January 26, 2010

Classic Dennis Farina Story

My last post about Midnight Run reminded me of my all-time favorite junket story. Dennis Farina, who's part of the exceptional ensemble cast of Midnight Run playing mobster Jimmy Serrano, has spent his entire career either playing gangsters or cops. Farina, who before he became an actor actually was a cop, was in town to promote one of his police roles. In 2004 he joined the cast of the television juggernaut Law & Order. I was working at the Comedy Network at the time and we were invited to cover the CTV "Up Fronts" which is essentially a series of quick junkets with some of the stars of the shows that would populate the networks lineup that fall. Farina is well known for his admiration of fine clothing, and he didn't disappoint showing up in a $3000 suit with shoes so shiny they were like mirrors. One of the correspondents for our show, David Reale, was barely twenty years old and dressed in the official uniform of youth: t-shirt, ripped jeans and a pair of weathered Chuck Taylor's. The contrast between the two outfits was striking enough that it made them both look like they'd arrived at the wrong place. Farina gave him a quick up and down as he entered the room and generally seemed a little wary of the slightly goofy interview from the under dressed kid, but Reale's natural charm had warmed him as it went on. Just as the interview ended, Farina leaned over and shook David's hand, then reached into his suit pocket and produced a handful of twenties and chucked them at a surprised Reale. In that classic Farina voice he closed the interview by saying "Now go buy yourself a decent fucking pair of shoes."

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