How Vincent D’Onofrio ended up on The Moth Effect’s season finale

Vincent D’Onofrio

“They have written such a good little script.”

The Moth Effect featured two international stars in Vincent D’Onofrio and Bobby Cannavale, when the final episode premiered on Amazon Prime Video on September 3.

Mediaweek caught up with D’Onofrio who was back in New York to find out about how the acclaimed drama actor ended up doing an Aussie sketch show during the middle of a pandemic.

Gracie Otto (series director) is a friend of mine and, and she introduced me to Nick Bosheir and Jazz Twemlow – they sent me a couple of different things, and I could tell that they were good writers. They sent me something I really, really thought would be a good idea to do and so they brought me out, and they got Bobby interested in doing it. And we ended up doing it. My daughter was born in Australia, so I have been there for many, many, many, many, many years of my life back and forth. So it’s not that odd that I eventually worked there,” said D’Onofrio.

This is actually the first sketch comedy that D’Onofrio has done in his 40-year career, but he said he had confidence in working with Bunya Productions and Gracie Otto.

“This could be the first sketch comedy show I’ve ever done in my career, and that’s like 40 years. So it was very different in that way. But I know a bit about Bunya Productions and the films and the series that they’ve made, also Gracie Otto approaches things in a very cinematic way as well. So there were a lot of production values.

“I love those guys (Boshier and Twemlow) because some stuff has a low budget look, and other stuff they put a lot of time and effort into it. They do this mix of styles and genres, and this particular one is quite something because Gracie did it in a very similar cinematic way. The set was in a large gymnasium, which they lit to make it feel like this kind of hidden underground area.”

Vincent D’Onofrio

The sketch sees D’Onofrio play a classic Bond villain who struggles to maintain the attention of his protagonist, a role that the famed character actor enjoyed.

“I’ve made quite the career playing villains so it didn’t feel that different. But this in particular with Nick and Jazz, they have written such a good little script. I told them as soon as I read it what I wanted to bring into it. I brought in a few different accents that I combined together so I’m doing three different accents, and everybody agreed that it was really fun to approach it that way.”

Working with Bobby Cannavale

D’Onofrio wasn’t the only big name to appear on the show with his villain character being opposed by Bobby Cannavale’s James Bond. D’Onofrio said the pair have a long history together despite not working together much.

“I used to do a show called Criminal Intent and he was a guest character on that show, that’s when he first started. And I’ve seen him in lots of plays. We never became close friends, but we’ve been in the same circles and we like each other a lot and get along really well.”

Moth Effect

Working in Australia

When asked if working with a streaming partner like Amazon was part of the appeal, D’Onofrio admitted that it played a part, but said that a lot of other factors made working in Australia attractive as well.

“It’s not just all the big ones, there are streaming channels in Australia as well. I found that getting to know the people at Bunya, and Gracie and those guys (Boshier and Twemlow). The whole idea of working out there is kind of appealing to me, I met a lot of writers and read some treatments and looked at some potential decks for series – there’s some really cool stuff I may come back and do.”

How did filming work?

While the shoot itself took only a day, D’Onofrio said that it took a few months of preparation to plan him coming to Australia for the shoot, with Covid-19 making things more difficult.

“When we had made the decision to go, you guys had no numbers. And then suddenly, by the time I had gotten on a flight the numbers had started going up. I ended up in quarantine for two weeks and then straight into work, and then back home.”

Bond, James Bond

With The Moth Effect’s sketch parodying the real James Bond franchise, the new trailer for James Bond: No Time to Die was released this week. D’Onofrio thought the similarities between the two were funny.

“I think it’s hilarious that the new actual Bond trailer has dropped and ours is coming out. There are clips of the villain inside a glass chamber like our glass chamber, and it’s funny that it’s happening at the same time. I love that.”

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