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COVER STORY: KATHRINE NARDUCCI : Wiles Magazine

COVER STORY: KATHRINE NARDUCCI

By Teryl Warren

When I asked Kathrine Narducci to describe herself in 3 words, what she came up with was: “honest, loyal and…crazy.”

“But a good crazy,” she laughed.

Maybe so. But what’s definitely really crazy is Kathrine Narducci’s list of career credits, because it doesn’t read like a resume. It reads like every actor in Hollywood’s bucket list.

After making her film debut in Robert DeNiro’s directorial debut –  A Bronx Tale – Narducci went on to gain fame as Charmaine Bucco in a little HBO series called The Sopranos.  For anyone who’s been living under a rock for the past 20 years, The Sopranos is pretty much considered one of the best, if not the best, television series of all time.

But, in the early days, no one could’ve predicted the phenomenon to come.

“I gotta tell you, starting out on that show, the success of that show wasn’t on anyone’s mind,” she shared. “After we shot the pilot, (show creator) David Chase asked, if the show gets picked up, if we’d be interested in coming back. And we were all like ‘Sure!’ We didn’t realize how great that show was until like season 2 or 3. It was a pretty amazing show to be a part of. We all had good chemistry and we all loved each other as friends and colleagues. It was lightning in a bottle.”

In addition to The Sopranos, Narducci has had stints on other iconic television series such as Law & Order (and its spinoff Law & Order: SVU), NYPD Blue, Power and many more.  And now, she graces the small screen in one of the most talked-about series currently on TV – EPIX’s Godfather of Harlem starring Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker as legendary gangster Bumpy Johnson.

And this one hits particularly close to home.

“I was born and raised in Harlem. The streets and places where we film is where I grew up, so this show is very real to me and close to my heart,” she said.

And on top of the history the show depicts, audiences, she thinks, will appreciate the Godfather of Harlem’s particular relevance and reflection of current events.

“The show mirrors the 50’s, 60’s and now,” she explained. “The heroin epidemic we see in the Godfather of Harlem is still going on. The political climate and struggles for freedom and equality that were going on, then, are still going on.”

Kathrine Narducci as Olympia Gigante in EPIX’s Godfather of Harlem

While the show boasts an incredible cast of veteran actors like Giancarlo Esposito, Paul Sorvino, Clifton Davis and more, she’s quick to give credit to the behind-scenes storytellers at the center of it all.

“The beautiful writing from (creator) Chris Brancato – and the whole writing team – they do such a great job of showing all of the different perspectives. I love, especially, the storylines between Bumpy Johnson and Malcolm X, because they both came from the same place – the streets. They both want the same thing – a better life for their people – but they go about it in totally different ways. The storylines also show how deep the connection is between the mob and politics.”

In the series, Narducci plays Olympia Gigante – wife of the eccentric, real-life mob boss Vincent “The Chin” Gigante played by Vincent d’Onofrio.

“She’s so spicy and gutsy and has a voice,” she said.

But it was a voice that she had to create – virtually out of thin air.

“’The Chin’ was a colorful, funny, mysterious guy. He used to wander randomly around the streets in a bathrobe, and there was this thing in New York that if you ever had a ‘Chin’ sighting it was a big deal! When I went to research the role of Olympia Gigante, there wasn’t much about her. I was sad, but I was happy, too, because I got to think about who I thought Olympia was. Vincent (D’Onofrio) and I discovered the dynamics of their relationship on set – they’re really funny together because Vincent and I are funny together. I came up with a tagline for them: they’re traditional Italian dysfunctional.”

If you’re sensing a sort of recurring theme in some of Kathrine Narducci’s projects, you know, this sort of mob story thing? Yeah, you’re right. It’s definitely there. David Chase wondered, while shooting The Sopranos pilot, if audiences would want to see another mob story. And audiences have proven, time and time again: they can’t get enough of them.

“The reason why these [mob] shows are important is because they show real human lives and where they come from,” Narducci told me. “The writers and show runners and creators of these shows are intelligent and they write these characters as 3-dimensional people. They show how you could be a good bad guy – a criminal with a heart, a family and good intentions. Not glorifying their crimes or anything. But, these guys are smart people and they run organizations. They’re CEOs – just like Steve Jobs.”

If ever there was a Steve Jobs of cinema, his name would be Martin Scorsese, for he is an innovator, a visionary and an icon of the highest order. In his latest film, The Irishman, Scorsese counts among his stellar cast Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Anna Paquin…and Kathrine Narducci.

Imagine what it must feel like to stand among this pantheon of movie gods…

Kathrine Narducci and Joe Pesci in The Irishman

“It was like being handed the golden chocolate bar in Willy Wonka! I got the golden ticket! At one point I was onscreen with all of them at the same time and I sat back and thought, ‘What the hell? How lucky am I?’ I felt like it was an absolute gift from God.”

In what is surely the most highly anticipated film of the year, Kathrine Narducci plays Carrie Bufalino – onscreen wife to Joe Pesci’s Russell Bufalino.

“I would describe her as a ride-or-die chick. She’s got her man’s back. She’s Mafia Royalty from Italy. She knows the deal and she’s okay with it.”

After a successful premiere at the 57th New York Film Festival on September 27, 2019, The Irishman is scheduled to receive a limited theatrical release on November 1, 2019, followed by digital streaming on November 27, 2019 by Netflix.

The pre-release hype has reached epic proportions, but, much like with The Sopranos, Narducci had no idea how real it was until she saw the proof in black and white.

“I almost died when I saw The Irishman rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes! They’re saying it’s a masterpiece. Like Citizen Kane.”

But, despite the immeasurable onscreen street cred of its illustrious director and cast, what they’re not saying, is The Irishman is another soon-to-be mob movie classic.

“For me, if you go in expecting Goodfellas or a wise guy gangster movie – that’s not what you’re going to see,” she explained.” “The movie, ultimately, is about friendship, brotherhood, loyalty and betrayal. And the highest form of betrayal.”

I started to ask Kathrine Narducci to describe her experience working on The Irishman in 3 words. At the end of the day, I didn’t have to. Because she gave them to me before I could even pose the question…

Beautiful. Iconic. History.

“It’s a beautiful movie. Scorsese is at his best. When we took our bows after the premiere at Lincoln Center, I thought about what makes this so epic. And I realized – this group – DeNiro, Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Pesci – these are the last of the iconic actors. I mean, they’re iconic around the world. You’re never gonna see anything like this again. This film is a cinema history moment.”

Fans can also check out Karthrine Narducci opposite Golden Globe, Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winner Hugh Jackman and Academy Award-winner Allison Janney in the critically acclaimed film Bad Education.

For more information and to keep up with Kathrine, please follow her on social media at:

Twitter: NARDUC3

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/kathrinenarducci

INSTAGRAM: @KathrineNarducci

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