Danny Nucci discusses playing an athlete, wearing a Dodger's uniform and the record he just made.

Having first seen Danny Nucci in Brotherhood of Justice, as moviewatcher I have had the pleasure of seeing his career grow in the myriad of roles that he's played. There's Officer Rivetti in Crimson Tide, Fabrizio in Titanic, and now Benny in the family friendly The Sandlot 3: Heading Home.

We recently sat down with Nucci to discuss making the film and what else he has going on in his career.

Were you a fan of the other Sandlot films? Did you watch them to help you with the Benny character in this movie?

Danny Nucci: I just wanted to see what the tone of the film was and who the character that I would be playing was, that's why I watched it. I'd never seen it before. Actually, my kid, I have ten year old, she said, "Yeah, you gotta see it, dad, it's really good!" (Laughs) So I watched it.

What attracted you to this particular role?

Danny Nucci: There's three things I've always wanted to play... a musician, a superhero and a professional athlete. This was the chance to play the professional athlete.

You had essentially two roles in this. You play the old mentor at the beginning of the film and then you play the character as a younger baseball player. Did you do any research like hanging out in the player's locker room? Or, the management office?

Danny Nucci: Years ago, I spent some time with Tommy Lasorda. So I sort of saw what a jovial spirit he was and I sorta brought that into it. As far as athletes, I've just met a lot of them just being in the entertainment industry and going to events. As far as how they were, I just kind of took what I learned about professional athletes in general and sort of put that in there.

What was it like working with all the kids in the film?

Danny Nucci: I have a kid that is basically just a couple of years younger than most of them, so it was like hanging out with my kid for a month. (Laughs) It was just fun, goofing around and teasing them and they'd tease me. We had a lot of laughs. It was just a fun, fun experience. Plus, we got to play baseball together, you know? I became 14 again!

You often hear about actors who put on a uniform or something for a film and that really helps them feel their character, did you find that that happened when you put on the iconic Dodger's uniform?

Danny Nucci: As an actor so much of it is how you feel in the clothes, it sort of gives the posture and mannerisms; just based on how the clothes feel. It's very different doing a scene in shorts than doing a scene in a suit. You become somebody else. It was the same thing, once I put on the Dodger's uniform I just really kind of felt like the player. Also, with the wig and mustache, I really felt like it was the '70s.

That hair and the hat they had you wearing... they really got it.

Danny Nucci: I was going for a Tony Orlando-look, did I pull it off?

You did fine.

Danny Nucci: I was going for a mix of Tony Orlando and Freddie Prinze.

What do you think it is about these Sandlot films that makes audiences connect with them so much?

Danny Nucci: What I liked about it was that I loved the message. It was done in a way that was very entertaining and funny; a wonderful ride. It was about being a team player and following your heart and all that. When I saw the first movie it was very, very entertaining. It was fun. I cared about these kids. It brought me back to what it must've been like to have been a kid in the '50s and in this being a kid in the '70s. I think that's what's attractive about the films. Plus, it's fun! What a great way to spend 90 minutes it's really a hoot.

Definitely. All the films in the Sandlot series have really been well done. I don't think anybody watching the films, even if they didn't play baseball, could watch the films and not see a little bit of their childhood in them.

Danny Nucci: Yeah, because I watched this one... most of the films I've done I end up dead so I haven't watched a lot of them with my child; either of my children. My 10 year old, I was able to sit and watch this with her and she's not a big baseball fan. As a matter of fact she'd never gone to a Dodger game until recently and she just loved it and she's not really a baseball fan.

Now, I'm gonna go back to the early part of your career, because this is one of my favorite movies, seriously, can you tell me what it is was like doing Brotherhood of Justice?

Danny Nucci: Oh my god! You are going way back! You don't mess around... jesus.

I remember when that came on and my friends and I formed a group after it and everything.

Danny Nucci: Well, what we had was a bunch of young actors that, a lot of them, have gone on to huge success. It was like their first kind of shot, really. So everybody was really into the doing the work and plus, you get a bunch of guys that age on location, it was a romp. It was fun.

What are you working on now?

Danny Nucci: Actually, after I did this, I started working on making a record. Just having done this and that, I'm working on my music it's really, really great.

You're not getting out of acting...

Danny Nucci: No, not at all. Just being able to take the time to do that right now its just the greatest. If I had my druthers I'd rather sit in a recording studio for 12 hours a day. That's my passion.

What kind of music are you doing?

Danny Nucci: Well, I don't know how to describe it... somebody said I sound like a mixture between Michael Penn and Crowded House.

The Sandlot 3: Heading Home is currently available on DVD from Fox Home Entertainment.

Evan Jacobs