Steph (make_me_irish) wrote in angaranodaily,

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Michael Angarano credits his New York roots to his firm grasp on Hollywood life

Michael Angarano really likes pizza.

But not just any pizza. The 23-year-old actor, who stars alongside Uma Thurman in the recently released film “Ceremony,” loves the thick, square Sicilian pies from L&B Spumoni Gardens on 86th St. in Gravesend, Brooklyn.

“This pizza makes you hungrier the more you eat,” says the baby-faced Brooklyn native as he polishes off his third piece. “They just make it so good. The cheese is underneath the pasta sauce and the crust is like butter when it comes out of the oven. You can’t find pizza like this in L.A.”

Which is why Angarano is so happy to be back near his old neighborhood, where his mother runs the Reflections in Dance studio on Bath Ave.

“I was born in Bensonhurst and raised in Staten Island,” he says between bites. “I moved out to California when I was 12, but I still consider myself a New Yorker. I root for the Mets. What could be more New York than that?”

This New York background helped Angarano — who has also appeared in a wide variety of movies including “Almost Famous,” “Lords of Dogtown” and “Seabiscuit” — with the role of Sam, a lovesick Brooklyn kid who fools his best friend into helping him break up a wedding in the Hamptons to regain the love of Zoe, played by Uma Thurman.

“Because I’m a New Yorker at heart, I understand where the character of Sam comes from,” he says. “He is not from the Hamptons. He is poor and unsuccessful and he probably has a studio that he’s three months late paying the rent on.”


Angarano plays the role of a neurotic and insecure Sam so well that it’s hard to imagine him as any other character. But, originally, he was cast as Sam’s best friend, Marshal.

“Jesse Eisenberg was going to play Sam, but he dropped out to do ‘The Social Network’ three weeks before we were going to make the movie,” he says. “Obviously, that was a good career decision.” So Angarano slapped on a fake mustache and took over the role.

According to Angarano, “That mustache changed me. It made me feel older and detached. I couldn’t laugh at things that were funny, mainly because of the glue. But that’s the important part about Sam, none of what he does is funny to him. He’s not in on his own jokes.”

While the character of Sam might have a skewed view of himself in “Ceremony,” Angarano seems to maintain a firm grasp of his situation as an up-and-coming actor in Hollywood.

“The actors who are the best at their trade are the ones who are the most down-to-earth and the most humble,” he says, having traded pizza for a cup of spumoni. “I will always live a normal life. I grew up in New York where guys live with their mothers well into their 30s. That’s what I’m used to.”

Of course, most New Yorkers living with Mom don’t have the opportunity to kiss Uma Thurman. Standing at a mere 5-feet-7 (and a half), even a smooch with the 6-foot Uma was fraught with peril. “She’s a lot taller than me, but she does a great job of making herself look smaller,” he says.

“We were doing this scene on the beach where we were walking together side by side and we are almost the same height. Then I realized that we’re on a slant and I’m on the high side. She’s a pro. She adjusted to my height really well.”

There’s a brief moment of silence as Angarano licks the back of his spoon, then he dives in for his fourth slice of pizza.

“God, I love this pizza,” he says. “I remember eating it in the back of my mom’s minivan when I was a kid. It gives me a feeling of warmth and comfort. It’s like a big sign that says, ‘Welcome home!’ “


Tags: interview
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