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An Interview with Jarrett Ricker, Creator of Gnarly

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2013

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Your upcoming movie Gnarly - in a few words, what is it about?


In Cocoa Beach, shark attacks are on the rise and so is local surfer Brenton Parker.

After taking blame for the disappearance of his girlfriend, Parker begins a downward spiral into the deep unknown and reveals why the water has become so bloody.


With Gnarly being a maritime thriller, what meaning has the sea to you in your personal life, and maybe connected to that, to what extent can you identify with your movie's protagonist Parker?


The first time I rode a surfboard I was 13; by the time I was 16, I was surfing everyday. It gave me (and still gives me) something nothing else can - the ability to maintain complete inner peace despite my surroundings. The ocean has depth, mystery, danger, layers and elements we still know NOTHING about. The ocean gives hope and inspires change, but could take everything away at the same time. The sea represents everything to me. Identifying with Parker is nearly a task for me - his character will be widely identifiable. Parker rises to fall, loses to love, and most of all makes choices that forever change the course of his life.


(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Gnarly?


Movies without intent, people without integrity, and a culture that deserves to be ignited.


Sharks have become very popular movie monsters of late - so what makes Gnarly stand out in the crowd of shark movies?


Simple. Sharks simply pose as threat in Gnarly - a very terrifying and real threat. The sharks in Gnarly don't have two heads or end up in a tornado, they aren't overgrown and fake. In Gnarly, the sharks are one of the most real things portrayed in the movie and can hardly be categorized as "monsters". To me, that is what makes them scary - knowing they are there, knowing we are in their territory and knowing the risk every time we enter that water. THEY ARE REAL, THEY DO BITE, and THEY CAN EAT YOU - NO MOTIVE, NO WARNING, NO CONSCIENCE.


How do you intend to handle the shark effects in your film? And connected to that, how do you go about the violence the genre usually suggests?


Safety is the first thing I am concerned about. There will be real sharks, that is all I can promise you. Violence is touchy and Gnarly suggests a title of gore, guts, and guns. In order to appeal to a LARGE audience, the script was written with a message of terror, lined heavily with comedy, depth, layers, a message, but most importantly a twist that will make you feel. Anything is possible in this movie and in order to depict a very violent idea to as many people as possible, the story requires a meaningful build up. Yes - a brutal, bloody shark movie with meaning.


What can you tell us about your film's intended look and feel?


Every scene will have a dark undertone in a very sunny world, or a light undertone in a very dark world. It will feel intimate; every person will be able to understand at least one of the main characters. That's what I want from this: a personal experience that reveals something to all of us; something personal, intimate, and real. Because if you let it - Gnarly will.


A key factor of a film like this is at least in my opinion the right location - so what can you tell us about yours?


Cocoa Beach is beautiful, the waves are clean, the beach is gorgeous, and the fun never stops. However, this beach town has a very dark, addictive, and engulfing quality about it where sin is simply that - just sin. It is the perfect city for this movie - a HUGE inspiration for the message.


Anything you can tell us about your key cast yet, and why exactly these people?


No final decisions have been made about ANY of the main cast. BUT there a few  familiar faces we are considering, and keeping our fingers crossed on a person who put Cocoa Beach on the map. We were EXTREMELY lucky in the amount of buzz our casting created and have a pool of extremely talented people, have had a difficult time narrowing down.


As far as I know, your film is still in pre-production, right? So how are you planning to proceed, and any idea when the movie might be released onto the general public yet (and yes, I know it's waaay too early to ask)?


It is in the early stages of pre-production. We are dotting our I's and crossing our T's, so NOTHING is overlooked and I mean NOTHING. The message this film will provide is intricate and EXPENSIVE and  in order to fulfill those 2 elements, an effective business plan is being constructed by a very impressive team.


Any future projects beyond Gnarly?


I wouldn't be very committed to the now if I was already thinking of the future. Not to mention, the various elements the Gnarly brand is comprised of - this project could literally last a lifetime.


So what got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I've been writing short stories since I can remember, but never thought film-making made me tick. I knew making movies made me tick, but for almost 10 years now, thought my place was an actor. After being mistreated (shaving my head down the center, owed almost 10k type of mis-treated) by a certain director (who will go unnamed) I took a step back and realized, if this idiot can do it (which he couldn't), then I can too. I vowed to never lead on talent, never promise anything I couldn't. There are just so many indie film makers that gave a bad name for indie film and I am determined to defy that. I want to be one of the good guys - there needs to be more of them. I've also been that annoying actor that asked the crew questions and told the director ideas since conception. (HERE'S MY APOLOGY!)


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Gnarly?


A few acting credits are Spring Breakers, Alvin and The Chipmunks 3: Chip-Wrecked and an ever-expanding list of indie flicks. Asides from the promo videos, some light shorts, and a few personal projects, I am as green as they come in production.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


An actor's best friend.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


My favorites are Harmony Korine, Darren Aronofsky, Stephen Chbosky, Wes Craven and Oliver Stone.


Your favourite movies?


Savages, Spun, American Psycho, The Rules Of Attraction... etc. etc. etc. etc.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Jarrett Ricker
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Jarrett Ricker here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find Jarrett Ricker at

There are almost as many films that piss me off as there are films that innovate me. I'll stay professional and simply state that any movie failing to contain substance just has to go. Even a movie with pure entertainment value should be trying to say something. I'll watch reality TV if I want shit. Save the story for the big screen.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?







Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Did you hear about the shark that walked into the bar?...


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD