“Boardwalk Empire” is in its fifth and final season on HBO. While the show is fictional, it is based on actual historical characters and events. Season one took place in Atlantic City in 1920, during the start of the Prohibition Era. The show portrays characters based on real-life people, such as Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, played by Steve Buscemi, and Lucky Luciano, played by Vincent Piazza.
“I think it’s, in many ways, a bit of a history lesson, despite the fictional element of it. You get to see how people live. They created such a rich world, not only with color and environment, but also the wardrobe and hair and the certain gait of the time,” Piazza said.
Piazza wasn’t always an actor. Until the age of 24, he had a career in finance. He decided to quit his job and pursue acting. And we’re glad he did: he truly brings the role of Lucky Luciano to life. (The real-life Lucky later became one of the most powerful American mob bosses in history.) And don’t even get us started on Piazza’s accent… so amazing.
WATCH: ‘Boardwalk Empire’ actor Vincent Piazza has perfected his accent
Season 5 takes place in 1931, during the Great Depression.
Today, Atlantic City is going through some tough times, with three casinos closing (or about to shut their doors). But Piazza is hopeful.
“I will say that Atlantic City is an incredibly resilient place… The cycles that that place has gone through and how it has recovered, it is just a really spectacular place and I think it will resurrect. And not that it has even collapsed, it’s just going through a tough spot,” Piazza said.
Catch “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO every Sunday night at 9 p.m.