kuljit Mithra: In preparation for our interview, I noticed that you grew up in Buffalo. Being from Toronto myself, just wondering if you ever watched any Canadian shows that reached your airwaves there? I used to watch so many shows from WKBW and WUTV.
Josie DiVincenzo: So sorry to say I don't remember any from Canada, although I do remember if I wanted to see a show I missed, or if I wanted to see it earlier, I could catch it on a Canadian channel. One other thing I liked about the USA/Canadian TV thing: the dual national anthems when the networks signed off way back then: They'd play The Star Spangled Banner followed by Oh Canada. That was kinda cool.
Mithra: What was the intial interest in acting and did you study in Buffalo or go elsewhere?
DiVincenzo: Ever since I can remember, and I remember vividly a play my sister and I put on in our living room, with invited guests, I wanted to be an actress. First influences were Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar. I was in every grammar school and high school play, every year. I decided to go to SUNY Fredonia for Theatre, got my B.A., and then went to University of Southern California for my M.F.A. in Drama. From there I did many plays in Los Angeles and was picked up by an agent who came to one of the shows. From there, I was fortunate to start getting work on TV from co-starring to guest-starring roles and a few series regulars along the way. I continued to take class in L.A., studying with Larry Moss and others, and always did theatre to keep my instrument (and my sanity) in tact.
Mithra: You've appeared in many shows (WEEDS, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, CSI) but of course I wanted to ask you about your role in DAREDEVIL as Josie. I'm not sure if the bar in the movie is actually called "Josie's Bar", but it has a long history in the comic. What do you remember about auditioning for the role? How had the casting sheet described the character?
DiVincenzo: They described her as "Josie of Josie's Bar" and from what I can remember from the breakdown, she was tough, no nonsense, confronts the rapist and abuser of the waitress in her bar (played by Paul Ben-Victor.) An interesting note, when I went for my wardrobe fitting, the key wardrobe was surprised to see me: he told me he was imagining Drew Carey in a dress (when he was heavier) -- he then showed me the storyboard -- it was indeed a very heavy set "broad" with a pony tail... and there I stood, a bit different than that!
Mithra: In the movie, the bar scenes are only on-screen for about 10 minutes, but I'm sure it took a long time to film. Where were the bar scenes filmed and how long did it take?
DiVincenzo: The scenes I was in took a few days. I was used 3 days, I believe, and mainly because of the movement of the motorcycles and different angles. I wasn't in the rest of the bar scenes so I'm not sure, but from what I remember I think they took at least 2 weeks. Most of the background players were Hells Angels and they were interesting people, to say the least. I had some great conversations on those long days. Lots of stories from those guys.
Mithra: When you first saw Ben Affleck in the red leather costume, what did you honestly think? Was it "cool" or was it "what have I gotten myself into"?
DiVincenzo: Way cool! He looked awesome, and I got very excited to be a part of it.
Mithra: When you saw your own "costume", what did you honestly think?
DiVincenzo: Major WIN! Leather vest, short skirt and awesome motorcycle boots. The hair and makeup was very Barbarella, and the tats were great.
Mithra: In the original theatrical cut, your role was significantly reduced. That must have been disappointing for you when you saw that final product on screen. Did you understand the reasoning for the changes?
DiVincenzo: I was disappointed, but the director, Mark Steven Johnson, made it his business to let me know about the cuts, and to reassure me that I'd be in the director's cut. He was not happy about the cuts which seemed to be out of his hands. He was extremely complimentary on my work, and I was honored by that.
Mithra: In the director's cut, the whole bar fight scene has more flow to it and makes more sense in terms of editing. Would you agree with that?
DiVincenzo: I'd agree that the whole director's cut movie is a better movie, so yes, I'd agree.
Mithra: How was the mood on set? How was it to work with director Mark Steven Johnson? Was there any studio interference?
DiVincenzo: The mood on the set for the three days I was there was great. Mark was a very respectful, down to earth, friendly yet focused director. The background players and Paul Ben-Victor were all great to work with, and usually, like many sets, people are in a great mood because they're doing what they love. From what I understand there was plenty of studio interference in post. That's why the director's cut is so different.
Mithra: Now, DAREDEVIL has a love/hate relationship with comics fans... I know people who swear that it is one of the best comics movies ever made, and then I know people who think it is the worst movie they have ever experienced. I believe the director's cut is a good movie and it should have been the one that got released. What's your opinion?
DiVincenzo: I agree with you, the director's cut indeed is more faithful to the comic and yes, I believe it's a better movie. For many reasons I won't get into here.
Mithra: And finally, from your site I've noticed you've returned to Buffalo for a show. Can you briefly describe that and what other projects you will be working on in the near future?
DiVincenzo: I had the pleasure of playing Lady Macbeth in the acclaimed and now award winning all-female Macbeth in Shakespeare in Delaware Park in Buffalo, NY. It.s the 2nd largest free Shakespeare festival in the country outside of the one in Central Park, NY. I went on to do a role in Rock .n. Roll at the Kavinoky, another Buffalo professional theatre, and am now in a show in Rochester called You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up... a comedy about marriage. I'm working with an excellent agency in NYC and have some exciting auditions through them.
(c) 2012 Kuljit Mithra & Josie DiVincenzo
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