Interview: RHONJ Dolores Catania: On Her Second Acting Role as A Heartbroken Mother in Brad Forenza's Breaking Points Premiering at Ridgewood Guild Film Festival
By Suzanne Ordas Curry
Interview with Real Housewife of New Jersey Dolores Catania, on her latest role in the NJ based-movie Breaking Points by Brad Forenza and how she got there,
On Being A Tomboy and Why she Doesn't
Consider Herself a TV kid.
I wasn't a TV person growing up. we watched a lot of documentaries or old movies. Growing up, there wasn't a lot of time. I I wasn't a TV kid growing up. I'm a tomboy I played outside a lot. I was either playing outside or when I got old enough I was working after school. I was also playing with the boys, I played a lot of football!
When I was older, I waitressed after school, I waitressed summers. There wasn't a lot of TV watching...I grew up in a small house with a lot of kids. It wasn't quiet enough to watch TV!
But I did watch the Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family.
On How She Got Into Acting... You Learn From Your Kids
Here's the thing, you know we always say we learn from our kids. My son came home from football practice one day. He went to Don Bosco Prep, and you know Don Bosco is known for its football, and it's a grueling program. And I used to watch the kids, and all the kids were growing bigger than my son he was a little guy. But if you look at him now he's a big guy, actually a body builder.
So he came home one day, and he's like, you know mom, I want to be an actor. And I was like the Italian mother, you know, like saying "get the hell out of here don't even talk to me about that just go do your homework and take out the garbage." That's what we said back then.
But I was engaged to a Jewish doctor at the time, he was a gentleman, he was so good with the kids, and he said to me I should encourage Frankie. He said to him that "If you want to be an actor then you'll be the best actor there ever was." And I learned a lot about parenting from that. I learned to let them follow their dreams. In my world that I was in it was not that it was unattainable but I just didn't know about the acting world, I only knew about the A-list. That's all what I was familiar with, the stuff in Hollywood.
So this guy took him under wings, and said he should experience it, it was so different from the Italian upbringing I had. And I liked the two different parenting styles. Someday I want to write a book about that, along with being divorced.
Bragging Rights Turns into A Disney Role
So this doctor starts showing off Frankie's picture, you know like kinda bragging, and one guy he shows it to says, "Wow, he's a good looking kid, let's put him in a movie. My friend is Roland Blanchard, a top Disney star, he's producing a movie." So after that I had to break it to my husband that he didn't want to play football. I had the Jewish doctor saying he wants to be an actor and the Italian dad saying what do you mean he wants to be an actor?
Off to LA LA Land
So Frankie started acting lessons, I didn't know where to go, I didn't know where to get headshots and when I tell you, I knew nothing about this, I knew nothing. And then next thing you know, within a month, I was living in LA and on a set with my son. He got a part in this movie, but it's not out yet.
But I learned a lot about it, taking him for acting lessons 3 or 4 times a week, I learned a lot about acting. I would sit there, I didn't want to leave him alone, so I sat there even if it was 3 hours. And I learned from sitting there.
Understanding the Talent of Denzel Washington
And then I started to go play, this same guy, my fiance, he loved plays and the arts. Every free weekend I would see a play and I started to appreciate the arts. I grew up in Paterson, that's not what we did.
And when I started appreciating it, I started seeing what hard work it was. And I also saw that it was about getting in touch with your emotions... I've been through a lot in my life...when Frankie was at the lessons, they'd be like, you have to channel this emotion, and I would think about my own life. I was going to plays at the time,
I remember seeing Denzel Washington in Raisin in the Sun, and I was just in awe of him - the presence he had, he was just amazing. And I was starting to learn the difference between a good play and a bad play, and I started reading about the actors. And it was always in the back of my mind, this acting thing.
And then we break up and I end up on Jersey housewives.
Not Scripted but Not Reality
In any sense of the word, it is not acting and it is not scripted. A lot of people don't understand this. casuing drams... jackie
Getting in touch with your emotions, and causing drama, is difficult, because you don't want to hurt people and fight with people so this is not an easy task. Because your know what is expected of you, and if you don't do it, someone else will. And it's done for you, you're stuck in it whether you wanted it or not because you're in a scene. so that's not acting, it's totally different.
Now this, I've known Brad since he was a little kid, and I always told him he'd be very special. Brad's mom's stepdad is my ex-husband's godfather, so when I met Brad he was about 8 years old. He was a little boy who was always drawing, he was always very bright, compassionate and sweet.
The Onyx and Breezy Fundraiser Conversation
And I hadn't seem him for years. but he reached out about the Onyx and Breezy fundraiser. I support this foundation where 100% of the proceeds go to the animals. I don't have a lot of time to give, so when I do I have to make sure it is going to the right place. And it's a lot to ask people for money, for anything. And I hate to ask for money, but if I am going to do it, at least I know it is going where it belongs. and nobody is taking a pay in this organization, and every single penny is going to the animals. So once I found that out for sure, I decide to support it.
So Bradley called and bought a ticket, I was being honored and he and his husband bought a ticket so he came. It was wonderful he came and I appreciated that, and he asked me if I could be in his movie.And I couldn't tell him no! He is still, like 8 years old to me - I had that cute little boy in my mind, he's like one of my kids, how could I say no?
He's a professor now, he's just so brilliant. So I said Brad, what do you want me to do?
This is Her Second Movie. The First Stars Eric Roberts.
I am in another movie, called Clinton Road. I was asked to be an extra, and I figured it would be a fun night out but I ended up having a speaking part. It's about this haunted road in New Milford. Eric Roberts is in it. It's actually a remake of the old movie Clinton Road, I was not expecting to have a speaking part, and they were like wow, you can get your SAG card now. And I was like what do you mean??
It was me standing on line, playing myself. but it was a small part, but it was kinda funny, but after that, Bradley asked me. And I was like, really, you want me? But then I realized, I kinda had been taking acting lessons while I have been sitting there with my son all these years. So I said, Okay I'll do it. But when he told me what it was for, he told me you're the mother, right away it just hit me in my stomach. When he told me I was playing the mother of a boy who committed suicide, I was just thinking, this is the nightmare of nightmares, and I immediately got choked up, and I said okay.
A Role A Mother Understands
But I wasn't so sure about it. Number one I'm not an actress. Number two I couldn't even imagine that happening to a mother. But it was easy for me because I had the emotions of a mother
So for Bradley's movie, I started to watch myself in it, and I got really choked up. Because it was real to me. Because I'm a mom, and I was feeling that for a mother. Oh My God.
It's the worst thing possible. To lose a child in any way. Bradley's message is about closure. This really hits home to so many people. it's about not having closure. And that really means in relationtship, some people can't go on after divorce or something else either. It's really hard to live with it.
See her May 10th
on the Red Carpet for her Premiere of Brad Forenza's Breaking Points