Lights, camera ... Baldwin! • Brooklyn Paper

Lights, camera … Baldwin!

Old-school Brooklyn: Alec Baldwin was at Romanoff Restaurant in Sheepshead Bay on April 20, shooting scenes for “Back in the Day,” a film about a Bensonhurst boxer.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

The stars came out in Sheepshead Bay for the filming of an indie flick written by and staring a borough native.

Actors Alec Baldwin and Michael Madsen were at Romanoff Restaurant on Coney Island Avenue on April 20 filming a scene for “Back in the Day” — a movie about a Brooklyn boxer set in the late-1980s.

The scene featured Baldwin, who was playing a mobster, but the opulent eatery was a star in its own right, according to the movie’s lead actor, writer, and producer, who said the restaurant had a certain je ne sais quoi that epitomizes Brooklyn in that era.

“We were looking for the location for him to have a real cool, sophisticated place,” said William DeMeo, who grew up in the Gravesend and Bensonhurst areas. “We wanted Alec Baldwin’s character to be ‘the guy.’ ”

The movie centers on Anthony, a half-Italian, half-Puerto Rican boxer who lived in Bensonhurst when it was still an Italian enclave — and where he faces racism because he isn’t 100-percent Italian, according the DeMeo. When Anthony finally unleashes some of his frustration, mob bosses see that he has potential to be a professional boxer and pair him up with a renowned trainer, played by Danny Glover.

The movie isn’t based on DeMeo’s life, but the independent producer, who has shot five other movies in Brooklyn, said he drew inspiration from his early years.

“I know the streets very much,” he sad. “I grew up at that time when Brooklyn was like that — it was very racial.”

And back in the day, mobsters openly ruled the streets, a stark contrast to today, DeMeo said.

“It just shows how the mob had a hold on the neighborhood back then — and how it’s different now,” he said.

DeMeo said he has seen Southern Brooklyn change drastically over the past few decades — but he is just happy the rest of the world finally sees Brooklyn as he always has.

“Brooklyn’s kind of like the next hotspot,” said DeMeo. “It always was, to me, the place to be, but now it is even cooler.”

The movie also stars Mike Tyson, Shannen Doherty, and Annabella Sciorra, and is set to be released in early 2016.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.

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