9:00pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Switched at Birth' Star on Emotional Death: Show Needed a 'Dramatic' Boost (Q&A)
[WARNING: Spoilers ahead from Monday's episode of Switched at Birth, "The Image Disappears."]
Switched at Birth bade farewell to one of its own.
The ABC Family drama took a dramatic turn when Angelo Sorrento (Gilles Marini) died following a horrific accident during last week's episode that landed him in the hospital.
Marini, who has appeared in more than 40 episodes, said the decision to kill off his character in such an emotional way was a decision he supported. The way he sees it, Angelo's death forces other characters such as Bay (Vanessa Marano), Regina (Constance Marie) and Daphne (Katie Leclerc) to head in new directions.
"We thought it was something that would eventually help the show bring new storylines and a lot of drama," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. Marini talks to THR about when he first found out Angelo would die, how he feels about it and what he'll miss most about the character.
When did you find out that Angelo would die?
Two weeks prior, I had a meeting with the executive [producer Lizzy Weiss]. We all talked about doing something pretty drastic. I wanted to have something meatier and strong for my character. We thought it would eventually help the show bring new storylines and a lot of drama. As soon as Angelo Sorrento passes, a lot of things are going to happen that are going to change everything. After three seasons, this is what the show needs, and I am extremely happy that it's my character that goes down this road. It was something for me, as an actor, that I needed, and I'm happy that it happened.
Were you satisfied with how Angelo died?
Yes, for so many different reasons and levels. For example, the way Angelo passed is similar to the way my brother-in-law passed when he was 29 years old. For me, it was the family connection that I lived with, so it was important for me to portray that. And more important than everything else, the fact that the family decided to donate his organs. What was a bit weird was when I told my mom about it: "I'm excited to be a part of something so intense. My character is dying on the show." My mom refused to watch it because it was too real for her.
Do you think there was more story to mine with Angelo? Could he have lived a little longer?
I think the show is on its 60th episode, or something like that. [Monday's episode is the 67th episode.] It is time. [On] shows like Game of Thrones, main characters die after episode nine. This is what makes the show live a long time. I was excited to put this on my résumé.
How do you think Angelo's death will impact the other characters and resonate through the rest of the series?
When I lost my dad I was kind of the same age that the girls [Bay and Daphne] are on the show. It's very simple. You either stand up and you become the man or the woman you will be the rest of your life, or you derail and you go toward things that you should maybe not go toward. Who's going to be the one who says, "I forgive you," to what Regina did prior [to Angelo's death]. How Daphne's going to react to the loss of the father she wanted to have. All those things are going to come down the pipe. The show needed to have something dramatic and I'm so happy it happens to my character, because I don't see anybody else going down that road and having that kind of impact. We needed to tie up something that's meaningful enough that makes the show interesting. You needed to have that happen.
At the end of the episode, there was a lot of guilt with the other characters following Angelo's death. Who has the most trouble dealing with that guilt?
I think Regina will have a difficult time and will have to give quite an explanation, and Daphne. Keep in mind, she's the one who grew up without a dad and she finally had one. Every season there's one episode that makes a difference and makes the show what it is, and I think this is that episode. And everybody will see why.
Will there be a chance for you to return in flashbacks?
Yes, absolutely. A lot of people got thrown off last week because Constance Marie, queen of social media, posted pictures of me on set with a 19-year-old child that no one is aware of, so people thought, "Angelo is not dead!" I thought it was kind of clever and funny but I think yes, I might come back once or twice in flashbacks or a "what if" episode. I told Lizzy, "Anytime I'm free, I'm yours!"
What will you miss most about your character?
The complexities of being a dad. I'm a very hands-on dad and I love my kids. This guy was very different from who I am. He was trying to do everything he could to be a dad but he was very awkward about it until the last episodes there when he figured things out. I really enjoyed that complexity.
Switched at Birth airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.