The King of Staten Island stars Pete Davidson as Scott, a guy in his 20s who’s still living at home with his mother (Marisa Tomei) on Staten Island. When Scott was just seven-years-old, his firefighter father died while on the job. Even so many years later, Scott is still struggling to cope with the loss, and it isn’t until his mother starts dating another firefighter, Bill Burr as Ray, that Scott manages to find the help he needs to move forward.
And that’s also where Steve Buscemi’s Papa steps into the equation. Papa is a veteran firefighter who knew Scott’s father back in the day. The casting here couldn’t be more appropriate, not just because Buscemi is a huge talent who can bring the necessary warmth and understanding to the role, but also because Buscemi himself worked as a firefighter in New York in the 1980s.
With The King of Staten Island now available to watch on VOD, I got the chance to hop on a brief Zoom call with Buscemi to discuss his experience making the movie. He talked about participating in the table read before committing to the project, what he observed from Judd Apatow’s directing methods that he’d like to apply to his own films, and the part of being a firefighter that he’d like to see represented on the big screen more often. And just for fun, Buscemi also weighed in on the past role he’d most like to bring back for more.
You can give it all a watch for yourself in the video interview at the top of this article. We also have an interview with Apatow and Davidson for you right here, one with Tomei over here, and another interview with Maude Apatow and Bel Powley here.
Buscemi did the table read for The King of Staten Island before officially signing on for the film.
As someone who is an actual firefighter, is there anything about the occupation that Buscemi thinks isn’t seen on screen enough?
Was there anything Buscemi observed from Apatow’s methods that he wants to use in his own directing career?
Does Buscemi have any tattoos and if not, what would he get and why?
If Buscemi could revisit any of his earlier roles, who would he pick and why?