Six-part event series Bad Blood kicks off tonight on City, and it is really unlike any other mafia story we’ve seen. Inspired by the story of Montreal’s famous mobster Vito Rizzuto, it filmed in both Montreal and Sudbury, ON last winter. Produced by New Metric Media and Sphere Media Plus, it is loosely based on the book Business Or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War by Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards.
After previewing the first episode, I was immediately captivated by this world and the rich characters. A truly intriguing Canadian tale, it’s finally time for the world to learn about this legendary crime story.
Last December, I headed to the Sudbury set to chat with Bad Blood‘s cast and producers. Here is a bit of what they shared about why this series is so unique.
Anthony LaPaglia plays crime boss Vito Rizzuto. It’s certainly not the first time he’s portrayed a mobster but he recognized how different it was from the others.
“I’ve done this genre before and I’ve seen this genre a million times, but this read slightly different from the usual mafia expose. It has a lot of different elements that I haven’t seen before,” shared LaPaglia. “[Vito] is multifaceted. That’s why I liked the script. He rarely committed the acts of violence himself and had someone else do it. He was good at reading people, and had this ability to get people to follow him.”
Kim Coates is Declan Gardiner is Vito’s right-hand man. His story runs parallel to Vito’s, and Declan is also our narrator.
“Declan had no family, came from nowhere,” Coates told us. “He was a street thug, and Vito saw very early on something that was beyond brawn and muscle — the ‘smarts’. Like Robert Duvall in The Godfather, Declan’s not Italian, he’s Irish, but [The Rizzutos] bring him in and it’s the first time he’s had a family in his life. Declan would cut his own head off to save Vito, Nico and even Nico, Jr. who Declan has barbs with.”
In the role of Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. is Paul Sorvino, who expressed his hesitance to take on any gangster roles. Bad Blood was an exception. “I thought it was a good family story,” said Sorvino. “It’s different from Goodfellas or The Godfather. It’s special, and in a couple of scenes, I did some things emotionally that I’ve never done before.”
Enrico Colantoni portrays Bruno “The Peacemaker” Bonsignori, a character that is based on an actual person from Rizzuto’s crew, but the name and some details about him have been changed. “In the movie Casino, the Robert De Niro character is the money guy. He made money for everyone. He wasn’t violent,” Colantoni explained. “Bruno is that guy who is really good with the money, and really good at talking to people.” As for the nickname? “They called him ‘The Peacemaker’ because of deals he facilitated earlier on in his life.” He also talked about how being a part of a crime syndicate doesn’t mean that you have to get your hands dirty. “I don’t think that a prerequisite is that you have to kill somebody; it’s what you’re contributing and how you’re contributing. His alliance is to Vito and the Rizzuto family. He doesn’t want bloodshed.”
The enforcer in this equation is Tony Nappo’s Gio, a man of action and few words. Nappo told me, “[Gio] doesn’t say a whole lot. He observes. He’s got his boss’ back. He knows his place and his position, and has absolute respect for that.” Nappo added, “Gio is loyal and has no agenda. He’s not the guy that you would ever think is going to screw anyone over. He’d lay down his life in a second.”
Rounding out the core cast is Brett Donahue as Nico Rizzuto, Jr. Vito never wanted his son to be part of the crime world, but in this story, Nico can’t resist the urge. When we first meet Nico in this story, Donahue said, “He’s coming into his own. He has a wife and a family and is a provider, but he’s itching for the opportunity to get into the business of his grandfather and his father.” One of Donahue’s first scenes with LaPaglia and Sorvino really stands out. “What you first see is [Nico] with his father and grandfather on the front porch. It’s a beautiful image of three generations. It’s simple and not nefarious, but it grows from there.”
Be sure to watch the series premiere of Bad Blood tonight on City at 8/7c, and stay tuned for in-depth interviews with the cast and producers.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Photo and Video Courtesy of City