Written and directed by local accountant/comedian Sean Lackey, The Yank,
a romantic comedy about a clueless Irishman returning to Ireland for a friend's wedding, opens Friday at the Capitol Theatre.
Lackey, who also plays the film's main character, Tom Murphy, just opened an Irish pub in Valley City.
He says he's thrilled for another theatrical run, especially during the Cleveland International Film Festival.
Fred Willard co-stars as Tom Murphy's father and may pop by the Capitol for a screening this weekend. Willard will be in town for another film-fest flick, The All-Stars,
a mockumentary written and directed by local Lance Kinsey, co-starring Cleveland native Miriam Flynn.
Lackey told Scene
in a phone conversation Wednesday that Willard was one of the nicest guys he's ever met, and that when he approached him about the film, Willard didn't hesitate.
"He said, 'You're from Cleveland, and a Second City guy? Sure, I'll do it. I get to come home to Cleveland to film.'" Murphy, who also starred in Flanagan's Wake, took classes at Second City Cleveland and met Willard at the opening performance.
The film also stars Colm Meaney (of TV's Hell on Wheels)
and Chris Farley's brother Kevin P. Farley.
Lackey said he started working on the script back in 2004, and after his best friend passed away in 2010, returned to the project with a renewed sense of purpose.
"I told myself I'm either going to do this or I'm not," Lackey said. "And what are we here for right? I just decided to give it everything I've got. I put the whole thing together, from the credit sequences to the casting."
The story, which hinges on a familiar narrative — prescribed expectations in an ethnic family — is coupled with a feel-good message about connecting with one's roots, beyond the American appropriations of them.
"The message is put down the pint glass and pick up a good book. Get off your ass: The world is out there," Lackey said. "It's important to open your eyes, but also to recognize that sometimes the best things in life are right under your nose."
Though Lackey is certainly a novice filmmaker — don't expect special effects or big-budget production value (The Dublin wedding reception was filmed at Stone Mad Irish pub) — he's managed to parlay his success with The Yank
to at least one other cinematic venture. And he's currently polishing up an additional script to pitch to local studios.
"I want to make movies in Cleveland," Lackey said. "I love this town."
will play for one week at the Capitol and is also now also available for rental online at theyankmovie.com