ON THE WEB
NAPLES — Michael Zaccheo is where a lot of men would like to be.
It's 1 a.m. on a gorgeous Miami night.
He's liquored up.
His pants are around his ankles.
Georgian beauty Elena Satine lies naked in bed.
And dozens of crew from TV show "Magic City" are crawling over them angling for the best shot.
The Naples actor nabbed a guest star spot the season finale of the Starz drama about the collision of commerce and the Mob in a glamorous Miami Beach hotel in 1959. The show, created by Mitch Glazer, stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Danny Huston; the episode, titled "Time and Tide," airs June 1.
While the actor has popped up as an extra in "The Glades," "Burn Notice" and movies like "Rock of Ages" and "Step Up 4," he likens his time on "Magic City" as wholly different.
Zaccheo plays an unnamed character known only as "Drunk Businessman" in the show. His character has "bed-slamming" sex with Satine's Judi Silver in a bungalow by the Miami River during a blowout bacchanal. Party-goers gather around to cheer on the pair before police bust up the party.
"There's like twenty to thirty guys from the party around the bed, glasses of Scotch and cigars," Zaccheo said. "They're throwing money at all over the bed."
He describes his journey from Naples to a double bed in a Miami bungalow as a "funny story," starting at the Burton & Robinson Agency in Fort Myers.
A coaching session with Marjorie Morhaim in Fort Lauderdale arranged by his agent Lori Wyman left Zaccheo's hair mussed and his clothes disheveled. He also left motivated and with some specific instructions.
"[The coach] goes 'when you leave here, you don't come out of character,'" Zaccheo recalls. "When I left there, I felt like was drunk driving out to the audition."
Zaccheo and five other potential "Drunk Gentlemen" walked into a poolside cabana for a casting session in front of Ed Bianchi, who was directing the episode, and Glazer.
Zaccheo was the only actor to remain in character. He burped, stumbled and asked for a drink.
"'Scuse me, anybody know where the vodka is?" Zaccheo remembers asking at the casting session.
Bianchi and Glazer exchanged a few words, dismissed the men and sent an assistant out to summon Zaccheo. "We want you," he remembers the girl saying.
While he had picked up a couple of episodes as an extra on "Magic City" before, this part came with his own trailer - just like the stars.
"I've got the artistic director knocking on my door asking 'Anything you need Mike, you let me know,'" Zaccheo said.
And just like the stars, there was a lot of waiting.
He arrived on set around 4 p.m.; cameras didn't start rolling on his scene until after midnight.
"Magic City" examines the intersection of money, the Mob and magnificent ambition in the Miami of the 1950s. For Zaccheo's scene, the show has various riverside bungalows set up as the various locations of a wild party. Craps tables in one spot, roulette in another, a liquor table over here and prostitutes over there.
This was the actor's first nude scene - and it came with a few surprises.
"Just before rehearsal, the artistic director comes back in and hands me this sock," Zaccheo laughs as he describes the "modesty pouch" used by male actors in nude scenes. "What? You want me to put it on now?"
The embarrassment didn't end there. Choreographing a nude scene (even on premium cable) requires the actors contort various body parts and show emotion without showing too much skin. For Zaccheo, it was an interesting learning process.
"It's a nude scene, there's a prostitute on her back," Zaccheo said. "I put my legs around her legs, the director is shouting 'no, no, no!'"
Once it came time to shoot, the fun still wasn't over.
"I go to pull my pants down," Zaccheo said, "there's a wardrobe malfunction and that sock falls off!"
He and Satine shot a total of six takes.
Zaccheo describes the nude scene as "easier than he thought," even thought there were 50-60 actors and assorted crew members surrounding he and Satine in the muggy Miami night.
"You get in the moment," he said. "You become that character. You forget that everybody is even there."
What's next for Zaccheo? His production company, Moontouch Cinema, is in post-production on "Stuck," an independent romantic comedy written and directed by Neapolitan Mitch Glass. "Stuck" filmed at various locations around Naples in mid-May and hopes to show at next year's Naples International Film Festival.
Zaccheo isn't sure how much of his scene will survive to air on the final cut of the episode, but he's sure of one thing. No one in the scene was wearing a lot of clothes.
"You're gonna see my hairy legs for sure!"
Find out more about actor Michael Zaccheo at michaelzaccheo.com.
Full Disclosure: Michael Zaccheo previously appeared in a Naples Daily News "Read. Learn. Share" marketing advertisement in 2011. "Stuck" writer and director Mitch Glass is a part-time contract employee of the Naples Daily News.