Dennis Farina is known best for his roles of the tough guy in films like “Get Shorty” and “Snatch”. This year Dennis is starring in one of his notable role called “The Last Rights of Joe May”. He is also co-starring along side Dustin Hoffman in HBO’s upcoming show “Luck”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dennis about this new film and about his fantastic performance.
Mike Gencarelli: How did you become attached to “The Last Rights of Joe May”?
Dennis Farina: The script was sent over to us by a friend of an employee who works at our film office. I read the script and liked it immediately. I started talking with our writer and director Joe Maggio about the script and I asked him if he would be willing to change the location in the story from New York to Chicago, which he did. We worked on the script a little bit more and it was really fun. It was great to be involved with something written so beautifully. Shooting in my home town was especially nice as well.
MG: What did you like most about playing the character of Joe May?
DF: He is a fish out of water whose time has come and gone. The thing is he doesn’t know it yet. Joe is just hanging on and he really believes he has one good score left in him. Of course everyone knows it’s not going to happen but he clings to that dream. That’s what I like most about the character. Joe May is very truthful and what you see is what you get.
MG: Did you do anything special to prepare for the role?
DF: [laughs] No. I didn’t do anything in particular training wise. It was really cold during shooting so running and climbing was fun. We made a lot of jokes about that.
MG: What do think makes this film worth checking out?
DF: I hope it does what films are supposed to do which is to provide entertainment. A film allows you to escape for a couple hours and be entertained. I don’t know that there is any great message in the film but it’s a character study of a world that most people don’t get to see.
MG: Was there anything interesting that happened during production?
DF: Nothing really out of the ordinary other than it was just so cold. A lot of the scenes there was no acting going on as it was cold! Joe Maggio said to me that the weather is a character in the movie. If the film was shot in spring or summer it’s an entirely different film. Shooting in the winter allowed us to add the weather as another obstacle Joe has to overcome.
MG: What do you normally look for in a character when you approach a project?
DF: Where a person comes from or what they make a living doing doesn’t really matter to me. I am more interested in how the person does specific things. The way a person does things is I think what makes a character interesting for me.
MG: What can you tell us about your upcoming role on “Luck”?
DF: “Luck” was created by co-executive producers Michael Mann and David Milch. We are very fortunate to be a part of such a great cast which includes Nick Nolte, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Gedrick and a bunch of other great people. It really is a great group to be around. The show revolves around the behind the scenes workings of a race track. Everything from managers to jockeys to how the horses are treated makes up the base of this series.
MG: What can you tell us about your character on the show?
DF: I play Dustin Hoffman’s right hand man. Our characters have known each other for a long time and whatever Dustin’s character needs done or found out I am the guy who does it.