Playing The Bad Guy - Leo Rano is becoming Hollywood’s best villain

Recitare nel ruolo del cattivo - La trasformazione di Leo Rano in miglior cattivo di Hollywood

Leo Rano (Photo: Dina Goldstein)
Leo Rano (Photo: Dina Goldstein)

Leo Rano (né Primerano) had $92 in his pocket and was living out of his car when he first arrived in Vancouver in 2013. The Montreal-native had spent the last few months trying to make connections in the acting business in Los Angeles, but the flash and glamour of Tinseltown proved too distracting for the aspiring actor. “I did party. It is LA and I was excited. So, I spent all my money in five months,” he laughs. “When I came up to Vancouver I was a bit discouraged. I realized I had to change something because otherwise I was gonna have to go back home and I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to feel like a failure.”One month after arriving in Vancouver, Rano landed a role in the film Skin Trade. It was his first big break. “It just happened so fast. I was living in my car four weeks before that and, next thing you know, I’m in Thailand filming a movie with all these big stars.” 

Leo Rano (Photo: Dina Goldstein)

In the movie Rano plays a Serbian sex-trafficker named Janko Dragovic, opposite action stars Dolph Lundgren, Tony Jaa and Ron Perlman. The 31-year-old says playing such a vile character was emotionally draining, but it taught him how to step outside of his comfort zone.“I’m usually a pretty happy-go-lucky guy and I love to make people laugh in my real life,” explains Rano. “But for this role I had to tap into another side of myself and I discovered a talent I never knew I had.”

Rano played the villain so well he has since been cast in several other bad guy roles. Most recently he played Luca Abruzzi, the son of a mob boss, in the fifth season of the Fox show Prison Break. “I actually love playing bad guys,” says Rano, whose family comes from Calabria. “As an actor, at first, everyone wants to be that American hero, and you want to be the star. But then I discovered that being a villain was just so much fun. When you’re the hero, there are rules you have to respect and you’re being directed all the time. But as a villain, you’re given so much space and freedom to do what you want.”      


"When you’re the hero, there are rules you have to respect and you’re being

directed all the time. But as a villain, you’re given so much space and freedom to do what you want.”    


While shooting Prison Break, Rano struck up a friendship with actor Dominic Purcell, one of the stars of the show. He says Purcell gave him some handy advice about making it in Hollywood.“Dominic taught me to never take any bull, never change who I am and to always be strong and humble,” says Rano. “Hollywood can eat you up and having someone of Dominic’s stature tell me that I was doing great really meant a lot to me.”

Leo Rano (Photo: Dina Goldstein)

Purcell also taught Rano how to roll with the punches – literally: “While filming the last episode of Prison Break, Dominic accidentally punched me and broke my nose. But they kept filming without knowing and I delivered the dialogue until the scene was done. So the blood we see on my face is actually real.”

Rano’s nose has since healed, and he just wrapped up shooting the action film S.W.A.T.: Under Siege, which stars Adrianne Palicki and Michael Jai White. The young actor says he’s going to keep pursuing his career in Hollywood, with his heart set on landing bigger and better roles: “This is not an easy industry; things are not handed to you,” says Rano. “I’ve been blessed with the opportunities I’ve had so far and I’m going to keep on auditioning and keep on going. I’m really excited.” 

Leo Rano's instagram handle is @leo.rano



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