|Date of Birth
||3 May 1971
|Place of Birth
||Union City, New Jersey, USA
Having dreamed of becoming an actor since the age of eight, Bobby Cannavale joined the prestigious Circle Repertory Company and with no official acting training, he did anything to get his opportunity to appear in productions. He swept floors and worked as a play reader before eventually being asked to be an understudy in the French farce “A Flea in Her Ear,” in which he was offered to fill in for lead Mark-Linn Baker who was ill at the time.
Meanwhile, in 1996, Cannavale made his feature film debut appearance as a parking lot customer in Herb Gardner's film adaptation of his own Tony-winning play, I'm Not Rappaport, starring Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis. He followed it up with a bit part in Night Falls on Manhattan. The crime/drama film, based on the novel by Robert Daley, stars Andy Garcia and Ian Holm and marked Cannavale's first collaboration with then father-in-law Sidney Lumet who directed and wrote the screenplay of the film.
Cannavale subsequently had a lead role in the Williamstown staging of Paul Rudnick's comedy "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told," in 1998. On screen, he began playing a recurring role, as Joe (1998-1999), on the short-lived NBC drama "Trinity" and had a supporting role in the Lumet-directed remake of John Cassavetes' 1980 film, Gloria (1999), starring Sharon Stone. He also landed a regular role, as kind hearted paramedic Bobby Caffrey, on the NBC drama "Third Watch," the following year. Cannavale was with the show for the first 2 seasons (1999-2001) and received an ALMA nomination for Emerging Actor in a Drama Series in 2000. He eventually left the series by asking the producers to kill off his character.
“Bobby is a great paramedic. He’s the kind of guy everyone relies on. He’s 100 percent there for his patients, his co-workers and his family. That’s a lot of pressure. And at the end of the day, there isn’t anyone who is 100 percent there for him.” Bobby Cannavale (on his character on "Third Watch")
In fall 2001, Cannavale joined the cast of the short lived, Lumet-directed courtroom drama series on A&E, "100 Centre Street," playing ADA Jeremiah "J.J." Jellinek, opposite Alan Arkin. He then had a featured role in the British romantic comedy film helmed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer, The Guru, alongside Jimi Mistry (2002), Heather Graham and Marisa Tomei, and joined the cast of the HBO prison drama "Oz" in 2003. He also received praise for his portrayal of Joe Oramas, a thirty-year-old Cuban who is working in his sick father's hot-dog trailer for the summer, in writer-director Thomas McCarthy's independent drama comedy, The Station Agent (2003). For his performance, he was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and won a Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor.
“It’s still all surprising. I’m still shocked that we finished the movie, that we actually made the movie. (It) took us so long, man – three and a half years to make this film.” Bobby Cannavale (on The Station Agent, 2003)
Cannavale won 2005 Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his recurring role as Vince D'Angelo (2004-2006), Will's (Eric McCormack) first long-term boyfriend, on NBC's popular sitcom "Will & Grace." Meanwhile, he was cast opposite Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez in Shall We Dance (2004). He recalled, “Shall We Dance (2004) (is) a remake of the Japanese film with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez. It’s the first time I had a big part in a big movie – that was its own experience, totally different. They cast me in a really fun part – I get to be funny. I had to learn how to dance, we all did. We had to beg, borrow and steal to make Station Agent, this one, we have the money to literally hire the greatest dancers in the world to teach us how to dance!"
2005 saw Cannavale in John Turturro's musical romantic comedy starring James Gandolfini and Kate Winslet, Romance & Cigarettes. He also co-starred as Javier Duran, the massage therapist lover of an abortion clinic counselor played by Lisa Kudrow, in writer-director Don Roos' comedic drama Happy Endings (also starring Tom Arnold, Steve Coogan and Maggie Gyllenhaal), and returned to stage in the role of Phil in the David Rabe play “Hurlburly” at the 37 Arts Theatre in New York.
The next year, Cannavale was cast as part of an ensemble cast in Richard Linklater's fictionalized film loosely based on the non-fiction book by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation. In the film, which also features Greg Kinnear, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Wilmer Valderrama, Ashley Johnson and Paul Dano, Cannavale portrayed Mike, the bossy meatpacking plant supervisor who always keeps his eyes on all new female employees.
“That book changed my life in a lot of ways. I haven’t touched fast food since I read that book; my son doesn’t touch it either. I was really honored to be asked to be in the movie. The last ten minutes of this movie is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a movie. I know a lot of people who’ve read that book haven’t eaten fast food since then. I think more people go to the movies than read books nowadays, which is sad, but if enough people go to see it, hopefully the fast food industry will change.” Bobby Cannavale (on Fast Food Nation, 2006)
Also in 2006, Cannavale was cast in Patrick Stettner's adaptation of Armistead Maupin's psychological thriller novel, The Night Listener, playing Gabriel Noone's (played by Robin Williams) long-time homosexual partner Jesse. Additionally, he co-starred with Samuel L. Jackson in David R. Ellis' summer thriller, Snakes on a Plane, playing FBI Special Agent Hank Harris.
About his role in Snakes on a Plane (2006), Cannavale explained, “I’m Sam’s (Samuel L. Jackson) partner in this movie. I’ve gotta find the bad guy and find the anti-venom… in 20 minutes or less.”
He also said, “I kinda had a feeling that a movie called Snakes on a Plane starring Sam Jackson was gonna probably get a lot of buzz. Quite frankly, I’ve never been in a movie like that. I thought it was gonna be a lot of work and a lot of long hours but it was none of that. David is the most laid-back guy in the world. We had like 8 hour days. It was the easiest job I have ever had and I got to jump out of helicopters!”
After co-starring with Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega in writer-director Brad Silberling's romantic drama comedy 10 Items or Less (2006), Cannavale appeared in two episodes of ABC's one-season sitcom, "The Knights of Prosperity." He will soon be seen in Alec Baldwin's adaptation of Stephen Vincent Benet's classic short story, The Devil and Daniel Webster, which will be released in July 2007 under the title Shortcut to Happiness, and in David Wain's upcoming comedy film set to be released on August 3, 2007, The Ten, alongside Paul Rudd, Jessica Alba, Winona Ryder, Adam Brody and Gretchen Mol. He will also appear in Justin Theroux's romantic drama comedy starring Billy Crudup and Mandy Moore, Dedication, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and is subject to be released on August 24, 2007.
Cannavale has completed an upcoming TV series pilot directed by Spike Lee called M.O.N.Y. and has wrapped up Brad Furman's crime/drama film starring Tyrese Gibson and John Leguizamo, The Take. He will soon finish John Krasinski's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, starring Julianne Nicholson, writer-director Eric Red's horror/thriller 100 Feet, alongside Famke Janssen, and Terry Kinney's comedy Diminished Capacity, with Matthew Broderick, Virginia Madsen and Alan Alda.
While filming Cannavale, Bobby, a member of the New York City based theater companies Circle Repertory Theatre and the Lab Theatre Company, also continued working on stage. He appeared in the world premiere of Lanford Wilson’s "Virgil Is Still the Frog Boy" at the Bay Street Theatre, performed in the world premiere of "The Young Man and the World" at Circle in the Square in New York, and in a production of Noel Coward's "In Two Keys." It’s been announced he will star in an upcoming Broadway production of Theresa Rebeck’s “Mauritius,” which will be directed by Tony Award winner Doug Hughes.