Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid and Peter Facinelli
He’s best known for his role in the blockbuster vampire saga Twilight as Robert Pattinson’s father, Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Peter Facinelli can also be seen starring in other memorable films and television shows, such as Nurse Jackie, Glee, Supergirl, Six Feet Under and many other Hollywood hits.
Facinelli recently wrapped production for The Unbreakable Boy, for which he optioned the book for, and brought to Kingdom Story Company and Lionsgate. He serves as a producer on the film which stars Zachary Levi and Patricia Heaton.
If you’re looking to see Facinelli in action these days, he’s starring in the following recently released films: The Ravine, which is out in theatres and soon headed to Amazon Prime Video; The Vanished, which is No. 2 on the U.S. Netflix, which he wrote and directed, starring Anne Heche, Thomas Jane, and Jason Patric; as well as the highly anticipated 13 Minutes, due to release theatrically later this year.
After seeing the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 14-year-old Facinelli knew acting was his calling. He remembers watching the film for the first time on the silver screen, “Paul Newman and Robert Redford looked like they were having the best time ever. It looked like a fun job. I want to do this for a living.” Afterward, he approached his parents and informed them of his dream. “Telling my parents I wanted to be an actor was like telling them I wanted to go to Mars. They didn’t understand it.”
Facinelli was born in Ozone Park, a neighbourhood in Queens, NY, and is the youngest child of Bruna and Pierino Facinelli, Italian immigrants, originally from Tentino in Northern Italy. Like most immigrants at the time, Pierino was a relentless hard-worker, waiting tables six days a week while Bruna was a homemaker. Young Facinelli had the opportunity to see his dad only on Sundays. At home, Facinelli lived with his grandmother, who only spoke Italian, his parents and three sisters. He was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, another neighbourhood in Queens, NY. Ironically, he never took part in any of the school plays. Fast-forward to present day, and now he has three daughters of his own.
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
While attending college, Facinelli met Mark Amitin, who used to manage such actors as John Belushi and Willem Dafoe. Amitin changed the direction of Facinelli’s life forever. Facinelli confided in Amitin about his love for acting, and Amitin explained to him how crucial it was that he study acting at college. Today, Facinelli provides the same advice for anyone wanting to get into the business. “As an actor, anybody can get a job. You can get lucky and get a job but to have a career and to make a living, it requires a foundation. It requires training. It requires honing a craft. If you’re serious about being an actor, you should really study it. A surgeon just doesn’t pick up a scalpel and operate.”
If he hadn’t met Amitin, he wouldn’t have had the knowledge or the where-with-all to study acting or to transfer to NYU’s famous Tisch School of the Arts. However, this well-known acting school cost twice the tuition, and his parents were the bank. Giving an Oscar-worthy performance, Facinelli explained to his parents his real passion was to become a lawyer, but, since he was shy, it was imperative he studied acting. Mom and Dad were supportive of their son’s decision, but in his heart, he honestly believes his parents supported him, regardless of the profession he chose to pursue as long as he was happy. After NYU, Facinelli attended the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School in New York City, where his teachers included Oscar-winners William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman.
Facinelli is what they call a Hollywood hyphenate – a producer, writer and director. His writing career took off 15 years ago because he was becoming frustrated with the scripts he was receiving. “As an actor, you don’t have a lot of control and sit around waiting for other people’s scripts. It’s frustrating because you’re at the mercy of these scripts, with someone else writing them.” Eventually, Facinelli decided to write his own material. His first script was a little movie he produced and sold to the Hallmark channel called Accidentally In Love.
In 2010, Facinelli started the production company, A7sle Films. The company’s first feature, Loosies, was a fast-paced dramatic comedy that Facinelli wrote and starred in, which was about a clever and romantic pickpocket in the New York City subways.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation asked Facinelli to help spearhead a campaign for prostate cancer awareness. His father is a survivor of the disease. Facinelli was quick to accept the project and helped by spreading the word on his Instagram and Twitter accounts. In a photograph, Facinelli can be seen wearing only his underwear with the following tweet:
Hope this got your attention…
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Today I’m launching the #NicTailorNoPants campaign in partnership with @prostatecancerfoundation sponsored by Nic Tailor Underwear to get men talking about their prostate health.
To ALL the guys out there, here is the mission: To Help spread awareness, please post a selfie in your underwear or bathing suit and tag 3 other men to do the same using #NicTailorNoPants and tagging @prostatecancerfoundation. Have fun with it and make it your own.
In 2015, Facinelli co-wrote the young adult novel, After the Red Rain, with The New York Times best-selling author Barry Lyga. The novel immerses readers in a dystopian future world of environmental collapse and mass poverty, where a mysterious boy, named Rose, discovers that he possesses inhuman powers that can irrevocably change the lives of everyone on the planet.
“I wrote The Vanished in three weeks, but it took seven years to find financing.” The film tells the story of a husband and wife who will stop at nothing to find their missing daughter, who disappeared on a family camping trip. When the police don’t find any leads, the parents take over. The picture stars Anne Heche, Thomas Jane and Jason Patric. Facinelli was initially planning on only directing the film, but after assembling such a great cast, he decided he wanted to have some fun, as well, and ended up playing a smaller part, Deputy Rakes. “Honestly, it was a lot of work, juggling, directing and acting because every time I had to play the deputy role, I’d come in full costume because I didn’t want to waste time changing.”
The Ravine is based on a book, which was inspired by true events. “The movie is about forgiveness. My character ends up killing members of his family one night.” In the film, Facinelli’s character is best friends with Eric Dane’s character. “Eric is left with these broken pieces; how do you move on and forgive?” Facinelli’s character taps into the theme of mental illness, which is one of the reasons he took on the role. “If you’re feeling like your back is against the wall, and you need help, reach out. If my character had reached out to his best friend, that night might not have happened.”
“It’s about the destruction of a tornado that rips through a small town in Oklahoma.” Facinelli emphasized that this isn’t the average Hollywood take on tornadoes. “This movie is less glitzy and shows, in 13 minutes, the effect a tornado can have in all of these people’s lives.” Facinelli plays a newscaster who warns people that the tornado is coming. Then, he realizes his family is in its path. “I remember when we were shooting, a woman on the crew said she lost her house three times in tornadoes. If you don’t live through it, you don’t understand the devastation.” The film stars Amy Smart, Thora Birch and Anne Heche.
The majority of fans would probably agree that Facinelli’s most well-known role is Pattinson’s father, Carlisle, in the Twilight series. Facinelli almost passed on the part: “I almost didn’t read for Twilight. My agent said, ‘Do you want to do a vampire movie?’ And I was like, ‘No.’ I was totally thinking blood and guts and bats in caves, like some kind of horror movie. They literally talked me into reading the book, and I actually enjoyed the book a lot.”
Facinelli is absolutely correct when he said one person can change your entire life. Not only did Amitin change his path but his role as Dr. Carlisle turned the character actor into a major Hollywood star.
Photographer: Storm Santos
Styling: Franzy Staedter
Grooming: Angie Mikaelian for Exclusive Artists Management