A “Bonnie and Clyde”-style gangster picture set against the backdrop of one of New York’s most notorious gangsters.
The Wannabe, which is inspired by true events, follows resolute New Yorker Thomas Greco (Vincent Piazza), who determinedly sets out to fulfill his goal of working for Gambino family boss John Gotti. Driven by his passion for crime dramas and the life he so desperately wants, Thomas hopes that his obsession with following the media coverage of the Gambino crime family boss’ trial will help him become a major player in the mafia.
Girlfriend and longtime mob groupie Rose (Patricia Arquette) is an ex-jailbird, who shares Thomas’ yearning for drugs and fast money. A montage of conspicuous consumption following a robbery spree the two go on is only the tip of the iceberg.
Piazza and Arquette are mesmerizing together as a whirlpool couple play-acting their dreams into oblivion, and Nick Sandow‘s casting around them — Michael Imperioli, Domenick Lombardozzi, Vincenzo Amato, even himself — lends a winking authenticity. Another star on the rise is Adriana DeMeo who plays Annie. The mix of callous humor and romantic doom holds up in the best moments.
Did you feel a connection with the character you portrayed?
Piazza: I did only in geography, like growing up in Queens I was really around what was going on at the time. Time and space is what I knew best, but getting into this character that Nick (Sandow) had conjured was exciting for me. There was a lot of freedom in it, you know I was playing a successful gangster at the time when I approached this material so for me it was fun to kind of deconstruct and find someone who wants to be that guy, that wants to be in that world. It was fun.
Since you grew up in Queens, do you have any favorite mob classics?
Piazza: Goodfellas is high up on the list, it’s really up there. There’s another little Italian movie called Mafioso that was done in the ’60s it’s amazing, the Giancarlo Giannini film in which he plays this wild gangster who was also kind of an influence on the work in this film. It was a lot of fun, those are my favorites.
The Wannabe is now in select theaters and available on demand.