New York City, New York, United States
Joe Perrino's "discovery" is the fodder on which Hollywood legends are born. Hanging out with his brother on the Bronx street on which they live, he was spotted by a talent scout who set up for an audition for the fourteen-year-old with director Barry Levinson. The result was the key role of the young Lorenzo (a.k.a. 'Shakes') in "Sleepers" (1996), which followed the lives of four Hell's Kitchen youths from their petty criminal youth through months in a reformatory in which they were sexually abused to adulthood (where Shakes, now a reporter, was portrayed by Jason Patric). Perrino earned widespread acclaim for his work, which properly combined the street tough attitude of his environment with a naivete of the broader, meaner world. While "Sleepers" was Perrino's first leading role, due to release schedules, his motion picture debut actually came with a small part in "The Juror" (also 1996) in which he was the Mafia grandson brutally murdered during the film's first few minutes.