Though Bobby Cannavale has been an actor for many years, he’s recently caught the attention of bigger audiences after his Emmy win for his third season role in Boardwalk Empire and a major role in Blue Jasmine. He spoke to Rolling Stone about getting cast in the film and working with Woody Allen, and explains why he decided to take a role in the remake of Annie.
Cannavale says that getting cast in Blue Jasmine was a matter of lucky timing. He explains, “To this day, I don’t know how Woody Allen knows me. My agent just called one day and told me that he wanted to meet for lunch. Everybody was telling me, ‘He’s not going to look you in the eyes.’ And when I walked into his office, somebody even told me I didn’t need to take my coat off, because who knows how long the meeting is going to last. So I was really intimidated. And the first thing he said was, ‘So can you shoot?’ and I said ‘Yes!’ I hadn’t asked for the time off of Boardwalk Empire yet, so I went back and luckily Terry Winter said, ‘We’re going to get you out of here anyway.’” He says there wasn’t an audition, adding, “He just knew he wanted the guy to be big, so he kept grabbing my shoulders and saying, ‘Oh you’re big. You’re big. You’re a big guy.’ I felt like cattle being inspected. Then he just says, ‘Can you give me three weeks in August?’”
While getting the part in Blue Jasmine was easier than he expected, Cannavale confesses that the shoot itself was nerve-wracking because of the way Allen works. He reveals, “It was terrifying! He’s not about giving compliments. The biggest compliment that he gives is when he doesn’t say you’re doing something wrong. If he leaves the room, then you know you’ve got it.”
Cannavale is currently shooting the remake of Annie in New York, which seems out of line with his recent tough guy roles. Of course, that is the point. He admits, “I’ve always wanted to do a musical. I’d been rehearsing this big dance scene with Cameron Diaz since September and we finally shot it a couple weeks ago. Every film I try to do something that I’ve never done before. It’s tough in this business, you know? People see you do something they like and then they just want to see you do it over and over again. That’s why I did this movie.”