He’ll have a second season!
Brooklyn-born actor William DeMeo is riding high on the success of his most recent release — but he isn’t letting it slow him down. In fact, the Gravesend native is already looking ahead to season two of the series named after his hometown.
The first four episodes of “Gravesend,” the 80’s mob series formerly known as “The Neighborhood,” premiered on Amazon Prime in March, and was quickly lauded as one of the platform’s most streamed mini-series.
“It trended number one for three straight weeks,” the actor said. “The response has been awesome, and everybody is asking for more episodes. So we’re already thinking about how we can start getting out there, and shooting more episodes.”
The brainchild of DeMeo, who doubles as the show’s director and lead actor, the series centers around mob “soldier” Benny Zerletta as he grapples with leaving behind a life of crime.
Constantly challenged by his mother’s dying wish for him to seek guidance from above, Zerletta must find himself — while managing to not get himself killed.
The show, in production since at least 2017, filmed the bulk of its first season in the ‘hoods where DeMeo grew up, and the actor plans to do the same for round two — which, he told Brooklyn Paper, will be much longer than the show’s short-but-sweet premiere season.
“We’re definitely going to be giving people more of what they want,” DeMeo said, adding also that the series has been picked up to play in other countries via the streaming service. “There’s a big demand for it in the UK – and within the next two months it’ll be in Canada. We just signed a foreign deal — and a deal for more episodes — so pretty soon the whole world will get to see 1980’s Brooklyn.”
While production across the city and the state is on hold still due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, DeMeo said he plans to chip away at season two as early as September — and bring the camera crew back to southern Brooklyn as soon as early 2021.
The show, so far, has filmed at neighborhood staples like Lenny’s Pizza, L&B, and Our Lady of Grace Church — DeMeo’s parish. The crew even made sure to shoot scenes at the now-shuttered Vegas Diner, before it closed for good and an episode of season
“We’re going to hit all the old locations and some new ones,” said the showrunner, who starred alongside John Travolta in the 2018 John Gotti biopic “Gotti.”
His “Gravesend” castmates include Louis Lombardi, James Russo, Nicholas Turturro, Leo Rossi, Paul Ben-Victor, Joseph D’Onoforio, Patrick Borriello, Christina DeRosa, Chris Tardio, Ken Lerner and even Bo Dietl, the former New York City Police Department detective and mayoral candidate.
And there will be even more big names next season, DeMeo said.
“We’re adding some really well known cast members next season,” the actor told Brooklyn Paper. “It’s going to be very exciting — and we’ll have more of a budget to really extend this. The goal is to do multiple seasons but the beauty of it right now is that the world wants this show.”
And the new season can’t come fast enough for diehard fans of the show, who’ve been on the edge of their seats waiting to find out the fate of the show’s lead character, DeMeo said.
“Everyone wants to know what happens to Benny — and people are going to find out,” he said. “A lot of questions are going to get answered in season two.”
Until then, the local celebrity says he’s just taking it all in.
“The feedback has been astronomically great – the biggest compliment I get is when people say they remember when Brooklyn was like that,” DeMeo said. “I’m just very grateful. It’s a dream come true to be able to shoot a show in my neighborhood.”