Your new movie Recession Road - in a few words, what is it
Joe: A man who is slightly past his prime loses
everything during the great recession of 2008-2009 and is forced to enter
into the world of Illegal underground bare-knuckle boxing in order to
survive. The film is about hope, and never giving up. People give up
a lot of times and are afraid of change and they keep that attitude of ‘what
if’ this happens or that happens. My thought has always been
‘what if you never know what could have been, isn’t that the worst what
if there is?’ It’s kind of a theme in the film.
Michelle: I agree with Joe in that it is a story of
hope and never giving up. It’s about giving those you love chances
and also taking a chance on a love that is worth fighting for even when
it’s easier to throw in the towel.
Joe, what were your inspirations for writing Recession
Road, and to what extent can you identify with the world of
Joe: Bare-knuckle boxing
actually does take place around the world. Showtime or 60 Minute
did a segment on it just a few months ago and there are efforts to
legalize it. I have always been a fan of the movies from the 70s
& 80s such as Clint Eastwood’s Every Which Way But Loose and
the Charles Bronson film Hard Times, which was set in the depression
of the 1930s. I thought it would be interesting to do a modern take
on the theme. So, I tried to bring the scenario into 2008-2009 when
recession hit us all. My hope is that the film has a bit of a gritty throwback feel to it.
The topic of the film, bare-knuckle
boxing, suggests quite a bit of action pretty much by definition - so how
did you go about that aspect of your movie?
Joe: First, I didn’t want it to be an unrealistic martial arts film with
kicks and flips. These are just small town, blue collar guys who let their
fists do the talking. More of a tough man contest than
professional fighters. There are certain rules they must obey. And I feel
the ending is definitely not typical of similar films of this type. There
will be a few surprises.
you describe the directorial approach to your subject at hand?
Travis Mills is the director. He is a very talented young man and
has the energy of 10 people. He thinks well on his feet, and is very
creative, wasting very little time on the set. We shot the film in 14
days. Considering there was around 18 locations, 40 characters and 7
fights that could be a world record.
what can you tell us about your character, and what will you draw upon to
bring her to life? And how much of Michelle Palermo can we actually find
Michelle: Gia has been hardened due to
being let down in her life by relationships and just tough times;
struggling to support her younger brother Freddie as the sole provider
since she was young. It’s difficult for her to give Freddie
constant chances but she does because she loves him. The entrance of
Jazz into their lives brings out a cautious but slow awakening in Gia.
I fell in love with my character the first time I read the script.
Being a single mom and growing up young made it easy for me to relate to
her relationship with Freddie. Like most people I’ve experienced
that raw heartbreak and loss of love and my own unfortunate dealings of
holding back due to fear and regretting it. It was easy for me to
align my personality and experiences to the role, so there is a great deal
of me being displayed on screen.
How did you get involved with Recession Road
to begin with, and to what extent can you relate to its bare-knuckle
Michelle: Joe stated he went
through so many headshots of actresses and kept coming back to mine; that
I just fit ‘Gia’. Plus I have a good reputation in the Phoenix
film industry that matches my great love for the craft of acting.
I’ve been acting/modeling for about six years now and really started
pushing myself forward in the past two years. Beyond watching a few
movies, I cannot say I related to the theme before filming, but I’ve
definitely learned a few things in shooting the film.
What was the collaboration between the two
of you actually like?
Michelle: There were a few
times before filming that I was able to get to know Joe which helped me
imagine him as Jazz. Our chemistry and connection developed on set
especially during a few powerful scenes where our characters are fighting
their feelings for each other. Anyone that knows Joe knows he is a
great guy and a good friend so it’s easy to connect with him.
What can you tell us about the
rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
in my opinion as the writer, fit their character perfectly that they were
cast in. It just kind of all feel into place. I couldn’t be
happier or more grateful for all of their efforts and hard work on this
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!
Joe: Whenever you are in the creative process and doing
things in such a time crunch, tensions will run high – there were
probably more fights off screen then on… lol… but overall it was a fun,
but definitely exhausting shoot for all of us.
Michelle: As can be expected on any set, there were times
things got a bit heated off camera, but the cast and crew really put their
heart and soul into it working their asses off. As Joe mentioned
previously, Travis Mills (Running Wild Films) is a talented director and
has an incredible knowledge and passion for film. I really respect
his work. James Alire (5J Media), who handled sound, has a track
record for high quality work and same for the director of photography,
Nick Fornwalt. Really an amazing team all the way around and we had
a lot of fun and laughs throughout the shoots.
idea when and where the film will be released onto the general public yet?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The film is in post-production and currently being edited.
Hopefully in the next 6 months we will have something to show the
future projects you'd like to share?
on a slate of projects currently; coming soon is all I can say right
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Recession Road Facebook
Michelle’s acting website:
for the interview!