Buy Now: FINGERS
James Toback made his directorial debut with Fingers, along with writing the script for this tale of genius and obligation as two sides of the same coin, or rather—two sides of the same man. In Fingers we follow Jimmy, a young pianist who is preparing for his recital interview at Carnegie Hall. At the same time, he works as a debt collector for his father, a loan shark connected to the Mafia. He is stuck between two possible directions for his life—between the passion that is exemplified by his mother, a former pianist now suffering from a mental illness, and his father, a rough and tough traditionalist nudging Jimmy to continue his violent work of making others suffer so that he could profit from it.
Originally, James Toback wanted Robert De Niro for the leading role, but in the end decided to give Harvey Keitel a chance and did not regret that decision. The director commented that Keitel gave the character of Jimmy depths and nuances that even Toback himself could not envision while writing the script. The film also features supporting actors such as Tia Farrow, the sister of Mia Farrow, and Michael V. Gazzo, who plays Jimmy's father Ben. Gazzo, who was introduced to the project by Keitel, had an alcohol problem and famously delivered his most potent line full of hate towards his son while being under the influence. He allegedly made a deal with Toback that in exchange for a pitcher of Bloody Mary, he would deliver an unscripted line that would make that scene. And he was not wrong.