Renting Cars, Remembering Manson, and Knowing Your Worth

A graphic of Tony Nappo edited to appear as multiple people sitting in a circle as a spoof of Alcoholics Anonymous. At the top and bottom of the image is text that reads "Nappoholics Anonymous"

Nappoholics Anonymous is a weekly column featuring twelve random thoughts by actor Tony Nappo. Some are funny, some are poignant, some bother him, and some make him weep from sadness while others make him weep for joy. Here are his thoughts: unfiltered, uncensored, and only occasionally unsafe for work.

1. Celebrating Canada Day this year felt about as appropriate as celebrating Charles Manson Day. And, yes, you can go ahead and debate me, and point out all of this country’s many positive attributes that you want, and I’m sure that most, if not all, of your points would very likely be good ones.

BUT… AT THIS VERY MOMENT IN TIME… you really would sound like that asshole at a dinner party in 1969 saying, “sure, Chuck’s made some bad choices along the way, but he really isn’t ALL bad.” 

2. Quote of the Week: (Thanks Callum KR)

3. I rented a car to visit a friend’s cottage recently. This conversation took place at the rental car desk.

Budget Guy: Are you sure you don’t want an SUV? I’ve got a few available. 

Me: That’s gonna to cost me more money, though, isn’t it?

Budget Guy: Yes, but you’ll get to have a much bigger vehicle.

Me: We’ll, I’d like to have a much bigger penis, too, but I’m not willing to pay extra for one of those either!

4. Memorial of the Week:

5. Lately, I’ve been wondering whether people ever feared denouncing Nazis because they were afraid of being labelled anti-German. Because I’m pretty sure that if one HAD ever spoken out against them, it would have been the actions of a specific group of people they would have been criticizing. Not an entire culture or people.

6. Poem of the Week:

7. To me, a Leaf Fan cheering for the Habs is like someone cheating on a spouse or partner with their spouse or partner’s least favourite sibling. 

8. Book of the week:

Put together by the wonderful actor and scholar, Martin Julien. I’m looking very forward to reading this one. Just wanted to put it on our community’s radar if it already isn’t.

9. Instagram Page of the Week: (Seriously check it out- fucking hilariously stupid.)

This is the equivalent of watching other people eat and wondering why you’re still hungry.

10. I met my daughter’s new boyfriend recently, who I really like, a lot. His name is Nick. I’ve decided to nickname him Nick Cage to remind myself not to like him TOO much.

11. I LOVE this post by my good friend, Raoul Bhaneja. A lot of debate sparked recently about diversity in the industry surrounding the cancellation of Kim’s Convenience– a show that made stars of 5 Korean actors and whose fifth season features roughly 5 BIPOC actors to every one white one, I noted , after watching the entire final season. Change is happening. I see it on every set I work on in terms of diverse actors, directors and crew. And I’ve shot 19 episodes on five different tv shows and two movies since the pandemic began. So I get around.

We aren’t there yet but we are well on the way, presently. And that is something I celebrate.

12. I recently had an audition for a fairly significant role on a film starring two Oscar winners—two of the best living actors on the planet, in my opinion. A role which I knew they could easily get some level of a much higher-profile name to play. Especially in a film with those two names attached. But I thought, I’ll go in and give them everything I have and make them think about it, at least. 

And, as I figured, I didn’t book it, but they did offer me a callback to read for a smaller role. A tiny, one-page role (which would have been a scene with one of the two leads, but I passed on it without even reading the scene in case it was good and I might be tempted to). 

And here’s why. 

Because I fucking worked my balls off preparing that audition. And it was fucking good. Eight or nine pages including pain, tears, suffering, and all the show-offy actor shit. Based on that audition, they could easily have offered me the small part without making me read for it. Honestly, a part like that is not the type of part I have read for (with very few exceptions) in about twenty years. If they had asked me to read for the tiny part in a scene with this actor, from the beginning, I am pretty sure I would have said yes. It would legitimately be a thrill to work with someone of that calibre and spend some time around him to watch how he works. I’d probably ask to pop off a selfie and go home. 

But they didn’t ask me to read for the small part first. 

Instead, they gave me a difficult audition to prepare, and I did a more than solid job. Sure, it’s always great to be given an opportunity to audition with better material and show folks what you can bring. But not if there’s no fucking point to it. Not if that work is dismissed as if it never happened, and you go back to zero and start over. As I have mentioned many times before, the only power an actor has is the power to say no. I always get the sense that actors are supposed to feel lucky to get any job anywhere at all, but after thirty fucking years of doing this shit, I honestly feel like any show that I work on is lucky to have me. 

You can disagree if you want. It won’t affect me. At all. 

The bottom line is–and I have made the opposite choice in the past–that if I had gone in to read for the second tiny role and not gotten it, I would have hated myself for compromising my values. I would have had to suck up the sense of insult to the work I had already done and risk feeling like a bag of shit to read for a tiny part that ANY competent actor could probably play. 

I just feel like it’s important that I value my own self-worth above all else in this industry. 

Because if I don’t, why should anyone else?

3 Responses to “Renting Cars, Remembering Manson, and Knowing Your Worth”

  1. In regards to #12. I myself have been in that very same position :”read and prepare for the large juicy role and then find out its actually out on offer to an American after your audition” AGHHH!
    I always wondered if ACTRA could not insist that Casting Directors NOT bring in Canadians to audition for parts on offer, even if the offer is not yet accepted – even if it’s just the smell of it being offered.
    And yes anyone( other than an actor) will offer up that auditioning is part and parcel of this profession and getting the chance to do so is also keeping yourself in a state of readiness for what will surely arrive – the job that is yours.
    However shouldn’t we all be on the same page and agree that there must be a real and definite chance of getting the job, that the job is available, if an audition call is created? That’s what I call good faith and that’s what an actor / actress trades on continuously in order to work. Some might even say its blind faith.
    Furthermore I’d challenge the practise of submitting the audition call sheet of names and ACTRA numbers that the CD has in order to say to ACTRA well we did consider Canadians- here’s proof. GAHHHHHH !
    Anyone worth their salt could have offered you the second role Tony and then as you wrote , you could say no or yes, but not all casting or directing or producing eyes will be of the same mind.
    Thankfully we have at least one stellar CD in this country who refuses to waste anyone’s time on either side of the camera, and/or directors who can fight for who they want and cast an actor on the spot even WITH big stars in the cast. Yeah ; that can happen too.
    Really though – and this is for your readers understandably not up on the inner workings of the entertainment world – as you yourself well know, the true hardships of the business aren’t even close to what you have described. I’d say that you are a lucky actor – but I respectfully qualify that ‘lucky’ in that your success is merited by REAL talent. Also yes, you fought for your place and to be seen, and kept the faith while you painted homes and theatres – but at least the roles are there for you because of your gender .. because while your star (deservedly) continues to shine, I can name a veritable All star league of Canadian actresses, who AREN’T being written for in scripts – who aren’t called to audition – because as women age in our present North American Culture (where misogyny is so common it’s unremarkable**) either on screen and stage – roles and opportunities for women ‘north of fifty’ disappear- and oh, how we are all missing out on what they bring, not to mention showing our children that we truly, deeply, really value women.
    It’s an imperfect world and this industry and some of its methodologies have been so very hurtful to so, so many, but as we try to rebalance the injustices of casting and the roles available, and to who, I’d offer that your story is one more for the list of practices that can and would change the self worth of not only Canadian performers- but our audiences too – by making sure we ALL see ALL of who we are.
    And Tony ? Many Thanks for being who you are.

    ** Quote is from “This Changes Everything” Netflix documentary.**

  2. On that last entry: It’s not just acting or creative fields. A couple of years ago I applied for a job in my government-policy-wonk field, mainly for the practice. Aced the interview even as I decided I didn’t want that particular job. Three days later, they call me to tell me “We have a lot of good applicants, so we’re going to do a second round of interviews on the short list.” By that point I’m like, “Thanks, but it looks like the position isn’t the right move for me right now; I’ll pass and you can focus on the other canddiates. Good luck with your search.” Two days later they call me and they’re like, “Well, we have this senior policy job that we think you’d be great for!” I politely declined, but inwardly I was like, “Okay, so, I’m good enough that you really want to hire me, but you’re still going to make me jump through more hoops for the one I applied for.”

  3. Tj- good on you. I hope you landed somewhere you felt valued.

    Canadian actress. I know. I wrote about that very issue three years ago in the first year of this column. If I knew how anything worked I would look it up. I agree with you that it’s criminal. Just when female actors reach a certain age and they are mastering their craft, the roles are dry up for them. I mean a handful grab what is there and they are all super talented but there are a shit ton of female actors who are equally as talented that are left without anywhere to ply their trade. I don’t have any fucking answers. I do feel, not unlike the world itself- or our world- Canada and the US specifically, this is a time of massive unrest and demand for change. I see it happening but in the area you are describing, I don’t honestly. I haven’t noted any change in the number of “older” women- some younger than me. I can’t really offer anything here but to appreciate your thoughtful comment and agree with you and say that I watch a lot of television with some pretty cringeworthy acting from some very good looking people. But I don’t watch it for long. My theory is that most people don’t know or care what good acting looks like. That’s not what they’re watching for. They are being given what they want- I said MOST. Not all. And I just find it sad.

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Tony is Italian, he’s from Scarborough, he’s an actor, he’s a father, he’s a really good house painter, and he doesn’t believe that most things matter, ultimately, at all.