Summer blockbuster season is taking a break from all the disaster/monster/superhero movies this weekend, and Jersey Boys is premiering. The smash Broadway musical is coming to the big screen, and with Clint Eastwood as the director! Broadway actress Renee Marino makes her film debut as the same character she played in the stage version: Frankie Valli‘s first wife, Mary Delgado.
OK!: How did you find out about the movie, and how did you audition?
Renee Marino: The movie had been talked about in the business for two years. My agents were like, we’re on it! Word on the street was that it would be LA actors. I was like, I don’t care if I’m a tree in this movie! I just want to be a part of it. One random Sunday afternoon, it’s the middle of the show and someone was like, “Clint Eastwood is here.” I didn’t think too much into it, until it was the middle of the show and I’m singing “My Boyfriend’s Back” and Clint Eastwood is right in my sight line, ten rows back. I was like, Okay! Here we go! This one’s for you, Clint. I went in to audition a few weeks later. When I found out I got the part, I was home with my family in Linden, New Jersey, getting ready to leave for my older brother’s wedding. Here I am, in my house I grew up in, only miles from where the story took place, with my family. I still get chills when I think about it. My grandmother starts crying, “I’ve been praying for this!”
OK!: So you survived the audition, but were you so intimidated by Clint on set? I feel like any little critique from him, I would break down and cry.
RM: It was funny. Once you meet Clint and work with him, you see that his directorial style, and his style in general, is so laid back. This is how I envisioned it before I worked with him, that it would be a dictatorship. I am the director, you’re the actor, stand here. It was the complete opposite. It was like getting thrown off a cliff—he’s so laid back that there’s not tons of directing. He does not micro-manage. To have that freedom was so awesome. I didn’t feel like he was watching every little thing i did. He was so warm! The stories I have from set are amazing. I journaled everything.
OK!: Who is the character of Mary?
RM: Mary Delgado is the first wife of Frankie Valli. She is who he has his daughters with. I feel so honored, because these are real people. I went to the New York screening, and Frankie Valli’s real daughter and grand-daughter were there. Here I am at this premiere, and Tony Valli and I are hugging. She was like, “You’re my mother!” The real Mary Delgado has passed, and [Tony] was like, “I know my mother is here with us tonight.” You don’t know how much this means to me! [The character] is very feisty. She’s a strong character, sarcastic. His success and not being around took a toll on her and the family. It’s a really great story.
OK!: How did this energy compare with theater? Did you miss the live aspect?
RM: They’re so different, apples and oranges. On stage, you can gauge the energy of a room. It all works together. You feed off that energy. But getting on the set was so cool. When I got to set the first day, I was like this is awesome. I’m used to a stage with a couple of props. On a film, you’re like, here’s an actual bar! With people at tables with beehive hairdos and cigarettes! You have more to draw on.
OK!: Since you have a wonderful voice, what do you sing along to in the shower or the car?
RM: Oh, I am so annoying, Kaitlin. Ask my fiance. Ask anyone who knows me! I’m constantly singing, constantly. You don’t even know you’re doing it. My fiance is like, “It’s 12:30 at night, you have to stop.” What do I sing? It could be pop, R&B. I’m a huge fan of Mary J Blige. I love Adele. Bruno Mars is my favorite. If you go on Youtube, I took one of his songs, “When I Was Your Man,” and I redid it form the girl’s point of view. I hope Bruno Mars will see it one day, and ask me to sing with him! Also, my fiance and I love the ’50s and ’60s, the Temptations, the Four Tops, those groups. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons! So we love that music, all the oldies.
Are you planning to see Jersey Boys? Are you familiar with the musical? What’s your favorite oldies music? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.