INTERVIEW: Benicio Del Toro on ‘Escape at Dannemora’ and Ben Stiller

It’s tough to put my finger on exactly what it was — but for some reason, I found myself rooting for “Escape at Dannemora” to take home an Emmy last month. The limited series was nominated for 12 but came away with none.

Was it because I covered the New York premiere and spoke with all of the main players — from stars Benicio Del Toro and Patricia Arquette to director Ben Stiller? I’ve covered plenty of premieres and junkets in my career and that rarely equates to me becoming a fan. Perhaps the fact that Stiller, obviously known mostly for his comedic chops, triumphantly showcases his directorial skills? That storyline — a professional finding success in a new gig — certainly resonates at the moment.

I loathe the term “upstate” but was it familiarity of the setting: state trooper vehicles, Governor Cuomo (portrayed by “Sopranos” star Michael Imperioli) and the Western New York connection? That probably played a small role.

If you’re unaware, the Showtime limited series is based on a true story of a prison break that took place on my birthday in 2015. The mastermind was born near my hometown of Niagara Falls, New York; his daughter is a hairdresser and my best friend is one of her clients.

Ultimately, I think I found myself rooting for the show because it was just really, really good. And in the end, holding substance in as much regard if not more than style is what I’ve always been about.

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