Wasted Talent (2018) Movie Script

- When I was first
approached to do
the documentary, I was
a little apprehensive,
obviously being a
former police officer
and they said why don't
just take a meeting
and see if you guys, you
know, get on the same page.
And I spoke to him.
I told him if we were
to move forward
with this, it could not
under any circumstances
be a puff piece and you know,
there might be
people calling you
a scumbag, piece of shit
as well as people
saying you deserve
a second change and
he was okay with that.
So, once I found out
he was okay with it
and it wasn't going
to be a puff piece,
I decided, you know, I think
it would be a good idea
doing my due diligence
on what actually happened.
Once we decided to
move forward, I really
dug in and did my due
diligence on the case
and realized that a lot
of stuff that I perceived
was through tabloids
and the newspaper
and a lot of other people
had the same perception.
So basically, it's my
job and hopefully
when you leave here,
you have an opinion
of other either way.
That he either deserves
a second chance
or he got out because
he is who he is.
- How you doin'.
My name's Lillo.
I'm an addict.
- Hi, Lillo.
- You know, I went from
the kid in the Bronx Tale.
You know, rising star
from the neighborhood.
Starring in the classic
movie to a junkie.
- Five a.m.
December 10th, 2005.
Off duty New York police
officer, Daniel Enchautegui
responded to what sounded
like a break in
at a neighbor's home.
The burglary erupted
into a gun fight
with Broncato and
his accomplice.
- They said the
police officer is dead.
He was villainized in
the press immediately.
- We all
remember Lillo Brancato.
He was such a rising star.
Acted with De Niro,
James Gandolfini.
But his career came to a
screeching halt one night
when he was involved
in a crime that ended
with a police officer dead.
- So Lillo, tell me
about how it was growing
up in Yonkers.
How about your childhood?
Family and all that stuff.
- We were very middle class.
Blue collar family.
It was a very tight knit
It was all, it was all Italian.
It was all Italians
with the exception
of my next door neighbor
which was Puerto Rican.
But pretty much,
it was all Italian.
There was a lot goin'
on in the streets.
You know, we were playin'
stick ball, football.
Lot of that goin' on.
Parents yellin' from the
window to get inside.
You know, yeah, it was a
really, really good childhood.
Lot of great memories
from my childhood.
- Was there ever type
of drug use back then?
Not with you.
Did you ever witness
any of that stuff
or was that even a thought or--
- Absolutely not, absolutely.
I mean, you would hear
about things, you know,
in cautionary things,
cautionary stuff in school.
- Right.
- You know about drugs,
but that's something that
wasn't really prevalent
in my life or something
that I ever witnessed.
Or I really never
paid attention to it,
only until later on in my
life when it, you know,
the opportunity to do drugs
started presenting itself.
- You're on Jones Beach one day
with your brother--
- Yeah, brother, like I was
like maybe 10, 15 of us.
- Uh huh,
then what happened?
- It was the day after
Fourth of July.
July fifth, 1992, and
you know, we just decided
let's go to the beach tomorrow.
We used to go out to
Jones Beach, field four
and that's a drive.
Yonkers with traffic, it could
take you
an hour to get out there,
sometimes even more.
So we went out there.
We just went out,
school just ended,
so this is the beginning
of summer vacation
and little did I
know that that day
on the beach was gonna
totally change my life.
Now, I had heard
about The Bronx Tale
and I heard that there
was open call auditions
and that they were
looking for someone
with no previous
acting experience
to play Robert De Niro's son
and a film called A Bronx Tale
which Robert De Niro would
make his directorial debut.
And you know, to go
back to what I
was just sayin',
I thought in my mind,
that would be pretty
being that people tell
me that I look like him,
but I said, naw,
there's now way I'll
ever be in a movie.
I mean, it's a movie
on the big screen.
Where the long shot, middle
class, blue collar family,
it just doesn't
happen every day.
And my brother, I hear
my brother screaming.
I didn't know what happened.
I ran out of the water
and my brother said,
"hey, you know, remember
that movie we heard
"about, that
Robert De Niro movie?
"Well, this guy, he's out
here right, he's out here
"on the beach today
looking for kids
"to play the part and I told him
"that you look like him."
And the guy's name
is Marco Greco
and my brother,
and the guy said,
he told my brother,
"you're right, he
"does look like him."
And I just kind rose
to the occasion.
I knew, I knew this was my shot.
So, he didn't have to
ask me to do anything.
I just started
doin' the face and
the whole thing and
are you talkin' to me
and the guy's like oh
wow, this guys' great.
I love this guy.
So, it was a Sunday, July fifth.
He said usually we're closed
at the Belmont Playhouse.
"Usually we're closed
today, but I like you."
he goes, can you meet
me in the Bronx tonight
at this time and for
some reason, I just knew.
I knew on the ride home
from the beach, I
just knew that something
was gonna happen
from this situation.
I went home, I told my mom.
It was my next door
neighbor's birthday.
My aunts were there
and then, ah, you know.
Her son read for the
part and she was like,
oh, you know, so and
so read for the part.
You're not gonna get it.
They've got so many kids reading
and you know, it's big.
So I said, well,
I can only try, right.
So, I went in that night.
My two friends drove
me down there
and the guy, Marco, was there,
and I'd never seen anything
in the screen play,
in screen play form.
The guy just gave me the scene
and he said, "have you
ever done this before,"
and I said, "no, I've
never done this before."
he said,
"well, here's the scene.
"Just read it, see what it is
"and I'll come
back in a little bit.
"Let me know when you're ready
"and you'll read it."
And I remember
just lookin' at it
and just looked like something
that was familiar to
me and something
that I possibly would
be capable of doing.
It was the bathroom
scene when I'm shaving.
In the original script, De
Niro's shaving
and I ask him, dad, let
me ask you a question
about the interracial dating,
you know.
What his thoughts were on that
and the whole thing and
that was the audition scene.
And I read it and I
just knew what to do.
It just seemed like it
came naturally to me
and I told the guy,
Marco, I'm ready
and I read it and the
guy was blown away.
He was like, wow,
that was great.
That was the best
anyone's ever read it.
And then he started asking
me to do other scenes.
He said, "why don't
you try this scene,"
and, "do this scene."
And the character in the
movie, his name was Calogero.
My father's Sicilian
and so is the character.
My father is from the
province of Agrigento
in Sicily in a little town
called Naro
and in Italy, you have a
lot of these little towns
that have saints that
come from that town.
- Right.
- The saint from
my father's town
was San Calogero
and my father even went to
the reform school, San Calo,
when they used to shorten it.
But you know,
just for like that part,
that role in that movie
was just meant for me.
- It was all lined up.
- Yeah, all the stars aligned
and I was like, wow, man.
He was like, that was great.
Then we exchanged
numbers and he said right
before I left,
he said, "call me in
"about a week," you know.
"Call me in about a week
or so and I'll tell you
"how you did."
And he said a week, that
seemed kinda distant.
Maybe I thought
maybe he didn't like me
as much as I thought
he liked me.
I was working for
a lawyer at the time.
It was my summer vacation,
summer job.
I was filing.
My father's a builder.
The lawyer was did the
closings for my father,
so he was a family
friend and took on
a summer job at his office and I
used to file stuff,
answer phones
and I came home
from work that day
and some woman
had called on the phone.
She seemed very professional
and when I heard
her voice, she asked
for Lillo and that's
also my father's name and
she said, "can I please speak
"to Lillo Brancato," and I
said, "yeah, hold on, I'll
"get my dad for you."
And she said, "are you
Lillo," and I said yeah.
She goes, "no, no, I think
I want to speak with you."
She said, I'm so and so.
I work in down in
Tribeca Casting
and we saw your tape
and we loved it.
We wanna meet and
we would like for you
to come down and I was
like, wow, you know.
Now, it's started becoming real.
The next day I went down
there with my father
and my uncle and was very
'cuz you know, like when
I go down there, I've
never done, remember,
like I said, I've
never done this before.
I've never been to an audition.
I don't know the whole process.
I'm not familiar with
any of this.
So, when I went down
there, my father
and uncle walked
in the room with me
and there was like
40 kids there reading
for the part and you got
kids in the corner reading
their lines, talking to
the wall like real actors.
Guys that really wanna do this.
I was so intimidated
and so overwhelmed
by the whole thing,
but I just figured
what, they liked
what I did, so I'm not
gonna change what I did.
I'm gonna just keep
going in that direction.
Obviously they liked me.
I made it to this point.
So, I went in and I read.
They liked me again.
They said, "listen, can
you come back tomorrow."
And I kept getting a
call back, call back
and as that happened,
I noticed
that there was a lot
less kids in the room
and at that point,
everyone was introduced
to me, you know,
on a first name basis
and then one day they
said we're gonna
go upstairs and meet Bob
and I had already
met Chazz Palminteri.
Seen him in the
building and he would
always congratulate me.
Saying thank you
for coming down.
We really love what
you're doin'.
Just keep it up.
Very inspiring,
very inspiring stuff.
And then they said we're gonna
go upstairs and meet Bob.
I said okay.
I just thought Bob is
maybe a script supervisor
or someone, I didn't
know who it was.
So, the way it was
set up, I come in
through the door back there.
I'm De Niro.
He's got his back to me
and Chazz is right there.
So, I can see Chazz.
I can see his profile
and then he looked over
and they said, they said,
the door's a little open.
It's open and,
"Bob, Lillo's here to meet you."
And Bob's you know,
turnin' around
and then he walked over,
like you know.
I mean, you can't
explain that moment
in words and just like
when he came up
to me and you know, I
remember he'd just finished
doing a movie,
Mad Dog and Glory,
so he had that reddish
hair that he had,
so it wasn't like De Niro,
the De Niro that I knew
- Right.
- from seeing on TV
but it was still De Niro.
That's still the face.
- Right.
- We hope they're not
fooled by his fame.
He's an actor, he's acting
on that stand.
- What was the
first initial reaction
with other cops,
the guys who worked
it when the story broke
the next morning?
- It was anger, frustration.
- Today,
if you mentioned Lillo
Brancato's name
to other cops, what would
be the reaction?
- I think most cops
would be hate.
You know, yeah,
most cops would be
just flat out hate.
You know, it's just really
one of those unfortunate
things that can happen.
Life can be very simple,
but somehow us grownups,
we can complicate things.
- Mmh hmm.
- And that was
the product of
something that just
should never have happened.
- What do
you think Pat would,
what do you think his
reaction would be to this?
- Pat would love his
head on a platter.
- Right.
- You know, especially,
Pat mentioned he
can be very animated
and he's pro-cop to the max
and that what's you
want in somebody
that's gonna represent you.
But even cops screw up.
- Right.
- And there's cops
that have hit bottom, whether
it be alcohol or drugs.
And he's human, this is one
of the flaws of being human.
- So police
officer to police officer.
Why did you think it
was important to come on
and do this documentary?
- Because the
young police officer
that lost his life did
something that I think
any other police officer
would have done
and it's unfortunate.
Lillo Brancato is out
and living his life
and still can do things and
the young officer is not.
- The night the, actually
it was in the morning
when it happened.
It was about 5:20 a.m.
I was in my crime scene office.
We received a phone call
that an officer
had been shot and
he was likely to die.
When I got there, the scene was,
there was a lot of cops
around the peripheral
because there was, he was,
the incident happened in
the middle of the block
- Mmh hmm.
- And it went up
to towards Westchester Avenue.
- Mmh.
- So there were a lot
of cops around the
peripheral of the scene.
They had it marked off
and the cops actually
did a great job in preserving
the scene
because there was a lot
of snow on the ground.
- Mmh hmm.
- If you were in actually,
in Daniel's apartment,
you could look
right out his,
he lived in a basement.
You could look right
out his window
and you could see
the window where Bancato
and Armento tried to get in
and they broke the window.
It was directly across.
He had a clear view
and he actually went
outside and went
to approach them
in the driveway.
So, initially you
don't know exactly
how it went down because
Armento was removed.
He ran, him and Brancato ran
towards Westchester Avenue
and they both left a blood trail
'cuz Daniel actually
hit them with every shot
the he fired.
He hit the both of
them with every shot.
He didn't miss them.
So, a couple of the
bullets and fragments
actually came out.
Now, they both left
separate blood trails
going down towards Westchester.
Lillo actually made
it to the vehicle
that I believe was a Durango.
It was on the corner,
right, parked
right around the
corner on Westchester
and there was blood all over it
and that's where the
officers had grabbed him.
- Mmh hmm.
- Armento was short of that.
He dumped his gun right away.
He was where the
cops grabbed him
and they were wearing
really thin rubber gloves.
- Mmh hmm.
- I mean, you don't
even see cheap gloves
like that anymore
in the emergency room.
These were really, really
cheap rubber gloves.
And there was a couple
of them over there
where Armento was
caught and there was one
back at the window
sill where they tried
to get in and that's where
we got Lillo's DNA from.
From that particular glove.
It'd be hard to get into the
jury's mind.
- Right.
- I don't know,
it might have come down
to how the judge explained
the law to them
- Mmh hmm.
- that they didn't
find him guilty.
- Right.
- But they found him guilty.
I was satisfied that at
least they found him guilty
of the burglary and he
did do some time.
- Right.
- So hopefully he
had time to reflect upon the
people you hang out with.
- Right.
- So, I wrote
on December 10th, 2005,
the assigned, being me,
along with Police Officer
Demato, I was training him
at the time, responded to 3117
Arnot Place
to assist Detective Schwartz
with a the sheer number
of the Bronx Homicide
Squad and the department,
excuse me, the department
of a police involved
shooting in which
the North duty MOS and two
perpetrators exchanged gunfire.
The off duty MOS was
removed to Jacobi Hospital
prior to CSU arrival where
he expired from his wound.
He was shot once in the chest.
The perpetrators were
also removed to Jacobi
prior to my arrival and are
reportedly in critical condition
and then I described the way,
the services that I provide
in terms of collecting
the evidence.
I think the fact that
he was who he was,
it might have had
an affect on the jury.
Might have had an affect on
the way the whole case went.
The same thing
if you're in a car,
somebody has a gun, if the
police come and stop you,
they pull you out and
you have the gun on you,
the only person gets
charged is the person
with the gun on them,
but if that person throws
the gun down on the
floor, now everybody goes.
- Right.
- It's the same
with narcotics, guns.
So, being that he was
involved in the burglary
and a police officer
was killed, he should
have been charged
and that's the law.
- Took me awhile to
decide to go forward
in a case like this.
I mean, so emotionally charged.
Obviously, a police
officer is dead.
He was villainized in
the press immediately.
Made to be a monster.
I have an astounding
respect for police officers.
I've represented, as you know,
- Sure.
- a lot of police officers
in some very difficult times
and I pride myself in helping
out members of the force
when they need me.
This was obviously
a difficult decision
for me to make,
but it was a decision
that I was able to
make pretty comfortably
once I got to know
Lillo and once I got
to know the facts of this case.
- Sure and what
was your first impression
of Lillo at that time?
- A sweet heart.
Really a sweet heart of a guy.
Not the guy I read about.
Not the arrogant, you know,
sort of abusive individual
who was callous
or anything like that.
He was a sweet heart who
clearly had lost control
of his life,
lost control of his life
in the sense that drugs
began to overwhelm him,
take away the person
that he was that made him
so successful as a young boy,
make him so loved
by so many people.
- Mmh hmm.
- A lot of people
really love Lillo Brancato.
A lot of people care
about Lillo Brancato
and that's why,
I think, this was
so shocking to so many people.
But as individual as a
person, you know, look, I
was a prosecutor.
I've been a defense
lawyer a long time.
I like to not judge people
based on Google searches.
I don't judge people based
on third party analysis,
but on my own
impressions and I had
some tough questions for
him when I first met him,
but it was clear to me that
there was
a good soul inside that
sort of hardened shell
that had been eroded
by years of drug abuse.
After that case was
resolved, I still represent
the many cops
- Right.
- in their times of need,
the so-called infamous
rape cops in New York
who were acquitted of
rape after being vilified
for two years in the
press as rapists.
And the funny part
about that is,
the same people who
were giving me
a hard time during
the Brancato case
were the first ones
to call me after
the rape cop
acquittal telling me
how much I've done
for the boys in blue
and how much they
appreciated my help.
So, but that's all part of being
a lawyer.
I don't take it personally.
Once I got to them
about the facts
of the case and
the person, Lillo,
it was clear to me that this was
an individual who had
no legal responsibility
or moral responsibility
for the death
of that police officer,
as tragic as it was.
Another individual did and
he's rightfully serving
the rest of his life in jail.
That's Armento.
- A lot of people
don't realize that house
was his buddy's house.
So, that's important to know.
He wasn't randomly going
around the neighbor
trying to break into a home.
I mean, this was Kenny's house.
His buddy who had
died just recently
but Lillo didn't know it,
but he had been
there hundreds of times before
- Right.
- where Kenny supplied
him with narcotics
to get his fix.
He went there with
Armento that night
and when he went
there, they made
a sufficient amount
of noise where
it's startled, awaken
the neighbor who happened
to be a New York
City Police Officer.
Of course,
Lillo didn't know that.
Lillo didn't know Steve
Armento was carrying a gun.
That was proven in the trial.
And the police
officer fired first
and Armento returned fire and
all this was obviously
of great surprise
to Brancato who was
there to do what he'd
done a hundred times before.
So, there was
no legal liability.
I mean, it's easy
to lump it together
with another individual when
a police officer's shot.
That's our instinct as a
civilized society
and it's right in that
sense to have
a visceral reaction like that,
because when a
police officer dies,
it's tragic, if anyone dies,
it's tragedy.
- Right.
- But someone who
gave their life to
serve the community
as police officers often do,
it really creates
a righteous sense
of indignation and outrage.
- Sure.
- That's a good
visceral reaction,
but we also as
a civilized society
have to step back and look at
the true facts and when I did
in this case and
when the jury did
in this case, they came to
the only right conclusion,
which was Lillo Brancato
was not responsible
for this police officer's death.
- 2005 when the whole
incident happened, you
had uniqueness of
interviewing Lillo's family.
And you got to speak to his mom
and what was that
whole thing like?
- Well, I think that
the climate at the time
as a journalist,
I remember first of all,
when he got arrested,
- Mmh hmm.
- and it was a few months
before, it was in June
2005 when he was arrested
for an uncontrolled substance
- Mmh hmm.
- And I remember
that made a lot of
headlines because any time,
- What were you
doing it for at the time,
if you don't mind me asking.
- At the time, I remember
thinking I knew who he was.
He was certainly someone
who had a great background.
He was a New Yorker, you know.
He was from Yonkers.
- Right.
- And I just remember
hearing, oh, here's
this guy, he got
into drug problems.
He's probably another
celebrity with drug problems.
We've done many
interview like that
and then when I
found out what happened
in December 2005,
it was shocking,
but to be suddenly
charged with murder,
- Right.
- and also charged
with robbery was also
something very, very serious
and then it became not
just another celebrity
caught up in drugs.
It became something
very, very serious
and it was making
headlines everywhere.
- Now, how
did it come to pass
that you got to, months
later, interview Lillo's mom
and how did that whole thing
- I knew Mel Sacks and
Mel Sacks was the attorney
at the time.
I knew Mel very well.
I had interviewed
him many times.
I'd interview many of his
clients through they years.
He was probably, you know, if
not the best
or one of the best for sure
criminal defense attorneys
- Right.
- in the country,
not just in New York
and Mel and I had
a number of discussions
and he reached out to
me and said, "I would
"like to give
an exclusive to you
"with Lillo Brancato's
mother," and I thought, wow.
I'll take it.
It was interesting
as a journalist
because here I
was interviewing her
and I was looking
right across from her
and you could tell
that this was a woman
who was clearly heartbroken,
who was so devastated.
I thought she'd put a really
human face
on Lillo Brancato
for the public.
Our interview was shown
all over the world.
So many people
saw that interview
and the mother, I thought,
was very heartfelt.
Very compassionate
and you couldn't help
but feel heartbroken
for the mother.
- Right.
- I remember her saying
to me, "my son got a call, was
going off
"to a Christmas party and
then I didn't see him again."
And you could
just tell that this was
this mother who
just loved her son.
She adopted him
- Right.
- when he was a young boy.
Really cared for him
and knew he got
mixed up in drugs,
but was just shocked,
shellshocked by everything
that was happening.
Clearly, he has paid his dues.
I hope he uses this
time also to inspire
other children not
to take the wrong path.
Not to get mixed up in drugs.
And I also hope
that he uses the time
to also honor
law enforcement, too.
Because I think he can
have a powerful message
and inspire other
kids and he's also
a great actor.
I admired his acting back then
and I think he's,
you always want
the best for someone.
You want someone
to have another chance
and maybe there's
an Academy award
in his future, you never know.
- It was one day, Robert
De Niro said to me,
he said, "Lillo,
tomorrow I want you
"to dress like
you're doing to church.
"Wear a collared
shirt and I want you
"to dress nice."
He said, "we're gonna
do what's called
"a screen test."
Now, I didn't know what that was
but you know, we're
gonna do a screen test
and what we're gonna do
is we're gonna actually
put you on film because film
may make you look different.
It may make you look,
you know what I mean.
- Right.
- And I said, yeah.
No problem.
I remember I wore black slacks.
Button down, white button
down shirt, black shoes
and I didn't know what I
was gettin' myself into.
At this point in time, I
thought, you know, I'm C.
I'm C, so I'm just sittin'
there, I'm so nervous.
I'm just sittin' there.
My father's sittin' next to me.
And then, I feel
someone tap my shoulder
and I look and said,
"hey, how you doin', man."
And he said to me, he
said, "hey, how are ya."
He goes, "I'm Phil Barbarino."
He says, "I'm reading
for C also."
He goes, "it's me and you."
Whoo, when he told me
that I was like, oh wow.
I guess I'm not the only, I
guess I'm not the only guy
and I know he got to this point
because he
was good also.
- Right.
- There was something that
got him to this point.
- Right.
- Phil Barbarino was
the kid who shot Sonny
at the end of the movie.
- Right.
- Initially they were
gonna make him C and he was 21,
so the movie would have
been a little different.
It would have been him
at 21 and his friends
would have been
around that age also,
- Right.
- so they would have
been a little older.
Who, by the way,
still a very good friend
of mine to this day, Phil.
I remember, we did
the scene when Sonny
let me borrow his
car and when I gave
it back to him, he found
something under
the engine, under the
hood that he thought
I planted in his car
and nearly got physical
with me and wanted to know
where'd you go in my car
and I begged and pleaded,
Sonny, I'm sorry.
I didn't do anything, I'm
tellin' ya'.
I just went to pick up the girl.
That was the scene.
So, Phil read the scene first.
Had the doors closed.
All I can do is hear him.
Me and my father
were right outside
and all you hear is Chazz,
"where the fuck
"did you go in my car!"
And you hear slap, slap.
You can hear him
slapping this poor guy.
He's slapping the
crap out of him.
What did I sign up
for here, you know,
'cuz I'm thinking
after he's done, I
gotta go in there and
he's gonna beat me up
the same way.
So, Phil came out and
he's all disheveled.
His hair was messed up.
His shirt was ripped.
He had hand prints on his face.
So, I'm like, wow, boy,
they really worked you over.
They worked him over.
So, I'm like, nervous.
Now I'm nervous and
you're gonna beat me
on top of being nervous.
So, I go in there and I,
camera's roll
and we did the
scene and they didn't put
their hands on me once.
So, all weekend I
didn't hear anything.
I remember it
was a Sunday night.
This lady, Robin, called
me and said, "Lillo, Bob
"would like to see you
I said okay and I
knew this was gonna
be the day.
My life was gonna change
in one way or another.
So, I went down
there with my father.
Robert De Niro, his office
was on the eighth floor.
We used to go to
the seventh floor.
The eighth floor,
you needed the key,
but he had like a balcony
where he could look down.
So now, he would come
out, he knew my father
at this point and he's such
a polite guy, Robert De Niro.
He used to call
my father, Mr. Brancato
and he said, "hey, how
you doin', Mr. Brancato."
They used to speak in Italian.
- Yeah.
- They were right around
the same age, also, you know.
So, he said hello to my father
and he said, "Lillo, come up."
So, I go upstairs
and you got Chazz
and you got De Niro
and De Niro's, he's
just lookin' at me
and he says, he
was making his face and
he says, "well, we liked
"very much what you did."
Now, that was ambiguous.
- Right.
- It could have been we
liked very much what
you did, but you know.
- Right.
- Or we like very much
what you did and
you got the part.
Thank you, Bobby,
you know, thank you.
And to Chazz, thank you so much.
I said, "is it okay if
I go tell my father?"
And when I went to
tell my father, he
came outside with
me to the balcony.
Had his arm around me
and I told my father.
I said, "Pop," I said,
"I got the part."
And my father just looked
up, went like that.
And I said, "you mind if I use
your phone?
"I'd like to call my mother."
And Robert De Niro said,
"yeah, go ahead."
He said, "go use the
one in the bathroom.
"You'll have a little privacy."
So, I went and I
called my mother
and I heard my mother screaming.
My aunts were there, everybody,
were all going crazy,
he got the part.
Everybody's going
crazy, you know,
'cuz my mom, she told everybody.
My whole street,
everybody was outside.
Balloons and people whistling,
"Lillo, congratulations!"
I'm thinking to
myself, life can't
get any better than this.
It was like perfect, man.
Like living a dream.
- Biggie said it best,
more money, more problems.
- Right.
- You know what I'm saying.
- Right.
- You know, once you
start to get in that
money and the fame
and things are coming
at you real fast, you
gotta keep up.
- Right.
- And sometimes, trying to
keep up, you might fall.
We had access to everything.
We was on defjam, we
was rollin' with rush.
You know what I'm sayin'.
They gave us
everything we wanted.
You know what I'm sayin'.
To the models, the club life.
Even before I met Jay, you
know what I'm sayin', I
was always goin' to the clubs
and goin'
to joints like Mars and
underground clubs
where hip hop kids
weren't even allowed in,
so I was always
dibbling and dabbing
in certain crowds, but it's
always there
in New York City.
It's not hard to find.
- I met Lillo in Italy,
in Milan Italy, I think,
at a, I used to do a
little bit of print work
and he did some
print work as well
and so I met him back
stage at a fashion show
and then I met him
again in New York City
and we used to hang
around in the clubs
a little bit and you
know, he's a good dude.
I've never actually get crazy.
I mean, he was just
of the most amiable,
just very relaxed, authentic
people you wanna meet.
He was just of those
kinda guys that you
have an instant liking to him.
You can understand
why they canst him
in the film because he
was very, you know, he
was likable, he is likable.
I was completely taken
back because it
was unlike him, you know.
And when I hear more
details about the story,
then I started to understand
how someone like Lillo
could have found himself
in that situation
and sort of guilty by
osmosis or whatever it is,
but so yeah, I was surprised.
Celebrities, it hijacks
the human ego
and it gives people
a sense of hubris
where they just feel
that they're untouchable
and you know, this can't
happen to me.
- How you doin', my name's
Lillo, I'm an addict.
- Hey Lillo.
- Paulie, thank you for sharing.
You know, I know
today's topic is hope
and back before I ever
came into these rooms, I
didn't think was any hope, just
because of
the negative stigma
attached to drug addiction
and you don't want
to tell anyone.
You can't really go
anywhere for help
because everyone's gonna
look at you like you're
a piece of shit, a piece of
And I didn't want to
really let anyone know
and as a result of that,
I just kept getting deeper
and deeper my addiction
to the point where I
was totally powerless.
There was nothing I could
do in my power to stop.
I mean, it felt like there
was a magnet
in my mouth pulling
the drugs and you know,
as Mike said, I went
away for some time also
and it's because of my
lack of self control
when it came to drugs.
And then when I got out
of prison, I started
coming to meetings,
something that I never
really did unless I was
forced to do because
of some case I going, whatever,
and when I first started
coming to meetings, I,
the word hope was
like the word that first
came to mind, because
everyone was so welcoming
and you know, giving
me their phone numbers
and now it's like you
have something behind you.
You have a support
system to fall back on
if you're ever in a
situation where you feel
like you wanna use
and I thank the people
in these rooms so much,
because if it wasn't and
weren't for these rooms, I
don't know where I'd be.
So, yeah, thank you.
I mean, this really
saved my life.
There's nothing worse than
wasted fucking talent.
You had this opportunity
of a lifetime
to become who you are right now.
To be, I would have done
anything to work
with Abel Ferrara.
I don't ever have to
work again after this.
That's the way I felt.
The way I saw it was, I
was still young, you know,
so I was like, God, I've
lost my right to party.
I lost my right to have
a good time, to be young,
because I fucked with that drug.
Like, that drug
was just, then you,
all bets are off after that.
You can't do anything anymore.
Now, you have to get sober
and you gotta stay sober
for the rest of your life.
You don't even have
to be an addict
to become an heroin addict.
You just have to
take heroin five times
and then you realize
you don't know
how to tie your shoes after
your fifth time without out it.
At least for me,
that's how it was.
I don't know if I was an addict
or if I, if it made
me an addict.
I don't even know,
but he, I knew
that it was the
beginning for him.
All I know is Abel Ferrara,
- Right.
- had a massive drug problem.
He was, he used to direct on
his hands and knees, Abel.
Hey, so I want you to do this.
He'd be petting
his hair and stuff
and I remember
even Lillo was like,
what the fuck is this.
- Right.
- How are we gonna
get anything done here.
By the sixth day
of shooting, I noticed
that Lillo was not the
same kid that started
the movie with us.
I remember we had one
scene in a horse
and carriage in
central park and we
were stealing shots
because, A, we
were shooting, winter time,
we shooting snow storms
and blizzards in winter time
for, we were
in a heat wave in New York.
It was that really big heat wave
and this fucking guy
was puking off
the side of the horse and
the whole time and
I'm like, what's
going on, are you sick?
What's happening?
And it took me a couple
minutes to realize,
it's like, this kid's doing
He's doing drugs.
He's fucking high
as hell right now.
He's not withdrawing
'cuz he's not
a junkie yet.
- Right.
- He just got high.
He's new at taking
heroin 'cuz I was
already, I had been
already at a rehab
and stuff and sober
for a few years
and I was like, wow,
he was just starting,
so I thought for sure he
was getting high with Abel.
I was annoyed, I was
really mad at him.
I was, I think I was more mad at
the situation because
I knew how hard
it was for me and
I'm like, don't
go down this road.
You have all this
opportunity in front of you.
Why would you ever do this?
I was still pretty fresh, so,
and they're watching
Abel and it's like
this is what you wanna be?
This isn't like,
I'm a party animal.
I'm a Hollywood actor.
I've just become famous, I wanna
go out and part and
enjoy the high life.
This is, you must
really hate yourself.
Brad Renfro died
right out of Deuces Wild.
That was around the same
time period, I think,
that Lillo got in trouble,
so now, you
have these two really talented,
and Brad Renfro
was this gentle soul.
A mess, you know, so sad.
And Lillo and I
reconnected this year.
The reason why
I'm even here talking
to this camera,
because I asked him
if he would fill in
for me along with
a couple of other
friends of mine
who went through,
who had jail time
and came out on
the other end and
are trying to keep
their lives in
the straight and narrow
and trying to help people.
But that's when I
reached out to Lillo
and I said, will you go
talk at this conference.
So, my whole take
on all of this stuff
as much as it was
awful and there's
all this waste of
talent is that he's
turning it around,
so is it wasted
at this point?
He's taking this
experience and he's turning
it into something that
could help other people
and something that's gonna
work in his favor, I hope.
Put him on a different path.
I always tell,
I asked him to speak at
this thing, which was a,
it's a reentry program.
Kids coming out, people
coming out of jail, not kids.
People coming out of jail
and not having a chance.
They're scarred for life by
that, so what other options?
I mean, just go get
fucking high again, like I
can't even be a
part of society now
because I fucked up?
I see it a different way.
I see a lot of people
who had drug problems
as being highly
sensitive people.
People who forget about
even their problems,
it's how you carry your problems
and how you handle them
and people like us handle
them in this very self
destructive kind of way,
but you can turn that
into something magical.
I believe that,
I really believe that.
- You finished?
- Thank you, T.
- Was that sugarless,
The last fuckin' drink
you're ever gonna have.
- For the sake of God, Marty.
- There was
speculation and rumors
that James Gandolfini
actually took you
to the side on the
site of Sopranos
and gave you some words
of wisdom, some advice.
Can you elaborate
on what that was?
- Basically just told me that,
"you have
"something really
good going for yourself,
"being given the
opportunity to be
"in such TV shows and
films, it's a blessing."
And you know, "you
should be really careful
"in the decisions that you make
"and the life that you
live, to not squander this."
And you know, I guess
since back then I
hadn't reached that
moment of clarity, I
kind of brushed off what he
said and I shouldn't have.
But now that I can
look back in hindsight,
wow, that was some
pretty great advice
from a legend.
- I met Lillo when he was
shooting Renaissance Man
with, through Mark Wahlberg
who was a friend of mine.
I met with him and Randy,
who introduced me to him.
- And how did
you guys become tight?
- Me and Lillo were
tight from the beginning.
We just were naturally
very, became friends.
A lot of similar interests
and we just
always find him an
interesting guy to talk to.
It's a very interesting
especially about
acting and stuff.
It's interesting,
the first year he
was in prison,
he was just as messed up
as he was before and
I was really angry
at him and we had
a lot of conversations
where I really, really, we had
some tough conversations
where I,
'cuz as much as I'm
his friend, as much
as I want to be there
for him as a friend,
it was, I was very
angry because of
the loss of life.
I knew he didn't shoot the guy.
I knew he was in the wrong place
at the wrong time, but
he's still responsible
for being there.
You know, I always knew,
I was always afraid Lillo
was gonna hurt himself.
I really, I thought
he was gonna die.
I knew he was gonna
die if he didn't stop
and I kept telling him
and that I kept, I did
everything in my
power to convince him
that he's on a road
where he's going
to die, so I always
expected that.
I never expected him
to hurt somebody else.
That was the shocking thing
and of course,
when the truth came out, he
certainly didn't
hurt anyone else.
He was there,
but even being there
was upsetting for
me and it made me, I
was very disappointed in him.
I love the guy,
he's an old friend,
but you know,
someone loses their life.
A police officer.
Just, it's heart breaking
and I was really angry with him
from the first time.
- What was the
reaction from friends
and family that knew
you were close with him,
that's after the
incident happened.
- Most of my friends called me
and said you gotta
get away from this guy.
He's gonna be nothing but
trouble for you.
Some people put a lot of
pressure on me
to get away from,
some of my family
and a lot of other people.
He really was a pariah.
But you know,
the way I look at it, he's
my friend and he
was my friend when he
was a movie star.
He's still gonna be
my friend when he's
in his worst point in his life.
That's what friends are for.
I wouldn't have left him.
As a friend, I would
never leave him.
- Did you lose
friends because of him?
- I did lose some friends
because of him.
- Did you lose family
members because of him?
- Yes.
- How did I meet Lillo?
Just with the Rat Pack
we used to run with
in the city.
Lillo was the hottest
young actor on the scene
right then and running
with our little A-listers,
here comes Lillo out of
nowhere in the Bronx Tale
and just took New York
by storm and
met him down at Scores.
Gentlemen's club
also and one day he
was like, hey, you wanna give me
a ride home?
I said, naw, man,
I've been drinking,
but here goes, "my car keys"
and he took the
car keys and he went
in a brand new 600 Mercedes.
Young 18 year old
kid and we bonded
right after that.
Lillo was two different people.
See, we have a
disease that tells us we
don't have a disease.
So when Lillo
was sober, Lillo was
the best person in the world.
When Lillo was
getting high, then Lillo
was a whole different
person and I
could tell you
stories with, when we'd
be at a hotel room
and have a bunch
of women and you're
partying and Lillo
will start doing drugs
and you could
just see the demon
just taking Lillo on.
Not where he's violent, but
when paranoia would set in.
Between you and I, bro,
I see how sick you are
and sick I was, we gotta
keep each other accountable.
You know?
You know I love you, man.
- I love you, too.
I think also, if I
didn't go out that night,
my life wouldn't have
been saved, you know.
- Right, but you know,
we wouldn't have
cost two lives, you know.
And we gotta look at it where,
and you know we talk about this
all the time,
on the phone and doing
devotionals and stuff.
We know it's not all about us.
We ain't self centered
about it no more.
If we could take this all back
and bring back our victims,
we definitely will.
All we can do right now,
we apologize.
We're sorry and God is not
a God of second chance.
He's a God of another chance
'cuz we've been through
our second chances.
- Right.
- Just hope our family
and their family be
patient with us
and know that we're sick.
Lillo, when Lillo
did cocaine, he
would take a picture
off the wall,
look for a microphone,
look for a camera,
go under the bed, go everywhere,
just like you never seen before.
Just almost like he
was allergic to cocaine
and nobody on the party scene
had it worse than Lillo.
I could tell you this,
we had a photoshoot at
my house for charity
and Lillo,
during the day, sober,
great human being.
A lot of energy, a lot of
A lot of empathy
toward the foundation
and toward the people.
People loved him and
then as the night
went on, he started drinking and
the cocaine would
come in, Lillo would
right away, go into
something else.
It was so bad that
I had a large house
right out in this area and I
came home,
maybe three days
after the function,
went into a bedroom downstairs.
We had a big place, 16 bedrooms.
I don't know why
I went down there.
I opened up the
closet to get something.
I don't know why
I was down there.
'Cuz I opened it up and
Lillo was still here.
- How many years sober are you?
- I can probably say that on
this past November 18th,
2017, celebrated 11 years.
- How's that feel?
- It feels tremendous.
I mean, it's not
something I can say
that gets easier
every day, but it
gets more rewarding every day.
While I was away,
one of the best things
that I learned is how
to manage my emotions
and what I learned from
was that no matter how
bad a situation gets,
either your ability
to deal with it
will get better
or the situation itself
will get better.
And then I came to a realization
that I don't need drugs.
That God has equipped
me with what's necessary
to overcome pretty much anything
and that is one
of the biggest tools
that I use to keep
sober until this day.
- Before I bet Lillo,
an actor by the
name of Phil Barbarino
had the part of C
and I was going
in for Mario and then
Jill Greenburg told us
unofficially that
it was, Phil was
gonna play C and I was
gonna play Crazy Mario
and I think she said,
I think Joey had
the part maybe even before us.
Joey from Goodfellas, so
Joey was gonna play Slick.
And she told us this
that we were those characters.
- Now, how did
you guys feel knowing
that this guy just
came out of nowhere.
- Well at first, we,
I was on Phil's side.
At first, so I
was like, this kid.
Don't worry, Phil, I said, he
doesn't have
a shot, but I
knew he had a shot.
- Right.
- And then when I saw
him act, I thought
he was fantastic.
I thought he was fantastic
and I believed that
he was from the Bronx
and he had that Bronx accent.
I don't know if Lillo put it on
or if he just, maybe it's a
Yonkers accent
that was close to the Bronx,
but he also spoke,
he also speaks Italian
and Spanish and stuff like that,
so he was able to do the
Bronx accent perfect.
I'm from the Bronx
- Right.
- So, I know a Bronx
accent when I hear it.
He had it.
After Bronx Tale
we actually did,
we worked again together.
We knew each
other's families, also,
from being on set,
so I knew his mom
and dad and he knew my
mom and dad, my brothers.
And Lillo has
amazing memory, too,
'cuz he saw me
years later and asked
my family by name,
which was impressive.
But after Bronx Tale,
we had done,
we had done a
show called Falcone
about, it was a spin
off of Danny Brasco
and it was James Russo.
Titus Welliver was in it.
It was a, Bobby Moresco,
I think, directed it.
Anyway, it was gonna
be a big series
and I was playing Nicky,
the kid.
He was playing one
of the wise guys.
And he was a regular in it.
I was gonna be, I think, a
Something like that,
but he was a regular.
And then they killed him off
and I was surprised that
they killed him off.
I don't know the real story, you
can ask Lillo about it.
But I remember him coming, if we
had a six or seven
o'clock a.m. call time,
he'd come in wired
from the night before,
not sleeping, he had
the black under his eyes
and I knew he was out
from the night before.
He looked terrible and that's
when I knew
and then we met out
a couple of times.
We didn't go out
together, but I'd
go to a club or an
opening for something
or an event and he'd be there
and he was with these kids.
I forgot their names,
they're just weirdos.
I mean, this kid Rob
used to wear
these contact lenses
that were just so weird.
Terrible piece on his head.
They were just all around him.
They were obviously
enabling him.
His family were
builders in Yonkers.
They had a lot of money and they
did very, very well.
His father worked
like, I've never seen
anybody work
like his father, like a bull,
until he had the heart problem,
but his father was a great guy.
Worked really, really hard.
I remember Lillo
always looked great.
He always drove cool cars
and stuff like
that and then I saw him
in the club once, he had
a hole in his sweater.
He had mangled shoes on
and he asked me for $20
or something like that
and I said, you're asking me.
I should be asking you.
- Hugs and smiles during the
homecoming this afternoon.
Three and a half
hours after his release
from an upstate
prison this morning,
former actor Lillo
Brancato arrived in Yonkers
a free man.
- It's a very big day.
Thank you all for coming.
I just wanna spend some
time with my family.
- When you turn this corner,
what goes on in your mind.
- A lot of memories, you know.
I grew up here.
A lot of good memories
that all become the bad
A lot of guys that I knew
from this
neighborhood died, drugs.
Guys I was really,
really close to.
I remembering taking
care of my friend, Jimmy.
They used to call him Aruba.
He passed away in 2009
and he used to smoke crack
and I did also, but I wasn't,
you know,
doing it every day.
He told me, he said,
"Li, you know what.
"You keep messing
with that crack pipe,
"one day it's gonna get you."
I remember the
day that it got me.
It was in this very, very,
this very parking
space right here,
this parkin' spot.
I was walking into the store
to get cigarettes
and this guys parked
in this car and
was speaking loud,
that they wanted me to hear it.
They guy said,
the guys said, he goes,
"oh, Lillo's a good guy.
"He never forgot
where he came from."
So automatically, I'm curious.
I didn't, I've seen him around.
I knew who they were,
so I walked over
to the car and I remember
I looked in the car.
I said, hey guys, how you doin'.
The guy's lookin' at me,
said, "yeah, I'm alright."
And sitting down,
pulls out a crack pipe
and he looks at me.
He didn't raise it up so high
so we could see it from outside.
It was down here and he said,
he said, "you interested?"
and I knew what
that was gonna be.
Once I take that
first hit of crack, I
could be out for
two days, a week.
And I said, yeah,
yeah, I'm interested.
I got in the back
seat of the car.
I remember we took
a ride up this street
and we came around
and the crack pipe
was full of resin,
- Right.
- So I said to the guys,
I said, no, no, no.
He was ready to
put a rock in there.
And I said, no, no, no,
it's fine.
I'll just, he goes no, no, no.
He said, "if you're
gonna do it, you do
"it the right way."
I remember he put a $20
rock inside the pipe
and I remember when
I took that hit,
that was it.
That was it.
From that day in July of 2005
until the day I got arrested,
December 10th, 2005,
I did not miss one day.
I smoked crack every single day
and that crack pipe
got a real hold on me
to the point where I
used to be in my room,
look at the mirror and I
was a shadow of myself.
I was about 135 pounds.
I looked like a skeleton
and I would literally like,
so powerless,
and I used to look
in the mirror crying.
Please God, please help
me, help me please.
- So when you
see this neighborhood,
does it bring back more bad
or more good memories?
- I would say more bad memories,
but now that I have reached
the moment of clarity,
I kinda deal
with it a little bit better
and just am so thankful that
that I did make it
out and that I am
safe and sound and I am a,
that I am in a
better place in life.
And thank God for that.
- Right.
- Because without Him,
none of that would
have been possible.
- The iconic, the
working man is a sucker.
What are your thoughts on that?
- Well, my old thoughts,
I would probably have to say
that I believe
the exact opposite.
That the working
man is not a sucker.
My father's a Mason, a builder
and worked really, really hard
and I can tell you this.
He's far from a sucker.
- Well, my relationship
with Lillo
was like my relationship
with a lot
of young studs coming
up in New York.
Gettin' in the movie game and
the early '90s to
mid '90s when I
was running an big
gossip column in
the New York Daily News,
I was in contact
with all those guys,
all the young bucks,
and you know, I remember
the movie premier
specifically for Bronx Tale,
because it was a big to-do.
It was in Tribeca.
Bob De Niro directing.
I remember there was a big thing
with, a lot of people
couldn't get in
and you know, Lillo was about to
be crowned as this
new actor that
was gonna make some
noise for a long time.
And frankly, you left that
or the premier saying
this kid fucking held
his own with Bob De Niro
and Chazz Palminteri,
heavyweights, he's
gonna be around forever.
Lillo didn't make me an enemy.
I never sought, I never
went after him.
'Cuz you gotta understand,
as an Italian guy,
there's a certain amount of
a certain amount of
movie us Italians see
that come on TV and
you put the remote
and you can throw
the remote away.
When you turn on Rocky or
or Goodfellas or Raging Bull
or Bronx Tale, Casino even,
you're done
for the next two hours.
And when you're one of the stars
in those movies, you're
like royalty to us.
So, I would never
go out of my way
to write something
bad about Lillo,
but it was getting
increasingly harder not to
because there were
altercations and fights
and arguments
that warranted attention
in the columns.
There was a club
uptown called Rouge
that a lot of the
monsters stayed at
and big time guys.
Genovese guys, Gambino guys.
They all converged there.
These are fuckin' killers.
They don't take shit.
Polito would have
worked in there
with the same attitude like he
was running his own
show and those guys
wouldn't have it.
And again, he's treated
a certain way
because he's from a
certain movie
with a certain actor and
they put kid gloves on,
but there came a time
when he wasn't allowed
back in that club and
that's a big blow
to a kid like that.
I think he has a shot
to break in again
because he had some
talent and I'm sure he
still has some talent.
Up until recently,
everybody in this town
got a second chance.
I don't care if your
were Mel Gibson
and started a race
war on the PCH
or Woody Allen who married
his adopted daughter.
I mean, you get second
chances in this town,
in this business.
Right now, the climate in
Hollywood is,
anything you did bad
as a man, you're done.
What Lillo did didn't
have anything
of a sexual nature to
it, so if it's simply
a matter of breaking the law,
it's a tough spot, but
I think he certainly
has the ability to come back
if he wants to.
That's why that movie
resounded in all of us,
because I've lived a life
where sometimes you're
not using the talent that God
bestowed you
and when you're not using it,
things go bad in life and you
can really expect to find
yourself on your ass.
When you accept that
you have this talent
that God gave you,
you make your living
with it, it's truly the gift
that God
gave you, good things
are gonna happen.
I think Lillo has a gift
and got a gift from God.
He fucked his life up,
but I don't think
that gift left him
and I think there's
somebody out there
that's gonna put their hands out
and allow him back
into the scene.
- When you start working in film
and TV business
and make a little
bit if of money,
you know for me, I
lived at home with my parents.
Went to boarding school.
I was very, lived in a
sort of insulated bubble
and never really had
to worry too much
about money, never had to worry
about buying stuff,
so I never had
a lot of cash on me.
Never had a bank account
or anything like that.
When I started working
a lot in New York City,
it's not just having, being
or being the new hot guy
or whatever they call it,
but it's all the sudden having,
being 18 or 19 and having
$150,000 cash
in your bank account.
- Right, could
have been at that point,
that's like 10 million
at that age.
- Right and you're
working on jobs
and you're making
50 here, 75, 100
and it's just growing in your
bank account
and really, you know,
when you have
that kind of cash and never had
that kind of cash
before, I just didn't see
there was no limit
to what I could do.
So, that and sort of the access,
really it's the money
that creates the access
and so, the drugs, you know,
all that stuff becomes
very available
because you're
supplying the drugs
and the alcohol for
a lot of the friends.
So, they'll be finding
stuff for you
'cuz you're footing the bill,
- Right.
- And it's,
it's constant and never ending.
- So, I would be
remiss if I didn't ask
the question that's probably
the most important question
in this whole documentary.
Do you feel like you
got away with murder?
- Well, I've always
taken full responsibility
for how my addiction
and my, you know,
decision making made a
in the death of the heroic
police officer.
But with that being said,
I don't feel that I was
directly responsible
for the death, so
therefore, no, I don't think
I was, or got away with murder.
- What were your
initial thoughts
when you first heard about
the whole incident?
- Before we even
knew who it was,
it was another cop murder.
- Were you working
the night of or no?
- I was off that night actually.
- Okay.
- But a few weeks
or months prior, another
officer was killed.
I think it was Officer Dylan
So, yeah, immediately,
just the initial reports
that another officer killed.
I mean, any officer killed
struck us,
but two almost back to back,
and then when we
heard who it was,
someone kind of
privileged who probably
had a lot goin' for him,
that struck an even deeper nerve
in pretty much all of us.
- What was the,
if you can remember,
what was the
initial reaction around
the precinct when,
you know, around
the funeral time or
right after it happened?
- Everyone in
general was mad, livid.
Not just because of what
but again, because of who it was
and that he was, what we view,
as a privileged person.
How could this have happened?
How could he been involved
and then kind of also a feeling
of like, almost being
because, I think, in general,
a lot of us liked Lillo from
Bronx Tale.
- Right.
- So, we liked the movie.
We liked him.
I talked to a few today,
about this and --
- What were their
- Like it was yesterday.
He was a scumbag.
He's a perp.
He's a piece of shit.
You know, he should
still be in jail.
He should have
gotten the death penalty.
So on and so forth.
- Right.
- I've yet to find anyone in
who has anything
positive to say about it.
- Do you think he
deserves a second chance,
if not why?
- I don't and I don't
because, I do believe
in second chances, but for me,
this was too egregious
to deserve
a second chance
and from interviews
I saw with people
who used to work with him,
Chazz Palminteri, I think.
I think I've seen
a few interviews
with him back then,
he said that he
had heard he'd been
involved in drug activity
and so on and he
tried to steer him clear
and he told him this is
gonna lead to trouble.
So, it sounded like there
were probably people
around him who
tried to steer him clear
from that bad
element he was getting into
and he didn't listen.
This, things like this happen
when you're
involved in that activity
and to me, this is
something that's not worthy
of a second chance.
- Why did you think
it was important
to do this documentary from
a cop's side of things?
- I figured the public
just needs to know
how the cops feel.
In particular NYPD cops.
That the feeling hasn't changed.
I hate to use the word
hate, but I'm gonna use
the word hate.
Everyone that I
know at NYPD that
had mentioned Bracato's
name, they hate him.
Still consider him a scumbag.
Piece of shit, worthless.
And wouldn't see
any movie or a project
with him in it and I felt
it was just important
to make that known.
- Well, you know,
this is Saint Ann's Church.
This is where I
did my first communion
back in 1984.
It's where I did my
confirmation in 1990.
I don't live too far from here.
Maybe like two
minutes down the street.
And you know,
this church has a lot
of meaning to me.
I mean, it's like
part of my childhood.
It's part of who I am.
And you know,
and really, only
after I was incarcerated
did I really realize the
of having God in
your life, you know,
because of the bad mistakes and
the choices that
I made in my life
and what they resulted in.
A lot of people left my side.
A lot of people that
were near and dear to me.
People that I loved.
They just weren't there for me.
Not everyone.
But one person
who never left my side
was God, He was always there
and I now know
because of what I went
through and the
changes in my life
of who I was and
then who I became
the day that I was released.
Funny how life works itself out
because, you know, 25
years later at least,
right next door to this church,
which is part of this church,
is where they have
parties and stuff,
is where I attend Narcotics
Anonymous meetings.
God does exist.
This is why I try
to go to church
as much as possible and
I thank God every day.
Every day of my life before
I do anything, I pray
for at least 10
minutes to thank Him
for giving me the
strength to become
the person that I am today.
You know, it's,
I owe it all to Him.
So, here I am.
- I feel as though
he got the right amount
of time just because
he did do a robbery.
There was a weapon involved
and knowing the laws and
actually having
an ex-boyfriend
who went to jail for
the same thing,
that's what he got.
He got 10 years and
did 85% of his time
and I feel as though
that was fair.
- It's so easy to get bored
and so then, the next
thing is, what's next.
I've got everything.
Like, what else is there?
And so, drugs and
alcohol and whatever
comes into the
picture inevitably,
and it almost always,
it's so hard
to navigate yourself through
that world.
- I think that Lillo
is a great artist
and wanted to keep
working and you know,
at the end of the day,
I think it does,
it does put a bit
of a shadow over
all the amazing work
that he has done.
- Somebody's
watching this documentary
who didn't know Lillo
or don't know him
obviously personally
or don't know much
about him, what would you like
them to know about him that
maybe somebody
wouldn't know?
- That's he's a
different person.
He's dedicated to his, you know,
to his job and his career
and he's a good kid.
He's a really good kid.
He got great heart, you know.
What he's did,
whatever happened to him,
it was just, it was from
the drugs, nothing else.
- Thank you.
- Thank you, thank you.