The King of Staten Island: Moises Arias on Fitting in NYC [INTERVIEW]

One of the more memorable characters of the coming-of-age dramedy The King of Staten Island is Igor, played by Moises Arias. He's part of Scott Carlin's (Pete Davidson) crew that includes Oscar (Ricky Velez) and Richie (Lou Wilson). The foursome hangs out and smokes weed whenever things don't up. As an aspiring tattoo artist, Scott is pretty awful, and his friends rag on him as a work in progress. Igor became the unofficial guinea pig for most of Scott's work. I spoke with Arias about working on the film and what it's like to work with director Judd Apatow and Davidson.

Moises Arias arrives for the 'Five Feet Apart' Los Angeles Premiere on March 07, 2019 in Westwood, CA
Moises Arias arrives for the 'Five Feet Apart' Los Angeles Premiere on March 07, 2019, in Westwood, CA. Editorial credit: DFree /

"When I came in, I played around a couple of scenes with Judd [Apatow], Pete [Davidson], and [producer] Barry [Mendel]," Arias said. "It was a good environment. I was very nervous. I didn't think it went well. A couple of months later, I was in New York [City] doing the same thing. They moved us to Staten Island. It was a very interesting difference from downtown New York City to Staten Island. From there, however long you're there, you try to find out about the city. I think that's where it started to develop. At the same time, I'm working with stand-up comedians and actors."

The King of Staten Island: Pete Davidson's Enduring Gem [REVIEW]
Moises Arias as Igor, Ricky Valez as Oscar, and Pete Davidson as Scott in The King of Staten Island (2020). Image courtesy of Universal
One staple elements of an Apatow film is his liberal use of improvisation on set. "The environment definitely encourages improvisation," Arias said. "Sometimes it's some of the best things. There are things to yell out and try. It's a great environment. Judd's sets are amazing. Amazing guys and girls are incredible actors. Comedy is very difficult. All the more fun, challenging, and cool." One of the things the group pulls Igor's leg on is his "hot girlfriend" he talks about who they don't believe exists, which is finally revealing following the climactic heist. "It was prepped more than any other scene we did," Arias said. "We shot consecutive nights. There were closed sets due to the pyro. It's a very elaborate scene that got condensed. Balancing that out with the crazy things with what Pete was doing. It was a fun couple of nights." When it comes to how to the actor's handling quarantine, he's adapting when he can. "I'm acclimating to however this keeps going," he said. "I've been staying at home mostly, taking photographs and trying to keep productive." The King of Staten Island also stars Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Pamela Adlon, Maude Apatow, and Steve Buscemi. The film is currently available on Digital from Universal and will be on Blu-ray and DVD on August 25.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.

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