On a recent rainy Friday afternoon, Windsor Terrace residents pressed their noses up to the glass entrance of Dr. Javier Zumaya’s dermatology office on Prospect Park West.
No, there wasn’t a special on fruit acid peels.
There was a movie being shot in Zumaya’s waiting room.
Thomas La Sorsa, the film’s director (pictured at right with cameraman Tom Agnello), who grew up in Canarsie, has been coming to Zumaya’s office for a decade as a patient (“I don’t even call ahead for appointments anymore; I just call and say, ‘I’m coming in 10 minutes.’ ”), so it was not a problem when La Sorsa needed a doctor’s office to shoot scenes for his new feature, “Circus Maximus,” for free.
Though they are operating on a “shoestring” budget, La Sorsa decided to shoot on 35mm film, which is much more expensive than video, because it gives a “warmth” and “beauty” impossible to achieve through other means. This decision has meant having to make cuts in other areas, like location fees and actor salaries.
Luckily, La Sorsa’s fellow Brooklynites have a lot of love to donate.
Bensonhurst’s own Joe D’Onofrio, whose resume includes such classics as “A Bronx Tale” and “Analyze This,” agreed to work for free.
“It’s great working in Brooklyn, since I was born and raised here. And to help out a young filmmaker who’s also a friend,” D’Onofrio told us while enjoying a slice of pizza between takes.
The plot centers around a mother and her 31-year-old son (D’Onofrio), whose antics, including the execution of various bodily functions in inappropriate places, have led the mother, and later the son, to the office of an attractive female psychiatrist.
Naturally, the script tends toward the bawdy, including an outrageous fantasy sequence in which the shrink rips off her clothes to reveal a T-shirt that reads “I Love Peeing.”
La Sorsa’s first film, 2000’s “All Saints Day,” a comedy about a botched heist at a Brooklyn fish market, drew some minor acclaim.
La Sorsa and his crew are hoping the name “Joe D” will help “Circus Maximus” get picked up for distribution.