Chicago native son Dennis Farina couldn’t be happier that his “The Last Rites of Joe May” will be opening this year’s Chicago International Film Festival tomorrow (10/6). It’s a huge personal payoff for the veteran actor who took a gamble on auteur moviemaker Joe Maggio and his tale of an aging con artist who gets one final shot at redemption.
“It feels wonderful. I hate to say it, but I was right: Joe Maggio is a good filmmaker,” declares the one-time Chi-town police officer, indulging in a little rightful gloating. Farina says he took to Maggio’s script “right away. My only concern was, I wanted to shoot it inChicago. Joe came toChicago and adapted everything for the city.”
That led to the toughest aspect of making the movie — “shooting in Chicago in December! It was so cold! But we always said the weather should be a character in the picture itself,” Farina says. “The weather obliged. When we needed snow, it would snow. It is sort of the Winter of Joe May’s life. If we shot in the Spring, it would have been a different kind of movie. The locations meant so much.”
He’ll go with “Joe May” to warmer country,Ft. Lauderdale, later in the month to screen the film and be feted with Lifetime Achievement honors. “I was very surprised by that, delighted that they wanted to give me this honor,” he says.
He’ll also be doing tub-thumping in support of the film inNew York this month. According to Farina, “Tribeca Films bought ‘Joe May.’ They are working on a release. We’re going to different festivals, then it will open inNew York and probablyL.A.”