‘Criminal Minds’ Alum Joe Mantegna Opens Up About New Project

by Madison Miller

There’s no question that Joe Mantegna has done a lot of exceptional work during his ongoing career in the entertainment world.

He has so far made over 200 film and TV appearances, has worked as a producer, writer, and director, and has resonated with audiences in some cult-classic favorites. You may remember him as Joey Zasa in “The Godfather: Part III” or as a baby snatcher on “Baby’s Day Out” or especially as the Supervisory Special Agent David Rossi in “Criminal Minds.”

He’s clearly had plenty of roles, all of them being incredibly diverse. Now, Mantegna is sharing how his new role in “As We See It” On Amazon Prime will always stand out from the rest. The show is about three young adults that are on the autism spectrum.

Mantegna plays the father of one of these young adults. For Mantegna, “As We See It” feels like more than just any other acting role. During his career, he has been exceptionally vocal regarding the fact that he has a daughter on the autism spectrum. The role hits very close to home, which also means there’s a lot of very raw emotion going into his performance.

“This was a unique situation in that there were instances where I can relate in many, many ways. Usually, when I go to work … I’m going from my world of reality to this pretend world that I do for a living. But this is an instance where there’s a little more of the reality mixed in with that pretend. Obviously, it’s scripted, fictional characters and all that, but it’s based on reality, and it’s somewhat based on a reality that I live … I don’t think I could have avoided tapping into some real emotions at times,” Joe Mantegna said to Looper.

Popularity and Connection to Roles

It’s not uncommon for actors to take on roles that are particularly personal to them. It adds layers and layers to the overall performance. After years of performance art, Mantegna says that this role feels like he’s finally showing the world a part of himself.

“I’m not a lot of the things I’ve portrayed in my career, but playing the father of a child with autism, I am. There was that extra layer of, ‘Oh wow, there’s a lot about this I can really understand and relate to and know,'” he said.

The series “As We See It” also made sure that the portrayal and casting were accurate and representative. All three of the young actors are on the spectrum themselves. Beyond that, several crew members are also on the autism spectrum and Mantegna was able to get some friends considered for jobs. For a show all about real representation, it made sure to do it behind and in front of the camera.

As for his past roles, he’s still getting plenty of attention there as well. “Criminal Minds” was the most-viewed TV show among U.S. streaming platforms tracked by Nielsen, according to Variety. The show aired from 2005 to 2020.