Toughing It Out
For NYPD detective Bo Dietl, movies are a mysterious business. "I went to a frigging movie the other day - 'Antz,'" he said at a recent press event. With impeccable Queens logic, he asked "Who wants to see a movie about a colony of ants? Gimme a break. 'Hey I'm a worker ant, hey I'm a soldier ant!' This is what they are making in Hollywood?"
Dietl's the legendary cop who in the early '80s helped crack one of the worst crimes in New York history -- the rape and mutilation of a nun in an East Harlem convent. But lately, he has been rubbing elbows with Hollywood types, as executive producer of "One Tough Cop," based on his autobiography. And after a 13-year development process, during which he met with Sylvester Stallone, Al Pacino and Andy Garcia, he finally chose Stephen Baldwin as his on-screen incarnation.
Tired of being typecast as a sexy goofball in movies like "Bio-Dome," Baldwin campaigned actively for the role. "I saw this as an opportunity you only get once as an actor," he said "At the end of my first meeting with Bo I said 'I'm the guy you want. I will become you, and if you don't see that you're a f***ing idiot.'"
The tactic worked. Baldwin got cast, and set about immersing himself in the role of Dietl. He put on 30lbs of muscle and learned how to perform his own stunts. "Stephen Baldwin was possessed with the character of Bo Dietl," said the film's director, Bruno Barretto.
He even mastered Dietl's idiosyncratic speech patterns, packed with multi-syllabic, made-up words, like "fudgitate" and "culturate" -- a.k.a. "Bo-isms." "I .was extremely surprised he could turn himself into me," said Dietl. "But he had the Bo talk down. He became the character."
-- Sean Doorly
(Written for Premiere Magazine Online)