PHOTOGRAPHY BY NOLWEN CIFUENTES
STYLING BY ERIC OWES
INTERVIEW BY KATINA GOULAKOS
You might want to skip Tony scene-stealing performance as Ozzy Osborne in the Mötley Crüe bio-pic but then you’d be missing out on the birth of who we think at Imagista is one of the next best actors on the scene. Imagista talks life, acting and Ninja Turtles Tony Cavalero.
Imagista: Do you find your military education has helped you in your career as an actor?
Absolutely! I find the discipline and my resulting unique perspective coming out of military school are the biggest assets in Hollywood I gained through my experience at VMI. Not many folks have come out this way from VMI (exceptions being Dabney Coleman and Fred Willard; two geniuses in their own right). Also, Every time I walk into a casting director’s office they comment on how oddly shiny my shoes there and request I not salute them anymore.
Imagista: You have been in a lot of great projects including playing Ozzy Osbourne in the Netflix biopic Dirt, what was that experience like for you?
It was totally surreal. The Dirt was actually the first book I read after getting to LA and that Ozzy story is infamous! When I got the audition I was like, “Holy cannoli, this is epic, but I don’t do an Ozzy impression.” After watching some old 80’s Ozzy interviews, applying eyeliner, and putting on a heather blue kimono my wife let me borrow, I ended up getting the part! (P.S. I had to skype with the director with my butt out in a hotel room with my wife in the room and my in-laws next door.) When I arrived on set, Jeff Tremaine and all the actors (Doug, Colson, Iwan, and Dan) were so kind and extremely excited to shoot that scene. It made me feel so welcomed for a part that only shot for a few hours one day. Total dream!
Imagista: You play Keefe Chambers in The HBO comedy, can you tell me a little bit about this character?
Keefe is so rad to get to play as I usually portray very high energy characters (like Dewey in School of Rock and Ozzy). Keefe, however, is an eccentric weirdo who has recently been saved from a life as a satanic cybergoth. I always thought of him as experiencing each moment for the first time. He’s sweet and his “bestest pal/savior” is Kelvin (Adam Devine).
Imagista: The series is filled with a lot of other talents like Danny McBride, John Goodman, and Adam Devine, what was it like working with such an impressive cast?
Again, real dream-come-true stuff here! Adam and I have known each other for a while and it was amazing to finally get to do something this badass together. We really got to hang/workout a bunch and we’re basically brothers now. I grew up on Roseanne and my dad had Raising Arizona on loop, so it was awesome to meet John and work with him. He is just as sweet as you would think. Danny is a special kind of genius! He is the nicest man, which is surprising because his characters have a roughness to them. His brain works in hilariously brilliant ways and I’m just in awe of him.
Imagista: Are you working on anything else that you want to tell us about?
Right now I’m working on enjoying spending time with my wife and our three rescue pups. We love good meals (Katsu-Ya Studio City, Tacos 1986, and Barrel and Ashes), books (just finished this Danny McBride recommended book, My Best Friend’s Exorcism), long dog walks, and TV shows (Succession, Mindhunter, How to Become On Becoming A God In Central Florida, Catastrophe, Mrs. Maisel, and more!). Also, my wife Annie and I are working on a comedy podcast/web series right now called SLOP THE PODCAST. I’m excited to head back to Charleston for season 2 in 2020!!!
Imagista: Besides being a badass actor, you are also a black belt in Karate, that’s really cool! How did you get into that?
I loved the ninja turtles (Raph was my fave based solely on the fact that red was my favorite color). I was a chubby kid and I was actually taking dance classes, but I couldn’t do both so I picked Tae Kwon Do. It was a fantastic experience as my brother and mom both took classes. Our instructors were awesome role models (Elsa Cordero and Arlene Limas), they were these badass ladies that were world champions and really inspired us to be the best at a young age.
Imagista: Can you tell me something that we can’t find about you on google?
My wife and I have been weekly volunteers at CHLA for almost 5 years now. It’s a very special place for us, so go donate now!
Imagista: What can readers expect to see from you in the future?
More partial nudity?