We have talked about this before [click
here], but do bring us up to speed: Your movie The
Jersey Devil - in a few words, what is it about?
Yes, itís great to be talking to you again. The
Jersey Devil is a comedy that follows the age-old story of
Devilís term limits are up. New Devil takes over. New Devil moves Hell
to New Jersey. Old Devil tries to win back his throne with several
pathetic schemes. Itís timeless.
maybe obvious question: Why would the Devil move business to Jersey City?
the comedic value. When I tell people about the movie, I get the usual
ďisnít New Jersey already Hell?Ē Thatís the reputation of Jersey
throughout the country. Throughout the world. There is someone in the
world right now whose village has just been burned down by a crazed drug
lord and even theyíre saying ďat least Iím not in New Jersey.Ē
But we also wanted to find a city in New Jersey that was up and coming and
hip. The Devil had to see some value in his new location. Jersey City fit
your three protagonists - old school Lucifer, manager type Burnett and
yes-man Richard -, who do you identify with the most, and who do you
empathize with the most?
Not because heís a yes-man, because I donít think you can write these
kind of films without having an independent voice, but itís my favorite
kind of character to write. Heís very similar to Michael Cheevers from
my first film Stuck
in the Middle. Heís child-like, loyal and a little dim. I relate
to that. Itís a great comedic combination.
Edvin Ortega as Richard, Joseph Pepitone, Keith
Collins as Burnett, Penelope Lagos as Tori
Do talk about the writing
process of The Jersey Devil
for a bit, and what was your collaboration with your co-writer and
brother Billy like?
I wrote The
Jersey Devil with my brother and writing partner Billy.
Our process is usually one of us has the idea and writes it, then
hands it over to the other one to put their twist on it. We have different
strengths and weaknesses. I think we each got half a brain at birth and
writing is the way to combine it.
into account that some of your actors had some pretty big shoes to fill,
playing Lucifer, God, Judas Isciarot, biblical Eve and the like, how easy
or difficult was it to cast the movie, and what made your actors perfect
for their roles?
tried to get those guys to play themselves, but you know, agents.
Actually, casting was easy because many of the actors in The
Jersey Devil were also in Stuck
in the Middle. Penelope Lagos, Jack Mulcahy, Keith Collins [Keith
Collins interview - click here],
Stephen Fontana, Evonne Walton and many others. It made the script easier
to write knowing the voice I would be writing for. The actors I didnít
know came highly recommended from many of my producers. Together we were
able to put together a really solid cast.
As far as I know, official Jersey City
actually helped in making The
Jersey Devil happen - now how did that come about?
Iím kiddingÖ we couldnít afford bribes. All of the producers on the
film made tremendous contributions. Two of them, Michael Billy and Jarl
Haugedal have developed great relationships working with the community
throughout Jersey City. They were able to secure locations and
sponsorships that really made the movie possible. Jersey City was so great
to us and we had the backing of Mayor Steven Fulop. They even gave us
permission to shoot in City Hall and the Mayorís office.
What can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at
direct like a writer. As long as the actors are saying the words I wrote
Iím good. However, that doesnít make for a visually appealing film.
Luckily I was surrounded by an amazingly talented cast and crew that more
than made up for my shortcomings. If thereís someone in the room smarter
than you, listen to them. There were a lot of people smarter than me in
the room. And it was a big room. It also doesnít hurt to have a DP like
Cory Green who is one of the best in the business.
Do talk about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere!
were hit with two blizzards of biblical proportions during shooting, as if
some higher power was angry with us for some unexplained reason. But even
through that, this was by far the greatest professional experience I have
ever been a part of. I really
looked forward to coming to set each day and working with everyone even
though I knew we had an insurmountable number of pages to shoot. The best
thing I take away from The
Jersey Devil is that many of the cast and crew have gone on to
collaborate on several other projects together.
I think their common disdain for me really brought them together.
with quite a few awards at the A.C. Cinefest
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of The
Jersey Devil yet?
have had several screenings of The
Jersey Devil including our premiere at the Loews Landmark Theater
in Jersey City where we had a crowd of over 600. The reviews have been
terrific. We hit the festival
circuit and won a few awards including Best Comedy Feature and have
received a tremendous amount of press coverage. Iím really proud of this
film and word of mouth will be positive.
Any future projects you'd like
are pretty busy. My brother Billyís new novel Lake of Fire will be out
August 20th. We wrote a horror/thriller that I directed called
Clean Cut that is currently in post-production. And Phoenix: The Resurrection
is the big action/thriller that we are ready to make and should begin
shooting in early 2016.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Check us out on Facebook at
follow me on Twitter - @joepep27
Jersey Devil will be out on DVD on October 27th. But you can
pre-order it right now on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B012O5K1CU
- go ahead, order it. Iíll wait.
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
didnít discuss my issues with authority or my crippling fear of lady
bugs, but Iíll save that for my therapist.
Thanks for the interview!