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An Interview with Lee Kolinsky, Writer, Steve Sage Goldberg, Director, and Joseph A. Halsey, Star of Junkie Heaven

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2015

Films written by Lee Kolinsky on (re)Search my Trash

Films directed by Steve Sage Goldberg on (re)Search my Trash

Films starring Joseph A. Halsey on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Junkie Heaven - in a few words, what is it about?


Steve Sage Goldberg: Junkie Heaven is about a guy who had just overdosed on herion. From that moment on is his fight for survival.


Lee Kolinsky: Junkie Heaven is about a traumatized war vet who is too scared to face and overcome his fears, the only thing that might snap him out of it, is an experience that could kill him.


How did the project fall together in the first place?


SG: The story came together in 2 parts. 1, I had this idea about a character where the lead dies and is met by an angel who gives him one more chance. So I had sent it to Lee to read and said I would love to do something with this. He liked it and immediately said I have an idea on where to go with it... and boom there it was.


LK: Steve and I just finished our first short film Bullified and we thought that went well, so we decided to try something more ambitious. Steve really wanted to do something that had an otherworldly element which is portrayed in the character Alexander (Sal Rendino) and I wanted to do something very gritty. That element is portrayed in Doyle (Joseph A. Halsey). So we decided to smash up the genres.


Lee, what were your inspirations when writing Junkie Heaven?


LK: A few things inspired me. Crime movies number one. But in this case, the films Trainspotting, Grid Lock’d, The Prophecy and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I can tell you Fear and Loathing freaks me out in plenty of ways. Not gonna mention them. I wanted to capture some of that freakiness in the Junkie Heaven script so I can have someone else wig out in their seat. Kind of paying it forward.


Steve, what can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?


SG: For the directing approach to this film, I did a lot of research as to a junkie’s life and lifestyle, what they cared about etc. I read a 20 page bio on a junkie’s life and it really helped me understand the character Doyle. As well as directing, I was the DP, so my vision for directing was brought to life thru my camera angles and edits.


Joe, what can you tell us about your character, and what did you draw upon to bring him to life?


Joseph A. Halsey: When I first had the opportunity to read the script I was blown away. I really wanted to be casted as Doyle, who is a deep down a decent human being who just can’t catch a break. He gets trapped in a psychedelic world that becomes a maze of the unknown.


When I was cast to play Doyle, I felt I really need to look like a junkie. I decided to go on a vegan diet and restrict my workouts to cardio only. I dropped the weight quickly and went from 165 to 145 pounds in less than a month. I know, you’re thinking “that idiot method actor”, but I truly felt I needed to look the part for this role.


Joseph A. Halsey

After I felt like I looked the part externally, it was time to working internally to develop Doyle. He is a drug addict, a war vet with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and stuck in a world that was far from realistic. Doyle is really screwed up. Emotionally, that was easy for me to draw upon as I am an artist and we are all tragic messes.


How much of Joseph A. Halsey can we find in Doyle, actually?


JH: Emotionally, all of me can be found in Doyle. Actually, when I play any character I draw on my own experiences in order to create the character’s depth.


What can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?


SG: Our cast for Junkie Heaven needed to be just right. So we took our time.

We had a vision for the people in our heads and our casting director Debra Markowitz brought some talented actors to the plate. We had them all send in audition tapes until we found our cast.


Nicole Vogt-Lowell

LK: Straight-up professionals who love making films. I can say Steve and I really set out trying to build on a foundation from the first short we did. We want to get better each time out and that means surrounding ourselves with people who want to better their own craft as well. We strive to make something we feel will entertain an audience. And we like to work with people who want to do the same.


What was the collaboration between the three of you like, actually?


SG: Lee and I have been collaborating for a few years. We made a short film two years back called Bullified (now in distribution on SHORTSHD) and have kept writing and creating ever since. Our credits include: Bullified, Ready to Run music video, Junkie Heaven, Stand Up Guy and Remember Me? (in production now).


LK: I think collaboration always begins with the script. To me, it’s the structure in which we live. If you go outside that, you take a chance of blowing it all up. We all brought different perspectives to the story and we discussed it on and off set. It all came down to whether or not the ideas were logical for the film. Our collaboration was built on trust. We trusted what I wrote, trusted Joe’s interpretation of Doyle and trusted Steve’s vision on how to bring Junkie Heaven to life.


At its climax, Junkie Heaven features a rather high octane action scene - now how was that achieved?


Sal Rendino

SG: The scenes were achieved thru great writing, acting, fast-paced editing and some post special effects.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


SG: Our on-set atmosphere is really good. Everyone knows their roles and applies themselves to it. I could not have been happier.


JH. Like any family gathering, it is filled with highs, lows, struggles, and lots of love.


LK: All I can say it’s a good thing Steve, Joe and the cast and crew have a great sense of humor. You got to have jokers around to lighten things up on a dark film.


A few words about audience and critical reception so far?


SG: Our reception to the film has been overwhelmingly positive. We have received some really nice comments from people that don’t know us and a handful of positive reviews about our film.


The $64-question of course, when and where will the movie be released onto the general public?


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

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Junkie Heaven
at the amazons ...


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

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Junkie Heaven here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

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

x-rated  find Junkie Heaven at

I cannot answer that question until we run the film thru the festival circuit. But I will say you probably haven’t seen the last of Doyle.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Look out for our next two short films Stand Up Guy (in post-production) and Remember Me? (in pre-production).


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


Junkie Heaven on Facebook:


You can follow Steve on:




You can follow Joseph on:





You can follow Lee on:



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


SG: Look out for more. We are not stopping :)


JH: Thanks for the interview!


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,
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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