Tommy Reid, co-producer of Kill the Irishman and director of Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman, recalls where he first heard Greene's name. as told to Beth Stallings
WHEN I WAS A STUDENT AT OSU, my buddies from Cleveland would talk about this Danny Greene. In 1995, the Internet was just getting its start, and there were no articles, so to me, he was an urban legend.
I was in Los Angeles after film school when my buddy told me about the book being written on Greene. I met with [Rick Porrello], the author, and bought the rights to the film before the book was in galley form. It was a huge risk, but one that ultimately became the passion of my career. And 13 years later, here we are.
Danny Greene didn't die wealthy. He gave it all back to his community. You never really have a protagonist that ends up broke. That's something you don't get a lot of in real characters. That's what really attracted me.
He killed people. If you crossed him, you were going to get hurt. But if you were on his side, you were going to be taken care of. Kind of like the Mafia, but the Irish version.
Once you see the movie, you're going to want to find out more. That's where the documentary comes in. You get to see real people who had real dealings with Danny Greene, people who went head-to-head against him.
I think it was destined for him to have the outcome that he had because everything was lined up in front of him at a very young age: the animosity against the Italians, learning about life on the streets.
IF YOU GO
Kill the Irishman will play at the Cedar Lee, the Cinemark at Valley View, and Regal Crocker Park starting March 11. For more information, visit clevelandcinemas.com, cinemark.com or regmovies.com.Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman will be screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival on March 25, 26 and 27. For more information, visit clevelandfilm.org.