Vincent Gallo
Vincent Gallo

Vincent Gallo[1] (born April 11, 1961) is an American actor, director, model, musician, painter and former motorcycle racer. He has had supporting roles in films such as Arizona Dream (1993), The House of the Spirits (1993), Palookaville (1995), and The Funeral (1996). His lead roles include Tetro in Tetro (2009) and Mohammed in Essential Killing (2010). He won a Volpi Cup for Best Actor for his performance in Essential Killing.

He is most associated with the independent films he has made, including Buffalo ’66 (1998), which he wrote, directed, scored and starred in, and The Brown Bunny (2003), which he also wrote, directed, produced, starred in and photographed. In the early 2000s, he released several solo recordings on Warp Records.

Early life

Vincent Gallo was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Janet, a hairdresser, and Vincenzo Vito Gallo, also a hairdresser and professional gambler.[2] Both of his parents emigrated from Sicily, Italy.[3]

Career

Films

During Gallo’s artistic period in the 1980s, when he worked as a musician and painter in New York City, he also began experimenting with film. He made the short film “If You Feel Froggy, Jump” and appeared in the 1981 film Downtown 81 with painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. In 1984, Gallo acted in The Way It Is (1985) by Eric Mitchell, which included actors Steve Buscemi and Rockets Redglare. After starring in the obscure 1989 film Doc’s Kingdom, he began acting in small parts in more well-known films such as Goodfellas, The House of the Spirits, and The Perez Family. French director Claire Denis hired Gallo to act in several films such as the short film Keep It for Yourself, the made-for-TV U.S. Go Home, and its follow-up feature Nénette et Boni (1996).”[4]

In 1998, his directorial debut film Buffalo ’66 was nominated for, but did not win, an award for “Best First Feature” at the Independent Spirit Awards.[4] Gallo made this drama for $1.5 M, serving as writer, director, lead actor, and composer/performer of the soundtrack. The release of Buffalo ’66 “gained him a solid fan base.”[4]

In 2003, Gallo starred in and directed the film The Brown Bunny, which chronicles a motorcycle racer’s cross-country road trip, and co-starred Chloë Sevigny. The film, which contained a scene of Sevigny performing unsimulated oral sex upon Gallo, received an overwhelmingly negative critical response to its Cannes premiere and became a media scandal, in part due to Gallo’s use of a still image from a sex scene on a promotional billboard. In part, the critical response discussed whether Sevigny had been pressured into performing a sex act by Gallo. According to Andrea LeVasseur of Allmovie, The Brown Bunny “premiered to much derision at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.”[4] Film critic Roger Ebert stated that The Brown Bunny was the worst film in the history of Cannes.[5] Gallo retorted by calling Ebert a “fat pig with the physique of a slave trader” and put a hex on Ebert, wishing him colon cancer.[5] Ebert then responded – paraphrasing a statement made by Winston Churchill – that, “although I am fat, one day I will be thin, but Mr. Gallo will still have been the director of The Brown Bunny.”[6] Gallo and Ebert later made up, and Ebert ended up giving a thumbs up to a re-edited version of The Brown Bunny.[7]

In 2010, Gallo won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 67th Venice International Film Festival for his role in Essential Killing, although he doesn’t have a line in the film. He did not attend the ceremony to accept his award in person, leaving the duty to the film’s director Jerzy Skolimowski, who tried to get the actor to reveal himself, leading the audience in a chant of his name. Gallo was not in attendance.[8][9]

Gallo stars in Davide Manuli’s La leggenda di Kaspar Hauser, a modern-western interpretation of the German legend of Kaspar Hauser which premiered at the 2012 International Film Festival Rotterdam. Gallo plays the two largest roles in the film, the English-speaking Sheriff and the Italian-speaking assassin.[10]

He co-starred with Kōichi Satō and Yoo Ji-tae in Junji Sakamoto’s 2013 film, Human Trust.[11]

Music

Gallo performing in 2005

Gallo played electric bass and sang in the mid-1970s in several adolescent garage bands such as Blue Mood; a progressive rock cover band named Zephyr (not to be confused with the late 1960s band of the same name) which did one performance at Lincoln Park, Tonawanda, New York in 1978; The Good (with Bernie Kugel and Larry Galanowitz); The Detours; and the Plastics.[12] At the age of 16, Gallo moved to New York City and was a later member of the band Gray, with visual artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Gray played at clubs such as Max’s Kansas City, CBGB’s, Hurrahs, and the Mudd Club. A few of Gray’s recordings appear on the soundtrack for the film Downtown 81.[13]

Gallo played in a band called Bohack which recorded an album entitled It Took Several Wives.[12] When Bohack disbanded, Gallo turned his attention to acting, directing, and composing in films. He wrote songs for the soundtrack of the 1998 film Buffalo 66. He played in a rock band with Lukas Haas called Bunny, and Gallo put out his own album which he wrote, performed and produced under Warp Records, titled When.[12][14]

On August 3, 2013, Vincent Gallo headlined the 3rd Annual San Frandelic Summer Fest in San Francisco.[15]

Music videos

Gallo directed music videos for the songs “Going Inside” by John Frusciante, and “Anemone” by L’Arc-en-Ciel.[16] He also starred in the music videos for “Bitter” by Lit, “Cosmopolitan Bloodloss” by Glassjaw, “99 Problems” by Jay-Z and “Grounded” by My Vitriol.

Gallo also appeared as a model in H&M Spring 2009 Collection alongside Eva Herzigova.[17]

Other work and appearances

In 1984, he (using the name “Prince Vince”) appeared as a dancer on an unsold TV pilot for a hip-hop dance show called Graffiti Rock.

He makes a fictionalized appearance in Caspar Vega’s 2012 book The Eclectic Prince.

Gallo did a fashion campaign and photo shoot with G-Star Raw jeans in Fall 2011.[18]

Racist and antisemitic views

Gallo has expressed racist and antisemitic views,[19] notably on a page on his personal website offering to sell his sperm, while maintaining “the right to refuse sale of his sperm to those of extremely dark complexions … [because he] does not want to be part of that type of integration.” He also offers a discount to those who are naturally blonde or related to a mid-century German soldier; however, he is willing to sell his sperm to a Jewish woman, as “connection to the Jewish faith would guarantee his offspring a better chance at good reviews and maybe even a prize at the Sundance film festival or an Oscar.”[20][21] In 2020, he made a series of t-shirts available on his website sporting slogans such as “Whites Freed The Blacks,”[22] “Fuck Black Lives Matter,”[23] and “Tell Your Thug Single Parent Children to Stop Resisting Arrest”.[24]

Personal life

Gallo is a supporter of the Republican Party, and has been seen at a New York fashion show with George W. Bush’s daughters Barbara and Jenna.[25] He has stated that his fantasy is “becoming more like the stereotype of the Republican Party.”[26] He also wishes to look “more like [American conservative journalist] George Will.”[26] In his own words, Gallo “considered himself a radical, always, but an extremely conservative radical.”[26] In a 1997 interview for Grand Royal magazine,[27][28][29] he stated being fond of conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh, as well as former U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, and filmmakers Pier Paolo Pasolini, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Robert Bresson and Yasujirō Ozu.

He was a supporter of 45th President Donald Trump, stating in an open letter: “I like Donald Trump a lot and am extremely proud he is the American President. And I’m sorry if that offends you.”[30] In another open letter in March 2018, he criticized actress Rose McGowan for not publicly accusing producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault earlier.[31]

He is an active real estate speculator in Los Angeles. “I own, like, $7 million worth of real estate that I don’t live in and I don’t rent it [out],” Gallo said in a 2004 interview with Howard Stern. “It’s sitting there, it’s hanging there. … I’ve never lost a penny in my life.”[31]

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1985The Way It IsVictor / Heurtebise
1988Doc’s KingdomJimmy
1990GoodfellasHenry’s 70’s Crew #3
1991A Idade MaiorMario a.k.a. Alex
1993Arizona DreamPaul Leger
The House of the SpiritsEsteban Garcia
1995AngelaPreacher
The Perez FamilyOrlando
PalookavilleRussell Pataki
1996Nénette et BoniVincenzo Brown
The FuneralJohnny
1997Truth or Consequences, NMRaymond Lembecke
1998Buffalo 66Billy Brown
Hollywood SalomeJohnny
Goodbye LoverMikeUncredited
L.A. Without a MapMoss
1999Freeway II: Confessions of a TrickbabySister Gomez
2000Hide and SeekFrank
2001Trouble Every DayShane Brown
Stranded: NáufragosLuca Baglioni
Get Well SoonBobby Bishop / Kevin Moss
2003The Brown BunnyBud Clay
Gli indesiderabiliAntonino ‘Tony’ Bendando
2006Moscow ZeroOwen
2007Oliviero RisingOliviero Olivieri
2009TetroAngelo ‘Tetro’ Tetrocini
2010Essential KillingMohammed
Promises Written in WaterKevin
2011LoosiesJax
2012La leggenda di Kaspar HauserPusher / Sheriff
2013Human TrustHarold Marcus
2022Shut InSammy

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1984Graffiti RockDancerPilot
1987Crime StoryCharlie RiccioEpisode: “Ground Zero”
1989The EqualizerTony SantiagoEpisode: “Heart of Justice”
1994Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge…Captain BrownEpisode: “U.S. Go Home”
2002The GrooveniansNixonVoice
Pilot
2007DirtSammy WinterEpisode: “This Is Not Your Father’s Hostage Situation”

Short films

  • If You Feel Froggy, Jump (1980)
  • Wedding (1986)
  • The Gun Lover (1986)
  • That Smell (1988)
  • Gallo 2000 (1989)
  • Casting Director Billy Hopkins Leaves a Message for Vincent Gallo (1994)
  • Buffalo 66 Trailer (1997)
  • Vincent Gallo Has a Thing or Two to Say About the British (1997)
  • Vincent Gallo Directs (1997)
  • Looking for Enemies Finding Friends (1997)
  • Live Love Drive (1999)
  • Anemone (2000)
  • Honey Bunny (2001)
  • John Frusciante Plays and Sings (2001)
  • The Brown Bunny Trailers (2003)
  • The Curse of Manuel Chiche (2003)
  • Akiko (2004)
  • The Agent (2010)
  • Anea 17 (2010)
  • United States Wins the World Cup (2014)

Writer/director

Feature films

  • Buffalo 66 (1998)
  • The Brown Bunny (2003)
  • Promises Written in Water (2010)
  • April (unreleased) [32]

Discography

Albums

  • It Took Several Wives (1982, Family Friend Records) as Bohack
  • The Way It Is Soundtrack (1984, Rojo Records)
  • Buffalo ’66 Soundtrack (1998, Will Records)
  • When (2001, Warp Records)
  • Recordings of Music for Film (2002, Warp Records)

EPs

  • So Sad (2001, Warp Records)

Singles

  • Honey Bunny (2001, Warp Records)

  • Official website Edit this at Wikidata
  • Vincent Gallo at IMDb


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