YouTube Premium, so far, has catered to younger audiences with popcorn entertainment and recognizable faces from their streaming platform (The Thinning: New World Order). But, the streaming giant’s latest series Wayne seems to be cut from different cloth. Created by Shawn Simmons and executive produced by screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland, Deadpool), Wayne pitches mature audiences a good old fashioned story about finding justice that will surely feature Reese and Wernick’s brand of action and comedy.
Among the colourful characters is a thug named Reggie, played by Francesco Antonio. Antonio is already establishing himself as a versatile talent. His performances, as well as his first foray into filmmaking, has earned him acclaim on the festival circuit; including international recognition in Spain and Las Vegas. His turn in Wayne marks his first recurring character on a television show.
I recently picked Antonio’s brain about acting and how he was able to maintain his unyielding performance, as well as what intrigued him about Wayne.
Addison Wylie: What about YouTube Premium’s Wayne intrigued you, and attracted you to the project?
Francesco Antonio: What attracted me to Wayne the most was the script. I remember reading the sides they sent me and thinking, “what is this?” It was raw, gritty, violent and yet at times I found myself laughing hysterically. Everyone involved did a fantastic job at creating a beautifully layered piece.
AW: In Wayne, you play the role of Reggie – one of the flunkies out to cause problems for the title character. How would you describe Reggie? Should at-home audiences see him as a genuine threat or comic relief?
FA: Reggie is a very troubled young man who is, without a doubt, a product of his environment. His comedic relief comes from his lack of education, and table manners, but – make no mistake – he is a ruthless and savage individual that is not to be messed with. He is Wayne ‘s most challenging opponent, and the relationship between the two is a show in itself.
AW: As an actor, is it difficult keeping up with the continuity of a recurring character on a television show?
FA: In short, YES, but it is all part of the fun and if you do the work, if you take the time to learn about the character, you should have no problem.
AW: You’re working with so many different directors on Wayne, including Drop Dead Gorgeous’ Michael Patrick Jann, Hot Tub Time Machine’s Steve Pink, and Coronation Street’s Tessa Hoffe. As a follow-up question, are you able to maintain consistent integrity to your performance while working with different directors on the same program?
FA: Each director has their own style for sure, but all of the directors I worked with on Wayne were fantastic and I had absolutely no problem maintaining the integrity of my performance with any of them. I was extremely grateful to work with such talented individuals.
AW: As someone who has seen you in Frank D’Angelo’s work (The Neighborhood, The Joke Thief), I hardly recognized you in the trailer for Wayne – your thug-like appearance is uncanny. What was your favourite part about that transformation?
FA: My favourite part about becoming Reggie? My gold teeth! But more important than the physical transformation was the psychological one. I would say that was my favourite part overall. Being able to transform into such a disturbing individual over and over again, while still maintaining a clear understanding of the origins of my behaviour – some complex and interesting stuff.
AW: With Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick attached to Wayne, is there a self-referential layer to the series? For instance, will the audience feel like they’re part of the story, or are they along for an unpredictable ride?
FA: I guarantee the audience will be so invested in the characters and storyline, they will definitely feel a part of the show. However, Wayne is an unpredictable ride worth taking; comparable to a new roller coaster at your favourite amusement park. Once you’re at the top, you may be scared, you may be excited, who knows, but regardless, there is no turning back. So buckle up, and keep your arms and feet inside at all times!
Wayne is now available to stream on YouTube Premium.
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