Actress Dominique Bela takes audiences to 1920s’ Chicago in hit AMC docuseries
Growing up in Waiatarua, New Zealand, Dominique Bela spent her time collecting DVDs, watching the same films over and over again. Movies like Dirty Dancing and The Breakfast Club were inspiring to her, telling impactful and beautiful stories. Years later, when she walked onto the set of the television show The Making of the Mob, it felt like she had come full circle; she was wearing a beautiful black velvet dress, her hair in waves, drinking from a martini glass and improvising lines on the 1920s’ inspired set, and she was transported to that world. She knew in that moment that acting was for her, and her passion for filmmaking that began when she was just a child has never wavered.
The Making of the Mob, is an eight-part docudrama that begins in 1905 and spans more than 50 years, tracing the original five families that led to the modern American Mafia, including the rise of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. Follow the story of Al Capone, from his start in New York and his move to Chicago to follow and join Johnny Torrio. Learn how their work for Big Jim Colosimo and the decisions they made stemmed from changing times and helped shape the history of crime in Depression-era Chicago.
The award-winning series was a hit for AMC, a network known for other hits like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, and Bela is proud to have been a part of it.
“I love period shows, and the 20s was such a vibrant time to be alive. The world of the show is incredible and you have so much research to pull from. I wore an actual dress from the 20s and was in hair and make up for two hours to get those 20s pin curls. Al Capone is one of the most notorious gangsters in history so a show about his life is a big opportunity. It’s action and drama and history all rolled into one. It was also an AMC network show, which was a big draw,” said Bela.
Bela, also known for her roles in the film Contrary and national commercials for brands like Blue Moon Beer, SharkNinja, and Credit Karma, had a very different type of role than she is used to in The Making of the Mob. Playing the character of Alice, a savvy 1920s girl trying to survive, Bela had to transport audiences back in time with a flawless Chicago accent in the show. Alice is introduced in the first episode of the series and is integral to Al Capone’s story. His iconic nickname, as many know, is Scarface, which he earns after hitting on Alice and getting into a fight with her Irish gangster boyfriend. Once Al Capone’s face was all cut up, he was a spectacle and it was harder to hold a regular job. He had a wife and child and it seemed the only option for him to make a better life for them was to commit to a gang. The scene also sets the tone for the violence of the series. Bela was ready to take on such a vital scene.
“It’s all real and yet it’s so unbelievable and captivating. I love when you can learn something through a TV show, and this AMC series feels like a drama, but you’re actually learning from renowned historians and then watching these scenes take place. Because it’s TV, it never gets as gruesome as it was in real life, but it’s really shocking what you do see in the show. When we look back at stories from so long ago, we can see it in a clearer light and give opinions based on both sides of law in that time. Al Capone, like most gangsters, was both a hero and villain depending on who you were,” she said.
The entire experience filming The Making of the Mob further ignited a passion for Bela, who has since become a renowned actress in New Zealand and Canada. She still feels thrilled to have been a part of such a popular show, knowing how many people around the world saw her work.
“I believed in the show from the moment I stepped on set so I was sure other people would connect to it as well. There were also actors and crew from all around the world involved, so it always felt like it was going places,” she said.