Michael J. Ricigliano Jr. decided to try screenwriting and now...

Michael J. Ricigliano Jr. decided to try screenwriting and now his film, "Lily of the Feast," with actors Paul Sorvino and Frederico Castelluccio, will be screened in July. (June 17, 2011) Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Michael J. Ricigliano Jr. was practicing land use and zoning law at the firm co-founded 40 years ago by his father, Michael Sr. But about four years ago Margiotta & Ricigliano Llp of Melville merged with another firm, Lewis Johns Avallone Aviles, also of Melville.

"They took over our entire real estate practice," Michael Jr. said. "That left me with a lot more time. I was driving my wife crazy."

One day about two years ago, he said, he decided he wanted to write a screenplay.

The thing was, Ricigliano said, "I was never really good at English in school."

He went out and bought a book on screenwriting.

Now here's the part where would-be screenwriters will be jealous: The screenplay Ricigliano, 40, the lifelong lawyer, wrote, "Lily of the Feast," was made into a movie, which will be shown July 10 at the Long Island International Film Expo at Bellmore Movies.

The film, set in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 1973, is the story of a bookie-turned-banker who finds himself in the midst of a mobster's bid for power.

"The Soprano's" actor Federico Castelluccio plays the bookie/banker. Paul Sorvino co-stars.

Ricigliano wrote another script, "Redemption," about a young filmmaker. Former Paramount Pictures president Martin Cohen has bought the rights.

"I'm happily surprised," said Ricigliano, who does not plan to give up his day job -- not just yet anyway.

"I do most of this now when the kids go to bed" at 7 p.m., he said. "I have a law practice. I have a family."