A few days ago I found myself in a taxi headed to La Guardia airport with my good friend Alessandro Nivola. ALESSANDRO NIVOLA: Yeah, so I had this girlfriend at Yale... I didn't have any connection with the whole New York scene at all. HAWKE: Funnily enough because I'm so competitive, I remember seeing you in and thinking, "Oh fuck, this guy is good." I remember us hanging out at Café Un Deux Trois after a performance. I'd never done a play, or a movie, or anything in New York. NIVOLA: I'd been doing a lot of regional theater for the past year. And then I got obsessed with you playing the lead of and how good you would be in it. HAWKE: I remember we drank a lot and I had to ride my bike home. NIVOLA: You know, you say you're so competitive, but you are the most encouraging actor-friend that I have. I was like, "Man, if Sam Shepard said something like that about me I would want to know."NIVOLA: But for you as an actor, to give that to another actor, it's an unusual thing.
Plopping down in a Brooklyn lunch spot, Alessandro Nivola couldn't seem more at ease.
There's good neighbor Heath Ledger, he points out, and over here is Hope Davis — whom he lost a house to in a bidding war.
With a piercing gaze and a jawline that could cut glass, Alessandro Nivola looks every bit the Hollywood leading man.
The only anomaly is that it took him so long to get there.
"We veered from the typical hunky doctor,"explains the — well, hunky Nivola, "so we turned him into a misfit who is confident in his job but insecure with who he is."Not Nivola's issue: Offscreen, domestic bliss revolves around his wife, actress Emily Mortimer, and 4-year-old son, Sam.