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The male stripper industry emerged in the United States in the 1990s, and one of the people who helped make it visible was an Indian man named Somen Banerjee, known as one of its pioneers. He was born in Bombay (present-day Mumbai), India, in 1946. He then moved to North America and after running a Mobil gas station for almost 6 years, as well as a failed backgammon club, bought a failed Los Angeles club called “Destiny II”, which he turned into a nightlife offering female mud wrestling and a “Female Exotic Dance Night”.
The 1979 addition of a male stripper troupe performing to address female audiences was the first of its kind in the United States. Somen’s story was associated with several famous controversial and creative characters, one of them was an American director, screenwriter and choreographer named Nick De Noia, initially known for creating a famous children’s show, but later recognized for developing the spectacular stage show for Banerjee’s club. Regarding this story, on November 22 it premiered on Star+ welcome to chippendale (Welcome to Chippendales) and Infobae was alone with the Australian Murray Bartlett (The White Lotus) who got into the shoes of the brilliant and controversial De Noia.
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In 1987 Nick De Noia was assassinated. He was shot in the face with a large-caliber pistol. At the time, the artist was no longer working with Banerjee, but he had a licensing agreement through a company called Chippendales Universal to use the company’s name on his tours. In dialogue with the actor -highly noted for being part of the main cast of The White Lotus of HBO in his first season as director Armond-, at the beginning of the interview he revealed that he really enjoyed his character in Welcome to Chippendale. He also said that, regarding the human being who inspired his role, he considers him a creative genius. “He created a children’s show called ‘Unicorn Tales’ which is amazing. He gives you an idea of the extent of this man’s genius. It is a program for children, but it is very broad and imaginative. Just brilliant”; he expressed excited.
He also did not fall short when referring to his character and what made him special, for which he said: “I love the idea of inhabiting that and how he is so fiercely protective of his creative vision.” According to him, he has met similar people and even believes that he has something of it within his being. “I’m not Nick De Noia, but I identify with it and I was very excited to play with it,” he said. However, he made it clear that the story of this particular man offers a cautionary tale for everyone, since the characteristics that represent it are to be careful.
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For the interpretation of any character, every actor must go through a personal physical and mental process that makes them unique. Some get sensational experiences and maybe others don’t. In the case of Bartlett with De Noia, he stated that he found its transformation and development fascinating for the simple fact of showing that it is inspired by a real person and the story that comes with it. “In welcome to chippendale we had some license to play. However, having the reference point of a person is amazing because you want to try to capture the essence of him, according to some very strong starting points,” he stated.
He further revealed that in order to get into Nick’s shoes, he paid close attention to him, watched all the footage he could, and gathered all the information he felt was necessary to get it right. But he does not leave behind the fact that he also shone because he also had a great team of writers who, like him, were interested in investigating De Noia’s private face, about which not much is known. “There is not much information about it. So he really wanted to explore that and he thought a lot about who was behind his public face.”
“Also in terms of physicality, we had a great costume designer; since it is from the 70s and 80s. The look is part of that world. That was also very helpful to have these amazing time frames close by. We also had an incredible team building on Nick’s appearance,” concluded the actor with an enviable smile.
welcome to chippendale Is available in Star+ from November 22 with its first two episodes, and will have a new chapter every Tuesday.