SITDOWN WITH JOEY MANGANO by Nick Christophers
I scheduled to meet up with Joey Mangano in New York City. He arranges to meet me at STK in the meat packing district and tells me reservations are under John Carlo at 8:30, it’s a Friday night. I ask him who is John; he tells me he’s a close friend who owes him a night out and that he’s picking up the bill all night.
I show up and Joey is seated drinking a glass of wine, as I ask where John Carlo is, he says to me, “you’re looking at him.” It takes me a second and I get it. It’s his alias when he goes out. I’m wondering what I’m in for with this interview. He pours me a glass of wine as I pull out my recorder and hook up a little mic to his shirt to block out the music and the surrounding people, and we begin.
Tell me where you grew up?
I grew up in South Brooklyn, 5th Avenue and 22nd street as very young kid and we settled in to the Marine Park area in Brooklyn. I really enjoyed opening up the johnny pump with a wrench. playing stickball in the streets, man-hunt, handball, boxball, scully, all games that seem obsolete in this generation, and minus the cell phone. It was just different.
What do you mean?
The dynamics of the time a man can buy a home in the 70’s, have several children and keep his wife home to raise them and cars where bought not leased. When it was time for dinner you were called in with a whistle or a yell of your name, not a text on a cell phone. That’s a little bit of what I mean.
You lived in Hollywood tell me about that?
I lived with Bruce Willis’s brother Robert Willis in Woodlands Hills. I was out almost every night partying and I would run into him a lot. Bruce was a hot commodity coming off of the movie “Diehard” and everyone was up Robert’s ass. I could care less, he saw that in me and asked me to be his roommate and I accepted. He was a fun guy and an entertaining guy. I will share a story about him but I’ll come back to that. My brother Anthony Mangano who is in the business with numerous credits was the bouncer at the China Club and I would be hanging out in the private party areas with celebrities. I hung around Rodeo Drive where Mickey Rourke had a soda shop which was called Mickey and Joeys. Café Roma was a popular eatery and hangout. I introduced Shannon Doherty to Mickey at Charlie the Shoe Maker, who was directly across from the soda shop. She was star struck as Mickey was at the top of his game at that time. I hung out with a popular crowd. I played cards with Brandon Lee back then, Bruce Lee’s son, and Lou Diamond Phillips. Anyone from that time new Brandon drove a Hurst as his regular day car. Charlie Sheen’s answering machine would say “if you leave it, I’ll retrieve it”.
Did you meet Bruce Willis back then?
He was jerk I had no time for. His drink was Ego and Vanity, and he kept his glass full. I only positioned myself around down to earth people.
Back to my story of Robert, so I’m standing in the kitchen in silk pajamas reading something in the bible. I see Robert on the couch with covers on him and I’m thinking he’s ready for bed. I then hear a beeping of a horn. He gets up fully dressed and says to me, “you have 3 minutes”, and walks out the door to a full stretch black limousine. I made it out in 2.
Wait a minute, you were reading the bible?
Absolutely, it is where I gain my wisdom and knowledge from and I still read passages. It removes vexation from my mind. I saw my mom do it many years ago and I wanted to experience the beauty I saw in her from her readings.
Anything in particular you like?
I dig proverbs and the preacher. The excellence of wisdom, here are a few lines I dig: “If the serpent bites before it is charmed, then there is no advantage in a charmer.” It can bring many interpretations.
How did you get back to entertainment?
I left California back then to concentrate on my girlfriend Angela, who became my wife. I started a family and a business life. As time went on I was becoming interested in entertainment. I first decided to record a Jazz CD which I have done called “If I only have a Brain” that has 12 songs. Two songs are on YouTube, “My Funny Valentine” and an original song called “Baby” which is a Nina Simone original that I overlaid vocals to. I also recorded a Jazz/ Rap track placing my vocals over Nina Simone’s “My Baby Just Cares for Me”, that’s on YouTube as well. Next, I decided the best way for me to blend my business life with the entertainment life was to create a play. I decided to write a one man act called: “A Moment in Brooklyn”, I played 17 characters. There’s a dedicated page for that on Facebook. My brother Anthony Mangano directed me and I rehearsed at my close friend Dr. Levine’s catering hall in Brooklyn, “The El Caribe”. He also financed me for the production which was at the Kraine Theater and privately held showing at the El Caribe. This led to the “HOLY FIRE” (https://youtu.be/xZbKGWmE_Ao)
movie lead role, and to me now writing the screenplay for “Winds of Silence”.
What’s it about and did you write apart for yourself?
I will say a few words; it’s a mystery drama with a twist ending such as in”Primal Fear” or “The Usual Suspects”. As far as a part, I am not looking to play the lead as I desire an A list actor to attach to the role, I surely want the supporting role.
Tell me more about this project?
I connected with a friend of mine named Paul Borghese. We worked on a movie back in 1989 called ‘Thrilled to Death” we played two cops. I ended up running into him at a premiere of a movie a while back in New York after his directorial in “Back in the Day”. And viewing the movie, I reached out to him to congratulate him and we started to communicate more. I expressed my interest in a project as well as him sharing some ideas that were of interest to him. I had the exercise of creativity in me and needed to move on it to write “Winds of Silence”.
What’s your writing process?
The exercise of creativity needs to be present. Once this is established, ideas flow and decisions are made for characters and a plot summary. Following that there is an index of scenes established, with a notes section and a log of time spent. With the time spent concept it forces me to get my mind to be creative because I’m under a time restraint and therefore giving me no time for writers block.
You told me last week you invented something, please elaborate?
These are all exercises of creative talent. I came up with an idea to help the senior market increase blood flow and circulation in the legs. I have a provisional pattern and some key people are working on my business plan. Look, if something interests me I pursue it until it leaves me.
What do you do for living?
I invest money for a Bank, I have numerous securities licenses and I enjoy what I do. I also own my own advertising company for 15 years. And I take on the developmental entertainment aspect for potential revenue.
Tell me more about your time management?
I am a highly organized individual who puts a lot of emphasis on time management or ROTI, return on time investment. I monitor all hours invested in my day work or any project I’m working on. It keeps me focused and gives me clarity to complete the task. It’s not an easy process, investing money, and then taking on projects that require my time and energy. So, right now, I block out three hours a day to write. I write in one hour blocks, one in the morning and at two at night.
How did you handle your time management for the movie?
Wow. A lot was going on at that time. I will tell you it was more than the movie. I was a General Contractor on a pool being built and pavers in my yard. I also had a sweet sixteen for my daughter at a catering hall and then I took my family to the Bahamas. In the middle of all this I was producing a sizzle reel for a reality show called “Scam Stoppers” with my friend Freddie Antonelli. I embraced it or I would have crashed. Screw crashing, I was all in I just was in the moment and didn’t think about it, but I think about it now.
What time do you wake up in the morning?
Whatever time my body wakes up, I never used an alarm clock, but I’m up consistently by 5am, by default. Then my day begins with writing, coffee and peanut butter on a spoon. Following that I head to the gym, then shower, dress and off I go.
I reviewed your Facebook page and a lot of people reference you as “Hollywood”, tell me why?
It’s not a name I choose. People would just call me that name for years. It happens all the time. It’s weird because I’ll hear it from someone who has no reference to me being called that name and I’m taking back by it. And I was called that name before I did my movie and play. See, I have a friend that I call Hollywood, his name is Freddie Antonelli.
Do you consider yourself an actor?
We are all actors in our on movie every day. We are all writers, directors, actors, and producers. And you decide if the day is going to be a hit or a flop. I have said this statement before. But on another note when asked this question I respond with, “I am a developing entertainer.” Look, if I can earn north of 250k a year at a low level in this privileged business then I will consider the title.
You say privileged why?
Synchronicity sums it up for me. Right timing, right place, it all factors in and you can be striving after wind for a long time.
How did Holy Fire come about?
One night during a performance of “A Moment in Brooklyn” a young writer director named Steven Bhiro was present and approached me for the lead role. I put myself on tape for him .He had already cast the lead but ending up replacing him with me. The link to the trailer is on YouTube under HOLY FIRE TRAILER. The movie can be seen on Amazon Prime.
What would you like people to know about you?
That if you have passion and a desire to move forward with what motivates you then you can accomplish your goals. You must believe it to achieve it. I always want something to look forward to. So, I will always be involved in the creative aspect, whether in business or in entertainment.
How long you married?
I have been with Angela for 29 years of which 22 are marriage. 60 percent of my life has been with this woman. Angela is a fantastic mom, a beautiful wife and friend and super-hot, and she’s always behind me in anything I choose to do. Look, it’s not always perfect but the end result is we get along well. We have two daughters one is attending Penn State currently majoring in Advertising Media and the other has aspirations to be a gynecologist, we’ll see.
If you had a shot to act with a couple of known Hollywood actors, who would you choose?
Interesting question, I would like to be alongside Gary Oldman, Gene Hackman, Russel Crowe, Sean Penn, maybe Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts.
No DeNiro, Pacino?
That’s where the masses go, although I wouldn’t mind to have the opportunity of them experiencing my mind and me experiencing theirs.
I read a review you received for “A Moment in Brooklyn” off your Facebook page that was posted and caught my eye. It said: Mr. Mangano has a considerably effective stage presence. He is a man who looks like a combination of Jerry Lewis and Al Pacino. He invests his performance with a passion and intensity that reminds one of John Garfield in Golden Boy and Brando in Street Car named Desire. He is deeply moving when he cries out for his dead mother. His anguish is palpable as his face contorts into a mask of pain, rage, and in the end, wistfulness as he enacts the trajectory of his life so far. Any comments?
Look, I’m grateful for those words. I am intense, but I was talking to my Ma and it was personal and very deep for me. I believe speaking lines in true state of being and having the emotion behind it should move any audience as well.
Any memorable celebrity you come across?
Yeah, there is. There was this guy who drove his badge corniche convertible to the restaurant called: “La Familigia” like clockwork and he would sit at his personal table in the corner. That guy was Dean Martin. My father who was in the entertainment business knew Dean. He was sharp, good looking man who had a beautiful voice from the time of his era. My father told my brother and me to mention a name to him. So, my brother and I go to the restaurant one night and his convertible is outside, and he’s sitting at his table wearing a badge member’s only jacket. The name is mentioned and my brother and I spend the next hour and a half in his company. Frank Sinatra’s “The Summer Wind “begins playing, and Dean kept saying after the song was over: “Play it again!” We heard that song at least 20 times. How funny. We drank, we ate and we laughed with this man and he shared stories with us. It was unforgettable.
How can people Industry contact you?
I finish my interview, we finish eating and we get up. I ask him what about the bill. HE tells me. BILL? John Carlo paid for that earlier, and we then move to the bar area for more cocktails