Tommy DiGrassi – not a gay stereotype (just your typical gay mob fixer)

After our “sneak peek of things to come” screening at ITVFest this past week, I had a chance to talk with Nick Salamone about his role as co-writer and co-star with Annunziata Gianzero. In the show, Nick plays Tommy DiGrassi – a gay private investigator and sometime mob fixer. Nick is gay, but is often cast as a straight character for film, television and theatre. To him, “it’s never about sexual orientation, it’s always about what makes characters tick.” And in this case, writing a gay character that he will portray himself, “was no different than writing any other character to play or otherwise.” Here’s more of what Nick had to say about Battery Park and his role as Tommy Digrassi:

What do you think of Tommy DiGrassi as a ‘person’?
I HAVE TREMENDOUS FEELING FOR HIM.  FOR HOW SHUT DOWN HE IS. HOW CLOSED OFF HE IS.  I SEE PEOPLE LIKE HIM.  I COULD HAVE BEEN HIM.  PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHO THEY MIGHT BE IF THEIR LIVES HAD TAKEN JUST A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT TURN.  AS TENNESSEE WILLIAMS SAID, “MOST PEOPLE ARE MEMBERS OF A TRIBE, THE WALKING WOUNDED.”  WE TRY NOT TO SEE THAT IN OTHER PEOPLE IN REAL LIFE CUZ IT’S TOO HARD, BUT I THINK WE (CERTAINLY I AM) ARE DRAWN TO THEM ON THE STAGE AND IN FILM.
Is he atypical for a gay person? Or does he play against the stereotypes of gay characters we see typically in film/tv?
OH GOD I HOPE HE IS ATYPICAL.  I COULD GO MY WHOLE LIFE AND NEVER SEE ANOTHER “TYPICAL” GAY PERSON ON THE STAGE OR SCREEN AND BE THE BETTER FOR IT.  HE DOES HAVE A CERTAIN SEXUAL APPETITE, BUT — WITH A NOD TO MR. FREUD — THAT’S THE LIFE FORCE, BABY, IN ALL OF US, WHETHER WE DENY IT OR NOT.  AND LORD KNOWS BATTERY PARK IS ABOUT SEX AND DEATH AND THE URGES TOWARD BOTH.
Is there any kind of message behind his character or are you and Annunziata just telling a good cop show with characters people might think of as extreme or outliers?
OH BOY, I CERTAINLY THINK WE ARE TRYING TO TELL A GOOD STORY — CUZ IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STORY TELLING, AND PART OF THAT STORY TELLING IS ABOUT THE INNER LIFE OF THESE CHARACTERS, HOW THEY PARALLEL ONE ANOTHER, HOW THEY ARE DRIVEN IN THEIR BONES BY SIMILAR THINGS, HOW ALIKE THEY ARE, HOW MUCH THEY NEED, BECAUSE THEY HAVE HAD TO DEAL WITH SO MUCH EMPTINESS FOR SO MUCH OF THEIR LIVES.
Where is Battery Park going? What have you and Annunziata got in store for us?
WE ARE PRETTY PASSIONATE PEOPLE — I THINK WE WANT TO PUSH THIS AS FAR AS IT CAN GO — OH JEEZ EVEN AS I WRITE THAT I AM TREMBLING IN ME BOOTS A LITTLE.
Next, I’ll grab a chance to talk with Annunziata who plays the role of Detective Andy Temple and co-writes with Nick and see if I can get some more details on where the fucked up characters in Battery Park are headed.
From the Desk of the Director:
Mark Wilkinson

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