The Kid Stays in the Picture: One-on-One with Veteran Actor Mike Massimino

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

Mike Massimino has acted in many of the most-popular television series including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Orange is the New Black” -- as well as roles in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.  

We recently sat down with Mike for a one-on-one conversation about his experiences in the industry, some of his projects, and more.  

PH: Thanks Mike for joining us to talk shop.

Mike Massimino: Thank you for inviting me for a conversation. I love discussing my work and the industry as a whole...  

PH: So, we’re quite familiar with the projects you’ve worked on, but where did it all begin for you?

Mike Massimino: Well, when I was a kid growing up in Connecticut, I used to go to the movies all the time, and once home, I’d act out those stories. I especially remember going to see Rocky and that’s when it hit me… I wanted to be an actor.  

Seeing Rocky, I noticed how Stallone‘s characters were so rich, and filled with love, hate, shyness, regret, defiance and complete humanity to the bone. Every character was interesting and flawed. It’s still one of my Top Five movies to this day. 

The acting “bug” hit me at a very young age. When I graduated high school, I asked my Dad if I could attend The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I did attend for a year, but I wasn’t ready to fully commit at that time…

Ten years later, after working in the car business for years, and when I had just turned thirty, I said to myself, “you know, you’re either going to go try it now or you’re never going to try it, and you’re going to turn 50 and regret it.”  Fast-forward, I turned 50 last year -- and I’m not regretting anything.  

I now have 54 credits to my name and although my name isn’t above the titles, I’m grateful for all the work I’ve done so far. I’m also deeply grateful to my friends who’ve supported me on this journey, and to all my mentors -- and incredible agent.  

PH: How did you develop your skills along the way?

Mike Massimino: To be honest, I think I’ve gotten my acting chops by booking one Day Player role after another, and then getting some Guest Star roles. All the experience and repetition is key. 

Also, where I really learned about a professional set was working on “Boardwalk Empire” with the great folks at HBO… it was top-shelf everything, from the actors to the crew and on to the caterers. I appeared in four episodes and was able to work at Steiner Studios for five weeks.  It was awesome!

Another highlight thus far was getting on the set of The Irishman and working with Mr. Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese. That was a dream come true…

PH: Any other notable actors that you’ve worked with in recent years?

Mike Massimino: I’m lucky to have shared the screen with legends such as Jim Carrey, Edie Falco, Joaquin Phoenix, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rachel Brosnahan, and Sir Ben Kingsley, just to name a few…

Also, worth a mention, a lot of my work came from a place in NYC on West 44th called the Actors Connection, where I joined the staff and became a reader for many Casting Directors while they taught classes.  

I took TV and Audition classes there and met the finest of Casting pros: Ross Meyerson, Rob DeCena, Jessica Kelly, Meredith Tucker, and the always gracious and accommodating Susanne Sheal. Meeting Casting Directors was paramount and still is for any actor.

PH: Is there another role that you’re super proud of?

Mike Massimino: Definitely. I’d say the character of Officer Peluso on the hit show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” That was an incredible set to get on. I did four episodes and got to spend a lot of time working with the Cast and Crew. 

Amy Palladino and her husband Daniel were a thrill to work for. Also, working on scenes with Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub was an extraordinary experience as well. The part came naturally to me, as most of my parts do. 

One note to actors learning or working their way up… I can’t begin to tell you how important Improv is for auditions. The Casting Director may say, “Alright, just go off-book and let’s see what you got…” - and you have to be ready! 

Since you asked, there’s a few other talented actors I’ve been fortunate to know or work with -- Joey D’Onofrio who played a young Joe Pesci in Goodfellas and Slick in A Bronx Tale, as well as Cliff Moylan, James Ciccone, Carmine Famiglietti who won a Spirit Award for his film “LBS”, Al Sauchelli Junior, and of course the legendary Chazz Palminteri.  

PH: What advice would you give for actors just starting out? 

Mike Massimino: Learn as much as you can and work on as many projects as you can.  Also, try a variety of roles, experiment. Study the masters. And, be a good person and build lasting friendships in this industry.  

Check out Mike’s IMDb here

Mike is represented by the Carsen Kolker agency and Entertainment Lab management.

To reach out to Mike, email: mikemassimino@gmail.com.

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