I recently got the chance to talk to Jason Croot about his leading role in new film ‘Song Of King Solomon’. Here, Jason talks about what it was like working on-set, what a Jason Croot day usually consists of and what’s coming up for him in 2011…
Hey Jason. Thanks for taking the time out to speak to me. Obviously we’re here to talk to you about your new film ‘Song Of King Solomon’.
Hey Matt, thank you for requesting me for an interview. ‘Song of King Solomon’ has been sent out to film festivals worldwide and we are in talks with a distributor – it would be great to see the film in cinemas but it’s likely to be hitting the TV screens - maybe on a cable channel if we can get the right deal.
How would you sum up the general plotline? Is it a film that tries to keep true to the actual legend?
The storyline takes a look at a chapter of Solomon’s life, mainly the romantic aspect. He falls in love with Shulamith, a beautiful black poor olive picker who he takes to his palace and tries to seduce. She rejects his advances and this frustrates Solomon. The story develops by showing several different relationships - the most important relationship other than the one with Shulamith is with Asenath - the daughter of a Pharaoh whom Solomon is married to – this relationship is very rocky and fiery. The film used mainly all the original text from ‘The Song of Songs’. I would say it is always difficult to keep true to a legend – we tried to show what no other film of King Solomon had done before – both the highs and the lows.
You play the role of King Solomon – how did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I was lucky to be cast for the role after auditioning for the director and writer Stephen Southouse. He was looking for an actor who had the biblical look and a strong persona - he had a fair few candidates but he eventually decided to go with me.
Did you do any background research into King Solomon before you took on the role?
Yes, I spent weeks looking into Solomon’s life – which I found fascinating. He was involved with a number of beautiful women from over several countries. He usually married them or they became one of his concubines. With over 1000 women in his life he must not have had time to do much more - but of course being a King he had some very important decisions to make including ‘The Judgment Of Solomon’. He was also said to have built the very first temple. The role was very demanding and challenging.
The film stars – your good self, Ifeoma Oboko, Lucinda Rhodes-Flaherty and Tony Resta – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
I had worked with Lucinda and Tony before. Both actors are very good and have lots of acting experience and are great to work alongside, Ifeoma was more of a rookie but she did a sterling job. The text was a struggle for us all but we all pulled together; the crew did a very good job and it all worked out.
Is it true that the budget for the movie was only £10,000? How did that work out in terms of the production of the film?
I think with all the post production stuff it may have gone up to £12,000 even. When your making low-budget features often the first mistake is to try to make the production value look much higher than it is, with ‘Song of King Solomon’ that was not the case. We were very fortunate to have the filming locations we had in Greece, none of which were scheduled as the ones that we initially had. They were found to be too crowded and full of tourists. The film is very poetic and has such beautiful cinematography and looks authentic, the costumes had more of an Asian style and I think it really worked for the mood of the film.
Let’s talk a bit about you Jason. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
It is a long story but I guess I always wanted to be on stage right from an early age but I never really got the opportunity other than school nativity plays. Eventually I managed to make my debut in front of 15 million people. It wasn’t an ideal start as it was a TV dating show called ‘Blind Date’. That day was the catalyst in getting me started and since then I’ve never looked back.
You had a number of different roles on a number of TV series and films – who has been your favorite actor to work with so far and who has given the best advice to you?
I have worked with some good actors. I don’t really do favorites but if I had to choose I would say Andrew Tiernan who I played alongside in ‘Rough Cut & Freight’ - his advice was “to keep going and do your own thing whilst waiting for work”. Other than Andrew, Dave Antonelli and Nick Mancuso have really helped me, Every time I need help and advice – those guys are on hand.
If you could recommend a film or TV series to someone, what would you choose and why?
I love ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, I have to say it is the best TV series since ‘Seinfeld’, I would recommend it because it’s an improvised TV series that is so funny. In my opinion, Larry David is the US version of Victor Meldrew from ‘One Foot in the Grave’.
What does a Jason Croot day usually consist of?
I generally try to find acting work and organize my own films. I also spend 8 hours a day online when I’m not filming. I eat, breath and sleep films and I really want to make an impact in life - so I have learnt to be patient and not expect too much.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
It would be the Murdoch story in my opinion – he knew what was happening with all the hacking and dodgy dealings that were going on. I’ve just heard that Amy Winehouse is no longer with us too which is very sad as she was such a talent.
What is coming up for you in 2011?
I have been mainly focusing on film making for the past 12 months and have managed to direct two feature films: ‘Le Fear’ & ‘Demons and Doors’. I intend to continue acting and I’m currently seeking a new agent.
Thanks for the interview!