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‘RJ Berger’: The cushy times of Paul Iacono

Paul Iacono’s life’s goal is simple — be a villain in a Batman movie.

Paul Iacono’s life’s goal is simple — be a villain in a Batman movie.

In the meantime, the 22-year-old’s ability to stay humble after getting his big break in “Fame,” bring to life the resilient persona of the geeky, lovable leading man in MTV’s high-school drama “The Hard Times of RJ Berger” and find the free time to pursue his passion for playwriting sounds like a superpower in itself.

Iacono started writing his play “Prince/Elizabeth,” about drugs, sex, musical theater and the sacrifices one makes in the pursuit of fame, as a freshman at Marymount Manhattan in 2007. While auditioning for small roles between classes and not finding the kinds of characters he hoped to play, he started writing his own. “There weren’t any roles with meat on them, dealing with s— that real 19- and 18-year-old actors deal with,” Iacono says.

After he realized he was “a bad academics kid,” one semester into college, Iacono began to focus on acting full-time. First he landed “Fame,” then came the audition for RJ Berger, a teen who definitely deals with “real s—.”

“This kid has a rough life. But the charm to the story is that RJ never gives up, no matter how bad things get for him,” Iacono says. “He always perseveres and he always keeps going. And he doesn’t let life knock him down. And that is the big moral of the story.”

Sidekick is OK too

The actor known for playing the nerdy hero wouldn’t mind playing a bit of a badass someday.

“Someone with some edge, someone a little darker, maybe something New York-style if I could be so lucky,” Iacono says. But even if we have to wait a little while to see his dark side, Iacono isn’t giving up on his comic-book adaptation dreams. “I will settle for [playing] Robin,” he admits.

 
 
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