Robert Davi is not a dick.
I know because we had dinner the other night. A four hour dinner. We discussed Bond films, politics, and our decades-spanning, nonexistent feud. He was a generous, good-humored man. You might know him for his role as Federal Agent Johnson in Die Hard and Jake Fratelli in The Goonies.
But let’s go back to the beginning. The other day, I wrote a post about Licence To Kill, in which Davi plays Bond villain, Franz Sanchez. Wait, let’s go back to before the beginning. In the mid-nineties, I had a run-in with Davi on the set of a show where he was, let’s just say, a little not nice. I won’t go into details because when I wrote the post, I was not trying to grind an axe or settle some vendetta. I had honestly forgotten about the incident and I’m sure Davi would not have remembered it either. Or me at all for that matter. But when it came time to write about Licence To Kill, it popped back in my mind. So I laughed, and thought it would be funny to make him the villain of the piece as well as the film. I cherry picked some tweets and a video of him to illustrate my point. But what’s more important is that never, IN A MILLION YEARS, would I have thought he’d read it. That doesn’t mean I was fine slamming him behind his back, I just figured it would be an over-the-top characterization. I don’t like hurting people’s feelings.
Now back to the beginning again. The afternoon after the post went up I received a Tumblr message from him suggesting we do an interview. I never believed, IN A MILLION YEARS, that this was him. Well, turns out it was and not long after, we were emailing.
I explained the little incident from fifteen years ago and that the piece I wrote that day was all in good fun. I also put forward that instead of an interview, I buy him a meal and he can sit there and tell me all about what it was like to be a Bond villain. Nothing would make me happier. Unless of course he actually agreed to the meeting in which case nothing would make me more terrified.
We met at Via Alloro in Beverly Hills. I got a bottle of wine and drank as much as I could as quickly as I could. When he arrived, fashionably pretty late, the staff greeted him with smiles, hugs, and Italian phrases that I can only assume translated to ‘Yes, he’s sitting over there and we’ll take care of the body when you’re done.’ I’m only sharing my inner monologue at that instant because the moment he sat down I could tell that this was going to be a friendly and unique experience. He brought me a CD of his Sinatra songs and on the first of my many trips to the little blogger’s room, I said that he shouldn’t worry, I wasn’t going to come back and ‘Sollozzo’ him. When he laughed and quoted Sterling Hayden’s line ‘I’ve frisked a thousand young boys.’ I knew we were in for a great night.
He’s an intense, passionately political guy and though our cable news channels are probably very different, our senses of humor aren’t. I had a great time. We had a bottle of wine, broke bread, broke a caprese salad, broke some sausages, a duck ragu, a lemon tart, some tiramisu, and drank a round of limoncello. I had every intention on picking up the tab but when I returned from my seventh or so trip to the restroom he had already paid. Add gentleman to his description please. And maybe even, friend.
I would say that I learned my lesson about talking trash, but the experience was such a good one, that I’m thinking of calling Daniel Craig an asshole just to so we can go miniature golfing.
Thanks for dinner, Robert Davi. Let’s do it again.