I recently got the chance to talk to Danielle Burgio about her role in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’. Here, Danielle talks about what it was like working with Andrew Garfield and about her life as a stunt actress…
Hey Danielle. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, The Amazing Spider-Man’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It’s a reboot of the story that I think we all know by now. But what makes this film stand out, in my opinion, is the way the action is grounded in reality. It does an outstanding job in realistically demonstrating how Peter Parker goes from awkward teenager to super-hero.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Nicky’s Girlfriend, who is getting roughed up in the alley scene. I’m a small fish in a big sea but it was a huge honour to work on this film. And as they say in the biz, there are no small roles…only small actors. And I find that to be a very true statement.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I was recommended to the casting director and the director by a member of the crew and went in for an audition. Another Hollywood truth…it’s all who you know.
How would you say this film is different and unique to the original trilogy?
Stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong and his team took take this franchise to another level with their ability to film it live action. I personally love that this Peter is a skateboard junkie, it makes his agility and ability to handle his newfound strength very believable.
The film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Irrfan Khan and Campbell Scott – with Marc Webb onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
I only worked directly with Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield and was highly impressed by both of them. I was really taken by Andrew’s work ethic. I have worked with dozens of big actors but have rarely seen on work so hard and remain so humble. There was a lot of physicality in our scene and doing it over and over again through the wee hours of the night can get exhausting and annoying, but Andrew didn’t complain once. He gave it his all every take.
Let’s talk a bit about you Danielle. We should mention that you’re also an accomplished stunt performer as well. What made you want to get into these parts of the industry in the first place?
I’ve wanted to work in the movies for as long as I can remember. I started my career as a dancer knowing my skills would help me get my foot in the door. After a few years in NY where I worked on Broadway, I came to LA to pursue my dream of being an actor. I met some Hollywood stuntmen who thought my skill set of physical ability and acting skills would translate into a good stunt girl and I was given a rare opportunity. I had never even considered this as a profession but I knew that it was a highly competitive field and that I would have to be crazy to say no. And that was it. I was off on Mr Toads Wild Ride. One thing led to another and before you know it I had put my full focus into martial arts, gymnastics, driving and anything else that I could learn to propel my stunt career. Before long I had enough of a reputation that I was invited to audition to be the fight double for Trinity in ‘The Matrix’ sequels. After landing that job, my career went to a whole new level. It’s been an awesome ride. I’ve learned a lot and worked with so many amazing people.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in either?
Never give up on your dreams…but know what you’re getting into. This is one of the most competitive industries in the world. And it’s far from fair. If you’re not willing to put up with the politics and the fact that there is often no rhyme or reason, if you’re not wiling to put in 10 good years of hard work before “making it”, then you might want to reconsider. It will be heartbreaking at times for sure but it can also be an exhilarating life. If you truly love what you do then you find a way to love the roller coaster ride. Me personally? I can’t imagine any other life.
What’s the worst injury you’ve sustained so far?
Oh, I’ve been so lucky, as I have seen many friends face some scary incidences. For me the worst has been a couple of broken ribs, two sprained ankles at the same time and a nasty case of poison oak that got into my open skin after falling down a 90 foot hill.
You’ve been in a number of different films and TV series – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far and why?
There have been so many it’s hard to say. Let’s see, Harrison Ford is a legend and I was awestruck working beside him, Keanu Reeves has got to be the most generous man I have ever met, getting headbutted by Oprah was one of the highlights of my life, she was everything I hoped she would be, kind and strong with a great handshake. I had a big moment of admiration working with William H Macy and Betty White amazed me with her vitality, she’s a crack up. Most recently I worked with Sir Anthony Hopkins on a new film called ‘Hitchcock’….I’m speechless in describing how incredible that was for me. He takes the cake!
What’s is currently on your I-Pod right now?
My latest obsession is I’m Shakin’ by Jack White. I’m also on a rockabilly kick with Eilen Jewell and I’m having a jazz moment with Melody Gardot. Ben Harper is an all time favorite and he’s never far from my ears.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Lucille Ball, Quentin Tarantino and the Dalai Lama. The three of them at the same table would be sure to make a most memorable evening.
On your off-days, how do you like to kick back and relax?
With a box of dark chocolates and a bottle of wine. Since my career gives me so much excitement, I really love just hanging with my friends or cozying up on the couch with my husband and dog. Although since Los Angeles has so many things to do I’m always temped to find the next new adventure. Last week was the horse races, this week I’m going salsa dancing, next week who knows?
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I have been busy finishing up a short film that I wrote, directed and produced called ‘Lucy Falls’. It’s the story of a strong-willed, small town girl who finds herself in an abusive relationship. Through the help of her 6-year-old friend, she has an epiphany and turns it all around. Once it’s complete the plan is to take it on the festival circuit and raise money to fund a feature film. Other than that, it’s a last-minute world for me so I’ll just be on the roller coaster, enjoying the ride.
Thanks for the interview!