No biz like show biz for Bristol man
He may not have the name recognition as some of Hollywood’s superstars, but Bristol’s Pat D’Alessio has quite the list of film credits to his name.
In his film career, the Bristol man has shared the big screen with such film legends as Denzel Washington, Robert Duval and Robert Downey, Jr. And while he doesn’t necessarily think he’ll ever be a big name movie star, the bit parts he gets on big – and low – budget films is enough to supplement his retirement and do what he enjoys doing.
“I always had an interest in acting, but never pursued it,” he said.
After a friend worked as an extra when the movie “Meet Joe Black” was filmed in Rhode Island, he said "I’m going to try this out." After contacting an acting agency and providing them with photos and some biographical information, it didn’t take long for Mr. D’Alessio to get a phone call.
“To my surprise I got to do a student film,” he said of his debut. Although it was a non-speaking role, it was something he could add to his resume. He also met people who gave him advice on how to succeed in the industry.
The movie magic can involve long days of waiting around until you are called in for a scene, Mr. D’Alession said. But just being on a movie set is a thrill for him.
“To see a film being made and to actually participate is a dream come true. It’s the best part-time job anyone could have,” he said.
Most of the films he chooses are done locally, with New England attracting more and more production crews to the area. Earlier this spring Mr. D’Alessio accepted a role in a science-fiction flick about a DNA mutation that left people zombie-like. Mr. D’Alessio’s character leads the agency task force assigned to identify the source of the mutation (spoiler alert: It’s in the water supply) and eradicate it.
Much of the film was shot in Providence where Mr. D’Alessio was filmed on locations such as India Point Park, the hurricane barrier and the State House.
In films that feature high profile celebrities, protocol dictates that other actors aren’t to disturb the stars.
“We’re prepped by the assistant director not to bother the actors,” Mr. D’Alessio said.
But that doesn’t mean the stars can’t talk to them.
“Denzel Washington actually came down to where the actors were. We talked about his films,” he said.
Likewise, Mr. D’Alessio enjoyed his time on the set with Billy Bob Thornton. “He had us all in stitches,” he said.
The life of a movie actor isn’t all glamorous, Mr. D’Alession pointed out. “You don’t make a lot of money, but you get fed well and you have a lot of laughs. You have to pay your dues,” he said.
Mr. D’Alessio doesn’t expect to become a major star from the roles that he plays, but he continually tries to perfect his art despite not taking acting lessons.
“I watch how actors move, how they deliver their lines, and their facial expressions,” he said.
So far, he’s made it in six films with more to come.
“Availability and reliability is the best thing you can do,” he said of getting a call back.
In a film called “The Makeover,” a Hallmark movie in which he had his first speaking role, Mr. D’Alessio was used in three different scenes.
“With a change of wardrobe, nobody notices,” he said. “It’s fascinating. It’s movie magic.”
While Mr. D’Alessio continues to enjoy acting whether or not the "big break" finally comes, he hopes to one day appear in his favorite genre — a James Bond movie.
“That would be a dream come true for me,” he said.