Updated: Apr 7, 2019
Francesco Antonio by Ian Brown Photography
On Track to Becoming One of Canada's Rising Stars,
with 25 Million views in Wayne
Francesco Antonio has landed a recurring character role on YouTube Premium's new original comedy series, Wayne, in what is slated to be YouTube Premium's “biggest breakout show of 2019”, according to Bleeding Cool. He works alongside Deadpool writers, Rhett Reece and Paul Wernick, and star opposite Michaela Watkins. Wayne premiered at this year’s Tribeca TV Festival (2018).
In this gritty and sometimes bloody tale, fifteen year-old Wayne sets out on a dirt bike with his new crush Del to take back the 1978 Pontiac Trans Am that was stolen from his father before he died. It is Wayne and Del against the world. The series stars Mark McKenna (Sing Street, Kat and Alfie: Redwater) as the titular character, and Ciara Bravo (Big Time Rush, Red Band Society) as “Del.” Joshua J. Williams (Mudbound) will also be recurring as “Orlando”.
The 10 episode series is written and created by Shawn Simmons. The series is executive produced by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool, Zombieland), Greg Coolidge (Ride Along) and Kirk Ward. Iain B. MacDonald (Episodes, I’m Dying Up Here, Shameless) directed the pilot.
The ten-episode series premiered worldwide on January 16, 2019 on YouTube Premium.
Born and raised in Toronto, Francesco has received nominations in Spain for Best Actor at the Barcelona Planet Film Festival for his role in Addiction (2018). Most recently, Francesco made a splash in Las Vegas where he received four nominations from the Action On Film Festival, winning the G.I.F.T.E.D award, making it the first time the award was given to an actor in the festival's history. Francesco was also nominated in the Hollywood Dreamz International Film Festival in Las Vegas for Best Actor (Addiction, 2018) and Best Young Performer (The Joke Thief, 2018) but was awarded the prestigious, Lewis Mitchell Award for Acting for his work in Addiction.
Francesco has already worked opposite legends such as Franco Nero, Danny Aiello and Giancarlo Giannini in The Neighborhood (2017). Francesco just wrapped filming for What We Do in the Shadows (2019) for FX network with Jermaine Clement. Francesco also played a memorable roll in the hit show Bad Blood (2017-2018) starring alongside Kim Coates. In 2019, Francesco is set to star in the short film Love, Sarah.
Q and A with FRANCESCO ANTONIO - WAYNE
Hey Francesco, thanks for chatting with me, I appreciate it.
Absolutely, I’m very happy to do this with you guys. (It’s) a little bit of a crazy day on set today but I’m having my 10th espresso and were just on lunch so it’s perfect timing.
I would like to start by talking about Wayne and congratulations on the upcoming premier. I’ve seen the trailer and I got to tell you, it looks phenomenal. It’s described as a comedy but it had a real gritty vibe to it, can you tell us about the show?
You know, it is a comedy because there are such beautifully funny moments, but it’s definitely very gritty. It’s about a kid, Wayne, he’s in search for his father’s car, I have it now, I’m in Florida and I’m not a nice guy…tattoos, gold teeth…so it’s going to be quite an epic showdown and that’s pretty much as I can give you. (It’s) fantastically written; it’s the guy from Deadpool and I think that alone speaks to kind of how they’ve created and curated the show.
I was hooked about 15 seconds into the trailer so you guys have done a great job.
There’s a video of me smashing up an RV, so if you get a chance, go watch it and I think you’ll love it.
I’ve actually seen that clip and thought it must have been awesome to film! Wayne recently had its premiere at the Tribeca TV Festival, how was that and the whole festival experience?
It was fantastic. They were very kind to me; definitely a memorable moment for myself and my career. The audience was great, they absolutely loved it; they laughed when they should have laughed…they grimaced when they should have grimaced. So it was a fantastic experience.
You mentioned the connection between Wayne and Deadpool and if you’ve seen the trailer you can obviously see some of the influence there with the action scenes. You mentioned smashing up an RV, but what other action, fight scenes did you get to partake in?
You know, I don’t want to give too much away but I will tell you it is action packed. There are people going through doors, there are things going through body parts; there is a reason why everybody is talking about the show. It’s gonna be action packed but I don’t want to give things away; I will tell you, you will never be bored and you’ll want to close your eyes at times but you won’t be able to.
Personally, you’ve had some recent success with a short film that you not only starred in, but you wrote, you produced, you directed and probably so much more. It sounds like a project that was pretty passionate for you, so how does it feel to be so successful; you’ve had multiple nominations and award wins?
Yes, Addiction. Addiction was my baby, it was my first project I wrote, directed, produced, starred in it; often times you would see me doing sound…I was just all over that thing and I was very honoured to have the success that I did. I won the awards in Los Angeles and Spain; we were just in Las Vegas for two festivals that we were in. I will tell you in short that every single award just spoke to how hard I worked on that project and it was worth telling the story.
Congratulations on that. In the past you’ve taken on some pretty heavy, dark roles. Are these roles hard to do and is there one particular role that stands out as one of the hardest roles that you’ve had to manage?
I will say it’s ‘Reggie’ in Wayne because as colorful as ‘Reggie’ is, and some of the stuff I had to do and the thoughts that I had to think, were pretty dark. I did experiment a lot with method acting in theatre school and I’ll tell you, my wife looked at me and said ‘thank God you’re not method acting anymore’. It definitely was a hard role to step into and step out of.
What attracted you to the role of ‘Reggie’?
What attracted me to the role I think were the sides they sent me. Again, I don’t want to give away too much but there was a scene, and it’s no longer in the script, where ‘Reggie’ was sitting and watching these two animals having intercourse and taking pleasure out of it. Now, as uncomfortable as that seems, I think it was just a point in my very young career where I really wanted to take a big bite out of a meaty role that really forced me to be uncomfortable and that’s what it was. The discomfort in the character and his mannerisms, but it was also the challenge of finding the love in that character and the backstory that didn’t define him as just a disgusting, young troubled man but somebody who’s a product of his own environment.
You’ve taken on these roles, you’re doing really well with the gritty roles, do you ever see yourself doing a romantic comedy or something like that coming up?
Yah, I mean I pride myself on being diverse. I’m actually shooting a film right now as we speak literally called Love, Sarah and it’s a romantic drama. I play a very, very different character than I’ve played; so I’m not a gangster, I’m not a killer and I’m not troubled. The character ‘Luke’ is a little troubled but he’s much softer, more vulnerable and it is a romance. So definitely a change after just been doing Wayne for the couple months that we shot.
We love seeing Canadians doing well, so it’s nice to see. Wayne debuts worldwide on January 16th on YouTube Premier with a 10 episode 1st season.
I’ll actually be there on the 15th for the premiere in Los Angeles, which I’m so excited that I’ve been invited to.
That will be fun to be a part of all of that. You obviously can’t give away too much, but in a couple of words, why should viewers check it out?
Viewers should watch Wayne because it is finally a fresh, challenging show to watch and when I say challenging I mean it will challenge the senses. It is a show that challenges the senses for the better, whether it’s the humour or the dark grittiness or the violence or the love…it challenges all senses and all emotions and is very stimulating.
If anyone hasn’t had the chance, I suggest watching the trailer because you will be hooked and you will be interested in the show. Francesco, I appreciate your time and I’ll let you get back to set but it was great chatting with you.
Thank you so much, I hope to do it again soon.
Wayne Premiere with the creators and stars. Photo by Just Jared
Watch Episode 1 of Wayne