- Bobby Cannavale had a hand in dressing his “Nine Perfect Strangers” character, Tony Hogburn.
- He chose certain t-shirts to make Tony look like “somebody who really didn’t care anymore.”
- Cannavale told Insider he also insisted on the character’s wide-brimmed hat.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Hulu’s “Nine Perfect Strangers.”
When Bobby Cannavale signed on to join the “Nine Perfect Strangers” cast as Tony Hogburn, he wanted to make it obvious that the former professional football player had lost his way.
After being forced to cut his career short due to an in-game injury, Tony becomes addicted to oxycodone, an opioid pain medication. His life unravels, in part due to his dependency on the drugs, leading his wife to file for divorce and causing his children to stop taking his calls.
“I wanted to make sure that, physically, he looked like somebody who really didn’t care anymore,” Cannavale told Insider.
Tony’s loose t-shirts and wide-brimmed hat were Cannavale’s idea
From his first scene in “Nine Perfect Strangers,” Tony comes off as a man that doesn’t think much about what he wears — but that’s only because Cannavale is the opposite.
The actor said that he personally picked out t-shirts with the Styx emblem and “Planet Hollywood Orlando” written on the front for Tony to don during his 10-day stay at Tranquillum House, a high-end boutique wellness retreat. He wears the Styx t-shirt in episode four and sports the Planet Hollywood logo when he kisses Frances in episode six.
“I thought that would help tell a bit of the story,” Cannavale said, noting that he was also “insistent” on the character’s wide-brimmed hat.
“It was really a lot of the physical things,” he added.
The actor also influenced Tony’s bar fight scene
Executive producer David E. Kelley’s limited series is adapted from Liane Moriarty’s 2018 novel of the same name.
In the show, there’s an additional subplot included in Tony’s story that doesn’t appear in the book: Years before arriving at Tranquillum House, the retired athlete accidentally kills a man that picks a fight with him at a bar.
And even though Tony doesn’t instigate the brawl, he’s still overcome with guilt following the stranger’s death.
When Cannavale first read the “Nine Perfect Strangers” script, he said Tony’s life-altering event seemed “pretty vague” to him. He pushed the show’s creators to clarify the various situations that led to his downfall.
“I was like, ‘Well, either we really see what happened there, or we don’t have it at all.’ The next thing I knew, they just fleshed that scene out a bit more and added that as an element,” he explained.
Cannavale recalled having a frank conversation with director Jonathan Levine about how Tony’s role in the altercation is portrayed in the flashback scene in episode four.
“I remember as we approached it, just being really clear with Jonathan to make sure that I didn’t start the fight, that it was something that he could not get out of,” the actor said.
Cannavale added, “He could not back out of that situation.”
“Nine Perfect Strangers” is currently available to stream on Hulu, with new episodes released weekly.
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