Hollywood came to the Riverdale section of the Bronx last month when Mad Men star turned director John Slattery shot scenes from his upcoming film God’s Pocket at the Riverdale Steakhouse, the popular Irish bar and restaurant owned by Co. Roscommon native Terry Connaughton.
Connaughton, a former member of the NYPD who has been active in local GAA circles for several years, couldn’t have been more pleased with how his brush with stardom went. Not only did he provide his restaurant for interior scenes for the film, but he also got to say a few lines.
“We had a great time,” Connaughton told the Irish Voice. “They really liked our location and spent the whole day here, from early in the morning until late in the afternoon.”
The crew and some of the film’s cast members – but not the star, Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman – arrived in Riverdale at dawn on Tuesday, July 16. Slattery had scouted the Riverdale Steakhouse prior to that and deemed it the perfect location to double as a restaurant in Philadelphia, where his film is set.
Irish American Slattery hit it off with Connaughton to such an extent that he used the restaurateur as an extra. Connaughton was given the part of the restaurant’s maitre-d and filmed a scene with the actor Richard Jenkins, known for his roles in the HBO series Six Feet Under and a Best Actor nomination in the 2007 sleeper hit The Visitor, and Christina Hendricks, Slattery’s Mad Men co-star.
“Jenkins plays an alcoholic news reporter who’s also a ladies man, and he was in the restaurant with a female named Jeanie, played by Christina Hendricks,” Connaughton related.
“So my lines were, ‘Is everything all right folks?’ and ‘What’s a pretty girl like you doing with a guy like this?’ It was great fun.”
Slattery shot the scene 15 times, and Connaughton’s daughter Mary-Anne asked him if her father was the reason why.
“He said not at all, that’s just the way they have to do things,” Connaughton said.
Slattery couldn’t have been more pleasant or professional, Connaughton added.
“He’s really a terrific guy. He was telling me that he was in Ireland last year at a castle in Galway with his family and he loved it there.”
God’s Pocket will mark Slattery’s directorial debut. The film also co-stars John Turturro.
Due for release next year, the film tells the story of “a guy named Mickey [who] gets in over his head when he tries to cover-up the accidental death of his stepson,” according to the movie site IMDB.
Slattery also co-wrote the screenplay, which is based on a novel by Pete Dexter.