An out-of-body experience!

First Novel by Supreme Court Clerk Made Into Movie Set in Bay Ridge
by Caitlin McNamara (, published online 06-17-2009

Brooklyn Heights author Tim McLoughlin is perhaps best known around the borough for editing the series of fiction and nonfiction crime anthologies titled Brooklyn Noir, 1, 2 and 3, published in the last five years by Gowanus-based Akashic Books.
And McLoughlin is no stranger to the nuances of crime — by day he is a court clerk at the Brooklyn Supreme Court’s Criminal Term.
However, it is the Bay Ridge-born writer’s first book, Heart of the Old Country, published in 2001 (also by Akashic), that is about to grab the spotlight. Based on the novel, a feature film titled “The Narrows,” directed by Fran├žois Velle, will open with in select theaters this Friday, June 19, starring Brooklynite Vincent D’Onofrio (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”), Sofia Bush, Kevin Zegers and Eddie Cahill.
Shot mostly in Bay Ridge, the film tells the story of 19-year-old Mike Manadoro (Zegers) who is torn between two worlds. He wants to leave the neighborhood to study photography in Manhattan, but can’t afford tuition. Neither can his father, Vinny (D’Onofrio), a retired sanitation worker-turned-bookie on disability. When a local mob boss offers Mike a well-paid delivery job, Mike thinks he’s found his lucky break and soon saves enough money to enter college. He falls for beautiful and smart Kathy Popovich (Bush), but hides his new gig to keep her close. Trouble ensues, and Mike has to decide which direction he wants his life to take.

The Eagle caught up with McLoughlin to talk about his inspiration for the book and “out-of-body experience” on the movie set.

Eagle: What was your inspiration for Heart of the Old Country?

McLoughlin: I drove for my neighborhood car service in Bay Ridge for several years while going to college, and the people, both the other drivers and the customers, fascinated me. It was the perfect job for observing the under-the-radar social vibe of the neighborhood. The crew I worked with were diverse enough to include a college professor earning extra money during the summer, and a degenerate gambler who once tried to sell me his shoes for five dollars so he could get a bet down in time with the bookie on the corner.

Eagle: How do you feel about your work being turned into a movie, and Vincent D’Onofrio and Sophia Bush playing roles?

McLoughlin: Being on the set was nearly an out-of-body experience. I cannot fully convey what it’s like to see entire scenes that you made up while looking out a window, staged and performed in front of you. It was wonderful. Vincent D’Onofrio and Sofia Bush were splendid. So were Kevin Zegers and Eddie Cahill.
While speaking with Vincent on the set we discovered that we lived about eight blocks from each other when we were kids.
It was one of the reasons he was drawn to the project. That and the father/son dynamic in the script. I’m really proud of the job Tatiana and Francois Velle, the director, did in capturing the coming of age aspect of the book, the father/son affection and tension, while still keeping the blood and guts of a good Brooklyn movie.

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  1. Vincent was splendid! Yes he is :)

  2. I'm sitting here, crying in my oatmeal because I can't see it.....

  3. Anonymous6:07 PM

    In the book, V's character gets laid - whoohoo!!!!

  4. oatmeal? naaw, the only cure against depression is gallons and gallons of ice cream. or a new pink lipstick. or new shoes. lol.

    wish i could get an IN of body experience with vincent!
    (sorry, it's my shallow day. once again.)

  5. This is one film I really really want to see. I like the book, and especially V's character so I'm hoping they don't mess about with it too much

  6. McLoughlin had the same thought like you eliza, but he said "They kept the spirit of the book intact".

  7. Can't wait to see it tomorrow. Whoo Hoo Vincent gets lucky, oh goodie. Oh sorry was that too shallow ofme?

  8. Sooooooooooo looking forward to seeing this at the Chicago International Film Festival ... later this year! Hope I can wait that long!

  9. I'll be in NYC in 3 weeks time, am I being optimistic that this will still be showing when I get there???

  10. Anonymous6:03 PM

    Please spare a thought for the Brits, who don't even have a release date yet *sniffles*

  11. We Euros should join Viv in her NYC-Tour.

  12. Another Review:

    Handsome young leading man Zegers gets his earnest artist and good-fellow-in-training across, but it’s screen veteran D’Onofrio, shuffling around on a cane, mumbling and musing about his often disappointing life, who stealthily steals the picture.

  13. Having already seen the movie once - Vincent did indeed steal the show ... but of course!

  14. Guys, the Q&A was great. Vincent was so charming and funny and looked fantastic!

  15. Anonymous6:53 AM

    He was very great during the Q&A and hysterical in the movie! The guy who called instead of texted and actually got to speak with him on the phone was two rows in front of me. Now why didn't I think of that. Vincent was totally playing with him about hearing sirens and asking if he was being arrested! He is sooo funny and has a to die for sense of humor. His wife is an extremely lucky woman to have a man with such a little boy playfulness!

  16. I agree with witness, he has a little boy charm about him that is disarming. Since I was at the Chelsea theater (down the street from the Chelsea Hotel) the audience consisted of the author, the director of photography and various other industry people contented with the film. Some of the bit actors were also in the audience and the show was sold out. There was fifteen minutes between the film & the Q&A session so people could go and talk to the author and a few of the main people connected with the film.

    I though the cutest part of the Q&A was when Vincent said "how do we know they're really out there? We could be talking to an empty theater. For all we know everyone could have gone home already." He had the whole theater laughing. You could tell that everyone adores him. It was a great evening. Too bad he wasn't there in person.

  17. I am dying to hear the details of who ever gets to see's not playing anywhere near me..which really is sad. I guess I will have to live vicariouslly thru those of you who are blessed to see it..can I tell you how jealous I am...I can't even get the trailer to play on my computer..ugh! Enjoy for me!

    I have a question - has anyone of you ever sent him anything at the LOCI address in New York and gotten a response? I have something I want to send him for his birthday but am not sure where to send it - even if he will get it. I was thinking someone would be able to help me out...thanks dolls!