MCCC: Joe Pantoliano

One of the many high-profile celebrity guests of The Motor City Comic Con this year was Joe Pantoliano. This Emmy-award winning actor is almost a 35 year veteran of Hollywood and has starred in such geek favorites as The Matrix, Daredevil, The Sopranos and one of his upcoming projects is The Job with Ron Perlman. In 2006, Joe was the lead role in and was a producer of Canvas, a stirring drama about a family dealing with mental illness, which has won seven international film awards and earned the praises of experts everywhere for it’s realistic approach and portrayal of mental illness. This is an issue that near and dear to Mr. Pantoliano, and he is using his star power and celebrity status to support this cause that is he is so passionate about.

The Pullbox got to speak with him a few minutes near the end of the show on Saturday about this. “The Brain needs to have the same rights that the kidney, liver and heart do”, Joe explained. He is the founder and president of the No Kidding, Me Too! organization (nokiddingmetoo.org). This group’s purpose is fight to remove the stigma from mental illness and break down the societal barriers so that in very real ways, families can get the help they need.

We know this is a tough fight. We know years of ingrained socialization causes people to recoil or isolate anyone with the scarlet letter of mental illness. Just saying the magic words “mental illness” can cause a deep-seated defensive reaction in many people. However, we also know that by releasing the talents of those with mental illness — by giving them the opportunity to use their outstanding artistic and intellectual skills — we will vastly improve the world. And this is a cause worth supporting. We are ready for the fight and we ask you to please join us in the revolution and help us educate souls all over the world to “Remove the Stigma!” (from the website)

Later this week, he will be appearing before Congress to further add his support to the cause and talk about the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act (Bill # H.R.1424).

Mr. Pantoliano has my highest regards and personal admiration. Here a well-known and talented actor who has no less than 5 major projects that are presently being filming or in post-production. He has the entire day with fans who have loved his body of work and are curious as to what Joe has coming next. While he certainly didn’t shun his present projects, he simply directed the fans to imdb.com and instead of promoting himself, he promoted his cause. Joe Pantoliano is not only a very personable and gifted actor, but is a good man who is passionate about he believes. Please go to No Kidding, Me too! to support and learn more about this organization.

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Updated: May 18, 2008 — 6:13 am

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