Lake in the Hills' Joe Farina follows in late father's acting footsteps
As much as he's working to strike out on his own as an actor, Joe Farina will always want to be associated with his father.
The son of the late Dennis Farina – one of Hollywood's busiest actors known for both film and television roles, such as "Get Shorty," "Saving Private Ryan," "Crime Story" and "Law & Order" – lives in Lake in the Hills and recently starred in the independent film "Strapped."
The short film, released on YouTube and quickly garnering views and postive reviews, is described as a "drama suspense cop film" and stars Joe Farina as a crooked undercover Chicago detective "whose past and present collide at the same time."
The character is strapped with an explosive device around his neck inside a Hummer on a lonely alley.
It's a gritty role Dennis Farina – a Chicago police officer for 18 years before becoming an actor and often playing a lawman – might have taken on himself. Farina died in July last year from a blood clot in his lung, leaving behind three sons, Joe being the youngest.
"I'm really happy with 'Strapped,' and I hope when people watch it, they say, 'You know, that's Farina's kid. He's doing great,'" said Joe, who lives in Lake in the Hills with his wife, Heather, and 16-month-old daughter, Olivia.
"My goal is to make my own mark in the industry and for people to say, 'He's got something there. You've got to check this out. He's pretty good, too.'"
Joe was 7 years old when his father began pursuing acting. He didn't catch the bug himself until about 10 years ago, although he said the time spent with his father on set likely made the career path inevitable.
He remembered visiting his father in 1987 on the set of the NBC show "Crime Story," which was filmed in Chicago during its first season.
When Joe was about 13, his father invited him to spend the summer with him in Las Vegas, where the series later was filmed.
"My dad called me and said, 'I'm driving to Vegas if you want to come with me.' I said, 'Absolutely. Are you kidding me?' " Joe remembered.
"That experience, being on the set, watching him work, it's a lot of hard work. That's what I saw with him – always professional, very courteous. Absorbing all that, taking all that in internally, it was so impactful on my life. What an amazing time it was."
He said the importance and meaning of the experience didn't really hit him until he was older.
His father, never arrogant or showy, ingrained in him that being a good husband and a good father was the top priority, he said.
If he were here today, he'd tell him, "Take care of your wife. Take care of your family."
"Acting-wise, I think he would be very proud," Joe said. "He was always very proud of me no matter what I did, whether it was acting, whether it was something else."
Joe actually filmed "Strapped" in 2007 entirely in Chicago. Recently released, the film has had thousands of views, and its makers are hoping to get it into the film festival circuit.
In it, Joe stars as "Bill" and deals with many of life's deeper challenges involving sacrifices, facing wrongdoings and relationships.
"It gave me a pallet to act and build that character and make it my own," he said.
He continues to pursue other acting roles, always with his father's professionalism in the back of his mind.
He told himself on his father's set years ago, "'If I ever have an opportunity to do that, that's how I want to do it. But yet, I want to make my own mark in the industry, take what I learned from my dad and make it my own, make it unique."