Now that Leo Hendrie is out of the picture, Dominic Russo might actually have a chance at reestablishing his romantic relationship with April Carver. Will he tell April how he feels or will he decide that April still needs more time to get over Leo’s tragic death?
With only one episode left before the season finale, CelebSecrets4U chatted with Richard Brancatisano, who plays Dominic Russo on the show, to get the scoop on Dom’s relationship with April and whether his continued feelings for her will change the dynamic of their friendship.
“Yes, I think it will, because with Leo dying he really had to become a friend again to April. He had to put his feelings on the back burner and put her feelings first, and her loss first. That has really changed how he feels, if he does think there’s a chance with April that’s totally changed the game for him now. He’s playing on a different field with different rules.
As we see him and April really getting along now, I don’t think that’s stopping his feelings for April at all; it’s only making him fall in love more with her. However, he’s in this place where there’s guilt, and it’s not fair game anymore. Before he was punching Leo and fighting over the girl, and it was all fair game. But now he’s gone, and I think this is a new experience for him. It’s probably a new experience for a lot of people.
It’s interesting watching his struggle and in the next two episodes you see how he deals with it, whether he stays and speaks the truth, or he tries to run or leave because he thinks that’s the best thing for April. Maybe not for himself, but he has to take one for the team because he knows it’s too hard for her to move on at the moment, and it’s too soon, and she can’t make a decision. He doesn’t want to force that, or put April in a crappy position because she’s already going through enough.”
In our interview, the actor talks about his favorite scene to shoot with Italia Ricci (April Carver), his love for music and his upcoming movie, Alex and Eve. He also shares a behind-the-scenes fun fact about the episode where he fights with Scott Michael Foster’s character, Leo — make sure to check out the full interview below!
On tonight’s episode, Ellie Pratt and April have a long-standing history of rivalry, despite being friends in college. Ready to put this behind her, April is delighted to spend time with Ellie during her visit to Boston – that is, until she discovers why Ellie is there to begin with.
Meanwhile, Beth is faced with troubling news that threatens her career and relationship.
Chasing Life airs Monday, September 21st at 9PM ET/PT on ABC Family.
Check out some clips and stills from tonight’s episode below.
CS4U: How do you think the fans feel about Dominic now, especially the ones that were rooting for April and Leo?
Richard Brancatisano: “Well, it’s tough to know because on one hand I say my fans have always been rooting for Dom and are constantly very supportive like that. But I also see a lot of fans on Facebook or whatever loving Leo, and I think it was really hard for them to lose Leo. I think Dominic is slowly winning people back.
I don’t think it’s also about winning. I know there has been a bit of competition there, Team Dominic and Team Leo, but they’re two very different guys, and I think they represent two different types of people in this world, and two different types of relationships you had, and two different circumstances that can arise if you’re in a position like April was in. Dominic and April was the relationship that didn’t work, that cancer broke. But at the same time that’s not to say that it can’t be fixed, or it can’t be resolved, and things can’t happen between them again.
I think the writers are slowly bringing it around and showing that. I don’t think it’s so much that they’ve got an agenda like they want Dominic back with April. I think it’s more about exploring relationships and how cancer affects those relationships, how honesty affects those relationships, and everything else.”
CS4u: What’s been your favorite scene to film between Dominic and April?
Richard Brancatisano: “I really liked the episode when April comes back to Dom’s place high on Ecstasy, and she sits there and she’s asking Dominic, “Do you want to feel good, too?” There’s a subtle undertone that if Dominic wanted maybe they could be a little more intimate, and I loved the way it played out and how Dominic made the right decision. He loves her so much and to be with her would mean everything, but he knew the right thing to do. I think that really showed Dominic’s true colors.
It was a fun scene to shoot, because I feel like every human being has been in a situation where they want something but to have that thing would be to take advantage of someone else. And they put themselves aside because they care about the other person more. It was fun as an actor to explore that, and to portray it for other people to see it, and to relate to it.”
CS4U: How did your musical talent come about for Dominic in the most recent episode of Chasing Life?
Richard Brancatisano: “That’s a good question. Well, it came about pretty organically. I think from the start, throughout the first season we all hung out and we get to know each other pretty well, and it had come up in conversation, and we had had a couple of karaoke nights here and there. People knew that that’s what I was doing and I did quite a lot of live gigs and played live music back in Sydney.
So, it was something they were always aware of. I guess by the second season they just thought it would be a good idea to implement it and include it as part of Dominic’s character, considering he’s a music journalist and there’s always been a guitar or two hanging around the apartment, so it was always something that could fit quite fluently into the story and to his character.
Italia had often suggested it because we sometimes play around off set, or pick up the guitar on set, and I think Italia was pushing for it for a bit. One day they just came down and said, “Oh, by the way, you’re singing in three episodes.” And I was thinking, “Oh, cool” and they told me what song I’d be playing and singing.
It happened to be a song that I really liked and I think it suited my voice and my range, which is always nice to feel comfortable singing and you can understand the sentiment behind it, and tell the story. So, that was really awesome to have that kind of a song.
I also loved the way it was implemented into the actual scene, how Dominic gets up on a whim and just plays, and there’s that moment between him and April. So, I’m really stoked that it became part of the episode.”
CS4U: Do you hope Dominic’s music is a storyline that will continue?
Richard Brancatisano: “Absolutely, yes! I would love for it to continue! I think there’s a lot of room for it to grow. I love music, I always have, it’s my first love, and so any time they want to include music in Dominic’s character and get more of him playing and singing, I’m totally up for it.”
CS4U: What was it like filming the fight scene between Dominic and Leo?
Richard Brancatisano: “It’s always fun whenever you get to do any action, and something physical like that, it’s always a good day on the set getting a stunt coordinator involved and us working out how we can make those couple of punches look real and have the impact that they deserve. I’ve done a few shows in the past with some fighting in them, but I haven’t done anything like that for a while, so it was good to get back into it. I really enjoy that kind of stuff.
I actually think on one of my upper cuts where I punch him in the stomach it’s really hard not to flinch. It’s okay the first time you do it, but I had it easy because he was punching me in the face, which meant he couldn’t punch me in the face, because obviously he’s not going to punch me in the face for real [laughs].
So, we fake it. He punched his landing, well not landing but it’s missing me by two inches or so, and then I’m hitting a table and the glass, which is fake glass, so that’s all fine for me. But to him I had to punch him in the gut, and when you do a stomach punch you generally make light contact. You punch and then you flick the stomach, and so there is contact there and he had to pretend like it wasn’t happening every time.
If you know someone’s going to do a full on punch in your gut, it’s really hard not to flinch, even just a little bit. On one of the takes, his left hand moved a little bit in front of his stomach, as it would, and my hand hit that. So, I punched his hand but I punched really hard. Because I wasn’t making a proper fist, since I didn’t want to actually punch him with a fist, I was going to flick his stomach a bit to make a noise just for a little bit of impact, but my finger was out and my finger got caught on his hand. So I ended up punching him and I was like, “Ow.” He was the one who was meant to feel it, and I’m going, “Oh, my pinky hurts.” [Laughs].”
CS4U: Will we see more of Dom and Danny hanging out?
Richard Brancatisano: “Oh, I hope so. Abhi and I are really tight outside of work. He was literally just over here just before the call started [laughs]. I told him, “You have to leave now because I’ve got to make a phone call,” and he’s like, “Yes, dude, I’ll just sit here.” But I couldn’t concentrate if he was just sitting here. He was literally just over putting down a self tape. We help each other out. We do auditions all the time and just hang out on a regular basis.
I think the script writers see that and when there’s an energy and a vibe between two people I think they love to write it in and to utilize that. That’s probably what happened with me and Abhi. We got to bro out a lot in this season, which was heaps of fun, working on set with each other when you’re such good mates. It’s always a good time.”
CS4U: Can you tell me a little bit about your upcoming project Alex and Eve and what drew you to the project?
Richard Brancatisano: “Alex and Eve is a feature that I shot in Australia last year. It’s going to be released, October 14th and premieres on October 22nd. It was a great project and was so fun. I was in hiatus on Chasing Life and when the script came across and I read it, I found myself laughing out loud as I was reading it.
The themes in the script were universal, but also very relevant right now, being about two people that fall in love but they have different traditions, different family beliefs, in particular their religious beliefs. The story’s really about generations moving past and moving forward, and trying to allow love to win, and allow love to be the deciding factor of whether two people should be together, and not traditions, past beliefs, and these ideas that we have about other people that we just don’t know are true.
It’s a Romeo and Juliet in a way, but in certain ways more relevant to now being between two different families of different religions. It’s done in a very funny way, which is always a great way to bring up sometimes touchy subjects. That’s what comedians do, and that’s why this script was so good. It was a blast to shoot back in Australia as well.”
CS4U: If you could write an article in a newspaper about anything, what would you want to write about?
Richard Brancatisano: “Wow, that’s good! I would like to write about the human mind and consciousness and how we think and better ways as human beings to think about things, or to not think, and just how, I don’t know, to become a better, nicer, more efficient human being. That’s something I’m really interested in.
So, if I was a journalist I’d probably do a lot of research on that kind of stuff and try and write some stuff that I found interesting and hope that other people found it interesting, and could use it practically in their everyday life to make life a little smoother, and more enjoyable, and better for everyone.”
CS4U: Do you have a favorite TV show you’re currently watching, or looking forward to watching when it premieres in the fall?
Richard Brancatisano: “Yes. I watched the last season of Eastbound & Down again. I finished it last year, but then I re-watched it again and Season 4 of that show is just amazingly well done. To me it’s fantastic. I’m halfway through Wet Hot Summer. I watched Bob Durst The Jinx recently, and that took it to another level. That was something I really enjoyed.”
Photos: Craig Sjodin/ABC FAMILY