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Paul Sorvino has been doing theater, film or television work for over four decades. He’s done comedy, drama and has directed movies and plays. He has worked with many great film directors (Sidney Pollack, Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone) and has been in some of cinema’s best films. After talking to him for about 30 minutes, I walked away appreciating that he is not a movie “star.” He is simply a humble man who loves what he does.

But as Mr. Sorvino put it, “It’s about doing good work, entertaining people, giving them a nice two hour escape. Life is tough enough.”

Paul Booth: What made you want to do How Sweet It Is?

Paul Sorvino: The script was interesting. This idea is fresh. It was a different kind of mob boss. I also liked the idea of working with Joe Piscopo (Saturday Nigh Live in the ’80s). The character was multi-dimensional and had fun challenges with the comedic-musial aspects.

PB: Are there any differences for you in doing comedy or drama? Your acting process, does it change.

PS: For every project the prep is the same. For me it’s about finding the “soul” of the character and the dialect. Once you have the dialect (for me) the character can take off. This movie was about rhythm and timing with all of the scenes.

PB: So you mean like jazz music?

PS: Yes, that’s a good analogy. With comedy it’s all timing. Makes me think of George Burns quote, “Talk. If they laugh keep talking. If you talk and they don’t laugh, be quiet.”

PB: You’re most well known for mobster movies.

PS: It’s interesting, I’ve done over 100 projects and maybe eight or nine of them were Mobsters. I’ve done a lot of different roles. I’m thankful to have worked for so long. For actors, you must have incredible discipline to do good work.

PB: You seem to be very gracious and humble person.

PS: Everyone has an artistic side. I have mine, but it’s my side of the coin. No two people can bring the same thing. I’ve learned in life you have to be generous. Why would I want to take my work, set it over here and think it’s above the work of others? I like working with others or mentoring other actors, if they want my advice. We all do it differently, that’s part of the fun.

PB: You’ve worked with some of film’s greatest filmmakers like William Friedkin (The Exorcist) and Sindey Pollack (The Firm). How do you adapt to working with younger directors or directors who’s work you don’t know by hearing their name?

PS: Brian (the director of How Sweet It Is) is a nice guy. The key is, I don’t know Brian’s experience. He creates a good atmosphere for actors to make their choices. I think people forget (in my opinion) acting in film is a craft not artwork. The director is the artist. It’s one advantage of working with a union crew. The crew members are seasoned craftsmen. On an indie-film the crew may be doing something for the first time. I agree, everyone deserves a chance to learn, but occasionally it helps to have seasoned crew.

PB: Do you have a favorite scene in this movie?

PS: Yes, when we meet the character I play.

PB: I agree, that was when the film grabbed me. I thought, OK, here is something different.

PS: Exactly how many times do you see a godfather (mob boss) like this guy?

PB: Never. Is there anything you’d like the audience to know? Or something you’d like to tell them?

PS: Have fun. Enjoy this movie. Take the time to laugh. I’m lucky I found my calling in life (acting) and it’s to give people an experience. I know I’m not curing Cancer, but doctors were born to be doctors. I’m here to create work that gives them a good laugh or cry.

PB: Yes, my father is a big Law and Order fan and loved you on that show. Also, my father and I have great memories seeing The Firm. I was a teenager and still remember him and I watching it and discussing it.

PS: Thank you, that’s why I do it. I’m glad you connect memories with your dad to my work.

Interview by Paul Booth