Sopranos star Joe Pantoliano visits Greene Theater in PPC

Students had been waiting in the lobby since 1:30 p.m. last Friday. By the time the doors to the Greene Theater opened two hours later, the hall was packed. Within minutes, the doors shut on a full house of eager Emerson students.

Joe Pantoliano, a.k.a “Joey Pants,” the actor responsible for this large turnout, entered late to a round of applause. Known for roles like the traitor Cypher in iThe Matrix/i and the bad-cop Teddy in iMemento/i, Pantoliano announced in 2007 that he suffers from clinical depression, in addition to dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Speaking at Emerson to promote his documentary and nonprofit organization, “No Kidding, Me Too!” Pantoliano said he hopes to raise both awareness and aid for people suffering from mental illnesses.

Between clips of his work, Pantoliano discussed his acting career and the characters he embodied in those films. He said understanding the character’s motivations for what they do is essential to bringing that character to life-especially for his darker roles. In order to play a villain, he says, he has to find a reason for the character to be evil.

“I can’t believe I’m defending these fucking characters,” he said, laughing, after his lengthy treatise on Ralph’s predicament in seasons three and four of iThe Sopranos/i