Hialeah Miami Lakes alumnus gives back to school's Drama Club

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 0 Comments

Hialeah Miami Lakes alumnus gives back to school's Drama Club
It isn't every day that a celebrity replies to a Tweet, but when actor, director, writer and producer Vincent D'Onofrio does, he means business. Late last September, Colleen Mahoney, theatre teacher and drama club advisor at Hialeah Miami Lakes High School (HML), Tweeted at D'Onofrio, asking him for some advice to share with her budding thespians at the inaugural meeting of the HML Drama Club.
Less than ten minutes later, D'Onofrio, an HML alumnus, Tweeted in response, "How about I FaceTime all of you?"
D'Onofrio made good on that offer, FaceTiming with the students November 1, speaking about his experiences and answering their questions. He offered advice to the students about the acting field, stressing that they finish school first.
“That's the route I would advise,” he counseled Anna Parets, Drama Club president, who asked D'Onofrio about breaking into the field. “Get your education. Take acting classes as well and start auditioning.”
D'Onofrio, who called himself ‘too shy’ to be involved in theatre at school, told the club members they were already far past where he himself had been at that point in life. He noted that he found his love for acting later, and his career began in earnest with an off-Broadway play in 1984. His breakout role as Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, directed by Stanley Kubrick, cemented his love for the craft and his career in the field.
“But I never stopped working in restaurants and other jobs,” D'Onofrio commented. “I was (overseas) for a year filming Full Metal Jacket, but as soon as I came back, I went right back to work in the restaurant. That's how it is for us in the beginning.”
Industry advice from the titan, who has over 100 credits on International Movie Data Base (IMDB), instructed on how to understand a character by “Knowing where the character was, is and will be,” and to “avoid the instinct of looking for your role when first reading a script.”
He noted, “You should know the story as a whole first.”
D'Onofrio also discussed his role in a new series he’s currently filming for. The character he plays is a mob boss, a role, he says, he doesn’t particularly like. He notes that this creates a totally different dynamic for him as an actor.
“I really don't like this character. Among other things, he’s a complete racist,” said D'Onofrio. “I grew up a stone's throw from this school, just a few houses down the block. I went to school right here, where you go to school. Hialeah is a melting pot. Playing a racist is not something that sits well with me.”
However, taking the tough roles, or the roles that ‘scare’ him, is how D'Onofrio challenges himself to keep growing in his field.
“If someone offers me a role, and my first thought is ‘no, I can't do that,’ then my next thought is ‘yes, I'll do it’.” He encouraged the club members to do the same, to keep taking on challenges and to use them to grow.
D'Onofrio offered to help the students with that growth process by making the FaceTime meetings a regular event. He confirmed that proposition with a Tweet later that day.
“FaceTimed my high school today and spoke with drama students. They asked the right questions. I think we will make it a regular thing.”

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