Laval’s own Domenic Di Rosa hits the big screen as mobster-soldier Toto Russo

Renata Isopo
Domenic Di Rosa, portraying Toto “The Butcher” in one of the scenes of the latest movie Mafia Inc.

An offer you can’t refuse, a Sicilian/Calabrian message, cement shoes, or minced meat in the butcher’s shop. One of Laval’s finest actors on big and small screens is an integral part of the latest crime saga that has scored big with movie fans of all ages. Gritty or romantic, disturbingly silent or loaded with tough talk, the movie, Mafia Inc. is heavy on red sauce and makes plenty of room for Montreal’s most notorious mobsters
Actor Domenic Di Rosa, strikingly embodies the rotten force of a fresh-faced gangster butcher. That’s probably why what should be a simple act of murder ends up spiraling out of control.
The 41- year-old, born and raised in east end Montreal, from an Italian mother and French-Canadian father, came into the world with acting already in his blood. That’s all he ever wanted to do since Hudson High School. In a candid interview, Domenic told TLN that Drama teacher Kevin Woodhouse was his inspiration and mentor. Woodhouse told him, “You got it in you,” so “I pursued it,” he stated. “I didn’t go to acting school – just Drama from high school did it for me.”
Domenic launched his career at an on-the-spot audition for the Model and Talent Bureau of Ontario. “Chosen out of 12,000 people, I’ve been very active in the industry since then, 1998 to be exact,” he said with very warm smiles through beaming blue eyes. His resume boasts 24 films and TV series.
“I’ve done odd jobs in between, married with four children, live in Chomedey, Laval, and love everything I do.” Oldest daughter Samantha, who accompanied Domenic at the interview, attends Laval Junior Academy and, as his greatest fan, expresses great admiration for him.
Asked what she thought about her dad being an actor, Samantha easily answered, unable to camouflage her immense pride, that “If he wants to follow his dream, he should. He’s really good at it.” But as for her, she has no interest in following in her father’s footsteps for the moment, since she appears to be very shy.
Domenic’s biggest break was the TV series Letterkenny, produced by Mark Montefiore, based on a Canadian story, filmed in Sudbury. “This was the first role I landed, a homegrown sleeper, it’s become huge,” he stated.
Mafia Inc., inspired by reporters Andre Cedilot and Andre Noelle of Montreal’s La Presse newspaper, gives the script the delivery it deserves. “I play the Butcher. Basically, I’m one of the soldiers who disposes of people in the slaughterhouse, turning them into minced meat!” Let’s say, I’m the right-hand man,” he chuckled.
Notorious Montreal crime lords, the rise to prominence of widely-feared gangsters, the Mafia’s fall from grace after settling of accounts. It’s all part of a genre we’re eternally fascinated with, whether truth or fiction, reality or fantasy. The Sicilian Mafia, originating from the city of Cattolica Eraclea, exudes love, loyalty, hate, and division, fiction laced with truth.
Domenic attributes the movie’s success to spells mob movies exert as powerful influences over cinematic imaginations, showing dark sides, the underbelly of polite society, and codes practiced and broken. Some “mobs” are just glorified street gangs, while others have wormed their way into the very fabric of societies they prey on, but they’re all characterized by tribalism and archaic ethical rules, orbiting around magnetic pulls of the boss.
Domenic’s interpretation of Toto Russo, the butcher is the perfect fit for the role – sweet-looking with an overpowering hulking body. Hitting screens on February 14th, Mafia Inc. has earned $700,000 across Quebec on 86 screens. La Presse has given the movie a four-star rating.