THE EMPIRE CLASSIC SCENE DONNIE BRASCO CHOSEN BY MICHAEL SHEEN
Michael Sheen: “This scene towards the end of
Donnie Brasco really stays with me. Al Pacino has just found out that Johnny Depp’s character was an undercover agent. Here he’s in his apartment and he gets a phone call to set him up to be killed. The whole weight and emotion of the scene is in the mind of the audience and you as an actor have to decide, how much do you lean on that? How much do you play that? Al Pacino makes all the right choices. It’s one of the greatest pieces of acting I’ve ever seen, because of what he doesnõt do.” INT. LEFTY’S APARTMENT — NIGHT Close-up on the television. A wildlife documentary is playing.
VOICEOVER: Hyenas kill many young cheetahs.
Benjamin ‘Lefty’ Ruggiero (Al Pacino) is in his armchair, smoking a cigarette. He’s dressed in a suit.
The phone rings. Lefty answers it. LEFTY: Yeah? We don’t hear the other end of the conversation. LEFTY: Yeah, alright. Alright, yeah.
He doesn’t react. All he does is take another drag of his cigarette. His wife, Annette (Ronnie Farer), comes in. She’s towel-drying her hair, fresh out of the shower.
ANNETTE: Was that for me? LEFTY: Uh, no. It was a guy I gotta go see. ANNETTE: So late? LEFTY: What am I gonna do?
Lefty gets out of his chair and walks towards her. He puts his arm on her back and leads her out of the lounge.
LEFTY: Who knows with these people? Honey, don’t wait up for me tonight.
ANNETTE: No? LEFTY: Nah. I don’t know how long I’ll be. He opens the closet door and takes out his coat. LEFTY: And listen to me. As he puts it on, he continues to talk.
LEFTY: If Donnie calls, tell him… tell him, uh… if it was gonna be anyone, I’m glad it was him. Alright?
He hugs his wife. Kisses her on the lips. LEFTY: Look how beautiful you look. Goodbye. ANNETTE: [slightly taken aback] Bye, Ben.
She goes into the bedroom, and takes one last look back at Lefty.
At the front door, Lefty checks his watch. He’s about to open the door when he stops, and goes back into the lounge. Keeping an eye on the bedroom, he opens a drawer. He puts his watch into it, and then takes off his wedding ring. Then his lighter, followed by his keys.
We see a close-up of the box as Lefty places a roll of dollar bills inside it, and then his watch.
Finally, he takes off the chain around his neck, kisses it, and places it inside the box. He smooths down his hair. He pulls open the box, so Annette will see it, and walks toward the door. Reaching into his coat pocket, he pulls out his glasses and puts them on. He takes one look back at the apartment he knows he will never see again, opens the door, and leaves.