Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Mob Wives cast member Ramona Rizzo talks about "Donnie Brasco"

It’s hard to decide where to start with how much Ramona Rizzo, the new “Mob Wives” cast member, hates the movie that made her family famous.
But let’s start with how they dressed Al Pacino — who played Ramona‘s grandfather, Bonnano crime family soldier Benjamin “Lefty Guns” Ruggiero, in the gangster classic “Donnie Brasco.”
In 1997, the movie wardrobe people decided to make Pacino look like a poster boy for polyester and bad plaids.
“Our mom went to F.I.T.,” Ramon protests now. “And my grandma owned a clothing store. They were really high-end dressers, and the clothing alone that [Pacino] wore in the movie — my grandmother must have been turning over in her grave.”
HOT SAUCE: Ramona Rizzo is bound to change the dynamics.
HOT SAUCE: Ramona Rizzo is bound to change the dynamics.
And that was only the beginning.
“It also didn’t tell the whole story,” she says. “My grandfather didn’t bring this guy [FBI undercover agent Joe Pistone, the character played by Johnny Depp] into it. That was someone else.
“It took me a long time to watch that movie,” Ramona says. “It depicted [my grandfather] in a false light. I wasn’t a big fan.”
After someone surreptitiously supplied her a copy of the script during filming, Ramona did, however, get on to the set to front up Pacino .
“I told him, ‘When it comes to my grandfather, regarding his family life, if you could depict him in the light of a man who loved his family more than anything, just do that,’ ” she says.
“My grandfather was a man whose heart was open and a man who was full of love for us,” she says.
“He died on Thanksgiving, in Sloan-Kettering, of cancer,” the year before the movie came out. “He spent 13 years in prison and we got him for only a measly year and a half” after he got out.
Adding a new face to “Mob Wives” — which starts its second season Jan. 1 — seemed something of a necessity this year.
The four original stars — Renee Graziano, Drita D’Avanzo, Carla Facciolo and Karen Gravano — had fallen into two camps — Renee and Karen vs. Carla and Drita — and the geometry of the show begged for a new wrinkle.
But, at least in the beginning, it seems clear whose side Ramona is on.
“Karen and I knew each other before we were born — our moms were pregnant at the same time,” Ramona says, laughing.
“I called her parents ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle.’ We did our Holy Communion, high school and a little bit of college together and slept over each other’s houses.
“We did everything together. We’re a sisterhood. We couldn’t be closer than if we had the same DNA.”
And the first episode of the new season indicates that Ramona is not exactly a peacemaker.
In her first appearance, Ramona is shown egging on Karen in her war with Drita — a beef over Drita’s now-jailed husband, who Karen dated before he married Drita.
“People might take my bluntness and say, ‘She’s a bitch,’ ” says Ramona. “But if I consider you my friend, I’m going to give you my point of view. I’m not doing it maliciously. It’s like, ‘We’re talking, we’re cool and this is what I want to say.’ ”
Ramona is reluctant to talk about the latest news on the show — the headline that overshadowed her arrival — that Renee’s ex-husband turned government witness last fall in a case against her father.
That’s someone else’s family, she indicates, and none of her business.


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