NBC’s heart-tugging series set in a Brooklyn apartment building where family comes first has already helped "The Village" actor Daren Kagasoff see life a little differently.
"I like to think everybody has good in them," says the actor who made his debut in ABC Family’s former high school drama, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Six years after saying goodbye to his teen dad character Ricky Underwood, Kagasoff returns to a major network role in "The Village."
He plays Gabe Napolitano, a law student who finds himself involved in his neighbor Ava’s legal case. He’s not yet licensed to practice law, but he’s taken on the task (pro bono) of helping her avoid deportation after a recent arrest by ICE agents.
"It’s just so amazing because it’s something that’s going on right now in the world and it’s very unfortunate," Kagasoff, 31, says. "Ava has a family and we found out her papers were forged and we’re just trying to do the best job we can do to keep her here and fight her case in the best way we can."
Kagasoff’s Gabe was encouraged by his "Village" neighbors to lend his services to Ava (Moran Atias), and in episode 5, we see him attempt to secure her a practicing attorney. Said lawyer, portrayed by "Young & Hungry" actress Aimee Carrero, just might help spice up Gabe’s own storyline.
"You’ll get to see our relationship develop," he teases.
Until now, most of Kagasoff’s screentime has been shared with "The Sopranos" star Dominic Chianese, who portrays his nosy grandfather, Enzo. Filming over the course of six months in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the actor says the cast became a family off-screen and on. Kagasoff, born and raised in Los Angeles, even spent the Christmas holiday with Chianese in the city.
"It’s been a true dream job. True dream. Not only do I love working on the show, but the city in general," the actor says. "The message I get [from ‘The Village’], is people need to get out of their comfort zones and selfish ways and reach out to people even if they’re not family and look out for each other. That’s what life is about."
He adds: "It’s the way that I want to live my life and I’ve learned a lot in my personal life in doing this role."
Five reasons to watch "The Village," with Daren Kagasoff
1. "The script is absolutely fantastic."
2. "The cast is superb. Unbelievable people."
3. "The writers have truly done something exceptional. That’s three, right?"
4. "Mike Daniels, our leader, showrunner, he’s everything. You don’t have such a special thing if it doesn’t start from the top."
5. "From our first table read, doing the pilot, we knew we had something really special because we all got along. On screen, yeah we get along, but off-screen, these people have become very close to my heart and I’d do anything for them."
Bonus: "There’s just so much heart. The main part about the show that I love is we’re telling real stories. I think any viewer who watches the show, they can look in and find a character that they relate to or is relatable to someone they know."