From Left: Back in the Day star and creator Will DeMeo and producer Greg Basile.
What does the recipe for William DeMeo’s latest independent film, Back in the Day, consist of?
“It’s almost a light Goodfellas meets Rocky with a little bit of a love story thrown in,” is how producer and Wayne resident Greg Basile describes the film.
The movie—which takes place in Brooklyn—boasts stars like William DeMeo, Alec Baldwin, Michael Madsen, Danny Glover and Shannen Doherty. It will premiere in 17 cities nationwide on May 20, but Philadelphia audiences will have a chance for an early preview on May 19 at Xfinity Live!
The project all started, in part, due to producer Basile’s late brother, John, who died several years ago. John had been friends with DeMeo, who wasn’t yet acquainted with Basile.
Basile (far right) plays his character Dino.
“John was never an actor, but he always wanted to be around it,” says Basile of his brother’s friendship with the star. After John had passed away, DeMeo reached out to Basile.
“Will said, ‘Hey, your brother always talked a lot about you. I think we should meet; we have a lot of similarities,’” Basile remembers. “We instantly became friends.”
DeMeo, fresh off writing and starring in the acclaimed movie Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn, told Basile about a new idea for a film he and director Paul Borghese had.
The story would revolve around half-Italian, half-Puerto Rican middleweight boxer Anthony Rodriguez, moving back and forth between his rough upbringing in Brooklyn and the present day.
Basile—who previously had an eight-month stint as a break-dancer in the Philadelphia-based group Force Four and a two-year regular spot on Dancing on Air—was interested. “It was just so exciting, and since then I’ve done other things in regards to media,” Basile says, noting his regional manager for sales services position with Comcast keeps him busy the rest of the time.
William DeMeo (left) reads lines.
Simply being involved with the project and producing the movie wasn’t enough. DeMeo wanted Basile to audition for a part, which he did, at an Upper West Side casting agency in New York, ultimately landing the role of Dino, the owner of the restaurant where Rodriguez would tell his harrowing childhood story.
That portion of the movie was filmed in Richboro, Pa. and allowed Basile to bring in background extras from the area, especially Bucks County, paying a small tribute to his own local roots. “I was really excited about it,” Basile admits.
Even more exciting than producing and performing in the movie was meeting some of the star-studded cast. “Alec Baldwin was probably the best actor I’ve ever seen. It’s simply amazing how he instantly becomes his character.” He also offers high praise for his friend DeMeo.
From Left: Basile, DeMeo, actor Peter Gaudio and director Paul Borghese.
But it was DeMeo’s son, Cristian, who he ultimately thought stole the show, playing a young Rodriguez in flashbacks throughout the film. “[He was] probably the strongest role for someone new. He was fantastic, flawless,” Basile says.
Philadelphia area residents will be treated to a red carpet experience for the premiere at Xfinity Live! which will include appearances by Basile, both DeMeos and Borghese, among others, as well as a performance of the film’s exclusive song by Cold Sholda. The movie, which has a runtime of approximately two hours, doesn’t feel long. “It’s just so well done,” says Basile of the final cut.
Beside the excitement of the premiere, that day holds quite a bit of meaning for Basile. “The premiere happens to fall on my wedding anniversary and my mother’s birthday,” Basile explains. “But the whole reason why I wanted to do this is for my brother. This is what he was into.”
For additional information and to purchase tickets for the premiere, visit xfinitylive.com.