A third generation Italian born in Brooklyn, New York, American actor Daniel Franzese got his professional career start on regional and national theater before receiving his huge break as Cousin Derek in the movie Bully (2001) for director Larry Clark. Since then, he has acted in many movies such as Party Monster (2003), Mean Girls (2004), Cruel World (2005) and War of the Worlds (2005). Recently appearing in Whirlygirl (2006), the 6-foot 3-inch actor will play various roles in the forthcoming projects The Iron Man (2006), Bar Starz (2006) and Killer Pad (2007). On stage, Franzese earned a Carbonell nomination for his bright supporting performance in a musical, “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.”
As for his personal life, Franzese idolizes Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Gary Sinise and Joe Manti, and likes to watch his favorite movies Serial Mom and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. His favorite musicians are Eminem and 50 Cent.
Childhood and Family:
Daniel Franzese was born on May 9, 1978 in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York to father Ralph “RJ” Franzese, a lounge singer, and mother Denise. Along with his younger siblings, Christopher and Diana, and his parents, he relocated to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida at age 9. He was educated at Piper High School in Sunrise, Florida from 1992 to 1996, and continued to attend college at Florida School of the Arts, majoring in Musical Theatre. However, Daniel quit in 1998 to pursue a stage career.
Aside from acting, Franzese is an award-winning amateur Boxing champion.
11-year-old Daniel Franzese landed his first gig in commercial, but his parent banned him from a professional career. Instead, he was suggested to participate in school productions until he was old enough to choose whether or not acting was something he wanted to make a career of. At age 20, he decided to leave college to perform in regional theatre, and soon after that, he was handed a Carbonell nod for Best Supporting Actor in a musical for “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.” The success led to an assignment in the national Broadway tour of “Tony And Tina’s Wedding.”
Franzese, however, did not have chance to break into cinematic industry until 2001, when he won the lead role of the tender, sad, depressed Cousin Derek in Bully (2001), director Larry Clark’s true crime masterpiece. He was spotted by Clark and casting director Carmen Cuba in a south Florida nightspot and they later had him audition for the part. Among his costars in the crime/thriller movie are Brad Renfro, Rachel Miner, Bijou Phillips and Nick Stahl. Following the auspicious debut, he was cast as Abel in Hometown Legend (2002), appeared as altar boy in Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (2002), portrayed various characters including a Giant Rat in the Macualy Culkin and Seth Green vehicle Party Monster (2003).
2004 saw Franzese act in the short Soleado, team up with Val Kilmer in Stateside, and play supporting role Damian in Mark Waters’ Mean Girls, which starred Lindsey Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Tina Fey. He went on to take on roles in such films as Bristol Boys (2005), a crime/comedy about the rise and fall of a group of small town marijuana dealers, the Steven Spielberg-helmed War of the Worlds (2005), opposite A-list actor Tom Cruise, and the great movie Cruel World (2005), costarring with Edward Furlong.
Recently, Franzese appeared with Monet Mazur and Julian Morris in Jim Wilson’s Whirlygirl (2006), playing Clive, and guest starred in an episode of the TV series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” as Dean Harden. He is scheduled to have a feature role in the biopic film The Iron Man (2006), play Big Mikey in the comedy Bar Starz (2006), as well as star in Killer Pad, a comedy/horror for 2007 release.