“Kill the Irishman” is the latest mob movie to revisit Cleveland’s sordid criminal past. For many, Ohio may not seem like the most likely location for a deep rooted Mafia flick, but for others Irishman Danny Greene’s life story provides a gripping backdrop for the movie, which opens in theaters on Friday, March 11.
Embracing his Irish heritage, Greene reportedly dressed in green, drove green cars and signed his name in green ink. He survived several assassination attempts until his life was snuffed out in a car bomb in October 1977.
The film tells the true story of Greene, played by Irish American actor Ray Stevenson, who spent a considerable part of his childhood in an orphanage. Greene then starting working in the docks from a young age. He later went on to become a union boss, and then went head to head with the Mafia in Cleveland in a bid to gain control of the city’s underground world of gambling and racketeering.
The film tells the story of his dodgy dealings in embezzlement, racketeering and gambling. The fearless mobster was in the headlines for well over a decade.
As well as Stevenson, the cast line up includes Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer and Vincent D'Onofrio.
"Cleveland would not be on your typical organized crime radar," Rick Porrello, author of the book on which the film is based, told the “Los Angeles Times.”
Much of the film was shot in Detroit because of Michigan’s tax breaks. But the atypical setting of Cleveland was a huge draw for Jonathan Hensleigh, director and co-writer of “Kill the Irishman.”
Greene himself was an interesting character. During his lifetime he survived a bombing that destroyed his home. In true bravado style he placed two mobile homes on the site, one to work in and one to live in.