With his distinctive look and unmistakable dialogue delivery, you’re likely to have seen actor Dennis Farina in any number of movies and television shows over the last thirty years, whether it’s his early role in Michael Mann’s Manhunter, key roles in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, or his extended stint on “Law & Order.”
While you might often see this hard-working character actor playing tough mobsters or businessmen, mostly ones who swear a lot, in Joe Maggio’s The Last Rites of Joe May, Farina plays the title character of Joe May, a tough Chicago hustler who winds up in the hospital for months and is released to learn that everything in his life is gone. He’s taken in by a sympathetic single mother (Jamie Anne Allman), forcing Joe to try to come to terms with a new lifestyle that involves taking care of the woman’s young daughter.
Besides putting Farina in a rare leading role, “Joe May” allowed the acting veteran to explore his home turfbefore becoming actor, he was on the Chicago police forceas well as showing a different side of the tough guy movie enthusiasts have grown to love.
In January, Farina will be playing a key role in the new HBO series “Luck” produced by Michael Mann and David Milch and starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, one of the many things we discussed in the video interview below. We also discussed:
* How he found the script by director Joe Maggio
* How the story got transposed to Chicago
* The part Chicago played in the production
* Developing the character
* The unique tone of the film
* Joe May’s awkward living situation
* Working with the young actress
* The mix of humor into the drama
* Doing scenes with Gary Cole
* How much he’s like his characters
* Great stuff about his upcoming HBO show “Luck”
(Note: There are a couple of awkward edits in the video above due to an elevator alarm that went off twice during our interview.)
The Last Rites of Joe May is now available On Demand and will have a limited theatrical release in New York City starting on Friday, November 4.