Rest in Peace, Dennis Farina.
I love this scene from Out of Sight, starting at 0:45 in this clip…
AVC: What do you think makes Elmore Leonard’s work special and so adaptable for movies?
DF: First of all, they’re usually short. I read somewhere that if a book is over 250 pages, it’s iffy for movies. That sounds very pedestrian, I guess. But I think people like that. That’s one of the reasons they’re good sellers, because they’re not 700 pages long. And he writes very clearly and very distinctly and very succinctly. I think everyone can identify with his characters.
AVC: When you’re reading the script for an Out Of Sight or Get Shorty and you see the character you’re going to play, can you tell right away what you’re going to do with that character? Does it jump off the page?
DF: With Get Shorty, I read the book as a matter of course because I’m a big Elmore Leonard fan. I remember saying to myself, “Boy, I would sure like to play Ray Bones.” As luck would have it, I don’t know how long afterwards, I got a call to go to a table reading in L.A. I got a call from Danny DeVito’s office. They wanted me to read Ray Bones. About six months later I was doing the movie. I thought he was the most honest guy in the whole story. He wanted his money, and that was it. There was no pretense. He wasn’t trying to make a movie. He wasn’t trying to be anything else. He was a gangster who wanted his money. I thought he was funny, but I don’t think he thought he was funny. He thinks he’s very serious and that he should be taken seriously, but no one else took him seriously.