World Down Syndrome Day! An interview with actor Kevin Iannucci about his career and his new film “Champions”

(Last update: March 21, 2023)

Photo credit: Tanya Young

Today is World Down Syndrome Day! At We Are Entertainment News, we thought what better way to help raise awareness for Down Syndrome than to showcase one of today’s most sought-after young talents with Down Syndrome, Kevin Iannucci!

At the age of seven, Iannucci’s brother cast him as the lead actor in several of his short films, and thus began the journey that saw him work with Bissell, Sam Rockwell and Bobby Farrelly among many. ‘others. Iannucci was committed to exploring, developing and growing further in his craft, he began taking acting classes at a local community theater North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theater (NRACT) and Moonlight Stage Company. He also became a member of an inclusive theater in 2011 where he would be involved in the entire creative process, from story creation to stage production.

Iannucci’s commitment and hard work, as well as his undeniable talent, have earned him a reputation as a darling of high-profile directors. His dream of being on the big screen came true when he was cast in the film, The best of enemies. From then on, he landed a role in the film besieged and is now in the new movie, Champions.

Champions is a hilarious and heartwarming story of a former minor league basketball coach who, after a series of missteps, is ordered by the court to manage a team of disabled players. He soon realizes that despite his doubts, together this team can go further than they ever imagined. Iannucci plays “Johnny” in the film which also stars Woody Harrelson, Kaitlin Olson and Matt Cook.

Hi Kevin! Thank you for joining us and helping us celebrate World Down Syndrome Day! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. I live with my mum, dad and two older siblings, Daniel and Drew, who first introduced me to my love for acting at a young age.

Please share with us more about the start of your career and how you and your love for the game have progressed.

I started acting at the age of 7 in my siblings’ short films. I also joined an inclusive theater where I did many plays but always knew I wanted to be in TV/movie. When I watched shows, I saw myself being part of the cast and I always knew that I could pursue my dream.

How have some of the challenges you encountered affected your outlook on life? How do you believe that your life is a testimony of hope for others?

I never let Down Syndrome stop me from pursuing what I wanted because I always believed in myself. I want the world to see me as Kevin, not Kevin with Down syndrome. I hope that pursuing my acting dream and the success that comes with it will show others that if you believe in yourself and work hard, anything is possible..

Absolutely! How would you like the industry continue to move forward and break down the boundaries of inclusivity?

I want the industry to continue to hire more people with physical or intellectual disabilities in front of and behind the camera.

What do you think is the most important thing you would want people to know about you as a person? As an actor?

I’m a nice person, I love making friends and making people laugh. I have worked hard to become the actor that I am and will continue to learn with each new opportunity.

How did you become part of the movie, Champions? What has this opportunity meant to you as an artist?

I auditioned through my agent, Katie McGrath with KMR Talent. Getting the role of Johnny was a dream come true and the basis for my future roles.

Share with us all you can about the film and your character.

Johnny is a friendly guy who lives with his mother and sister. He is very family friendly and loves to cuddle! Johnny also loves animals and playing basketball with his team. The movie is about a special Olympic basketball team that gets a new coach and they end up learning from each other.

Kevin, please put on your PR hat and tell us why people should go see the movie.

Champions will make you laugh, cry, but above all, will make you feel good. You will fall in love with the whole cast! Oh yeah, Woody Harrelson is in it too! I had the best time working with the entire cast and crew of Champions. We were like family and all became great friends!

Kevin’s Favorites!

Favorite snack?

Peanut Butter Banana

Favorite movie? (in addition to champions lol)

Avengers Endgame

Favorite TV movie?

Love in the spotlight

Your favorite vacation?


Favorite color?

Red is my signature color!

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