Jimmy Breslin is pleased with Michael Rispoli’s portrayal of him in “The Bronx is Burning,” so much so that he green-lighted the actor to do an off-Broadway play about his life and the newspaper business. But just don’t think the legendary columnist is happy.
“He’s uncanny,” said Breslin in a phone interview today. “This is the only time that it’s ever been done like this.”
And how does it feel to relive that tumultuous Summer of ’77, which is being dramatized in an eight-hour miniseries on ESPN?
“I don’t feel anything any more,” Breslin said. “It’s too late in the game to feel anything. I feel for [Rispoli.] He’s doing a great job. But I don’t feel anything.”
Breslin likes the portrayal enough to give his blessing for an off-Broadway project titled “I’m No Good and I Can Prove It.” The play should open in the late fall in Michael Imperioli’s Studio Dante, reports ESPN.com.
Breslin is not the only one pleased with the performance of Rispoli, best known for playing Jackie Aprile on “The Sopranos.” In the New York Post Linda Stasi said “Everyone is spectacular…most especially, Michael Rispoli, who plays Jimmy Breslin – or should I say becomes Breslin?” The New York Times‘s Richard Sandomir said, “Michael Rispoli does a great impersonation of the Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin. Whenever Breslin appears, Mr. Rispoli gives what are essentially dramatic readings of Breslin columns about Son of Sam.”
Breslin has just finished his latest book “The Good Rat,” about Burton Kaplan, the mob turncoat who took the stand against the “mafia cops,” he said. “He was more important than them. He had the story. I have it all in, so it just should be coming out soon,” Breslin said.
In the meantime, Breslin’s letting the actor hang around.
“Rispoli has started to come around a lot now,” said Breslin. “I just go about my business, and he just watches. He can really pick up on a lot of things.”