One famous Brooklyn boy has a big year coming up.
Fresh off this summer’s debut of “Back in the Day” (in which he starred alongside big shots like Alec Baldwin, Shannen Doherty and Danny Glover), Bensonhurst-born actor William DeMeo is gearing up for more than one 2017 release.
“There’s a lot happening,” the Bishop Ford graduate told this paper.
To start, he said, he will wrap up work on “The Life and Death of John Gotti,” directed by Kevin Connolly, in which he co-stars as Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, alongside John Travolta’s John Gotti.
“To work with John Travolta has been a dream come true,” DeMeo said. “It was amazing to work alongside a legend like Travolta. He is such a humble man.”
Co-stars aside, DeMeo looks forward to showing the world two sides to Sammy “the Bull.”
“I really got to show this tough, almost arrogant mob-enforcer side to him,” he said, “but then I got to really humanize him on the witness stand. There, he became much more soft spoken and humble. It was a challenge, but I loved it.”
To be released around the same time as the John Gotti movie, DeMeo said, is “First Kill,” an action flick directed by Steven C. Miller, currently in post-production, in which the Brooklyn boy co-stars as a cop named Richie, alongside A-list celebrities like Hayden Christensen and Bruce Willis.
“Working with those guys was such a great experience,” DeMeo said, noting that he has always been a fan of director Miller’s work, as well as Connolly’s. The film focuses around a police chief (played by Willis) who tries to solve a kidnapping that involves a bank robber holding a young boy hostage.
Also coming down the pipeline is a film called “Forgiving Kevin,” a project that hits close to home for the actor’s hometown about an all-American athlete with a promising future, a loving family, and a heroin addiction, and another called “Breaking Point,” in which he plays a Wall Street hot shot named Tommy DeCarlo, and stars alongside lifelong friend (and former “Sopranos” star) Joseph D’Onofrio.
Moving away from the big screen, DeMeo is also excited to announce his latest venture in television. Not only is he acting in commercials for Mount Airy Casinos, but he is also penning his own series called “The Neighborhood.”
“I’ve always said that there are so many stories to tell about growing up in our neighborhood that I could go on and on and on,” he said, “so, I put together a series that we start to shoot this spring, focusing on the different ethnicities growing up in Bensonhurst and Borough Park in the ’80s.”
The series – which, according to DeMeo, has already garnered attention from a number or networks – will have a “mob-like feel” similar to that of “The Sopranos.”
“I feel like ‘The Sopranos’ has been gone for a while, and people really want to see a mob-crime drama,” he said. “So, I’m really excited about that.”
To boot, DeMeo’s first-ever documentary, “Cruisin’ 86th Street,” a project that hones in on his hood’s own 86th Street in the ‘70s, ‘80s and early ‘90s, will also premiere next year.
“We’re adding a special guest star to that, which we’ll reveal soon,” he promised.
With so much on his plate, DeMeo told this paper that he is more thankful than ever.
“It’s been non-stop ever since ‘Back in the Day’ came out,” he said, “and it just really goes to show that you always have to believe in yourself. I always told myself that I could go to a higher level, and it seems like every year things just – thank God – keep getting better.”
DeMeo attributes much of his success to his roots.
“I think a lot of it has to do with my parents always telling me to never back down,” said the star, who just this September, returned home to help his friend Maria “the Ice Cream Girl” Campanella raise money for victims of the 2016 earthquakes in Italy, “and the borough I was raised in.”