I recently got the chance to talk to actor and director Jason Croot about his new film, ‘Roberto’. Here, Jason talks about how the idea came about in the first place and about his favourite film of 2012…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Hello! Thank you for the invite. The film is like most of my films – 100% improvised. The plot/storyline is about a faux agent Roberto who tries to sign every attractive actor on his books in the hope they will sleep with him. The only one that does is actually a transvestite. It is an out-and-out comedy that really pushes the boundaries.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Roberto, the faux agent. He’s a joker and is supposed to be from Italy but really he is from the Midlands – his accent and everything about him is false. It was a fun role to play.
You both wrote and directed the movie – is the character of Roberto based on real life events that have happened to you? How did the idea come about in the first place?
I wrote the plot loosely based around the 1970’s Casting Couch. Given it’s 100% improvised the character is really far out and a million miles away from events I have encountered in the film industry. It’s really a tongue in cheek comedy.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
I would say it’s unique because the cast play themselves and only Roberto and Guiseppe – (played by myself and Kyri Saphiris) are characters in the film – giving it a real sense of reality crossed over with far out humour.
The film stars Madalena Alberto, Augustina Amoa, Nicholas Anscombe, Catherine Balavage, Niccolo Besio, Ilona Bou-Habib, Jennifer Bryer, Catalina Caraus and Zoe Charles – with obviously you at the helm of the project – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
The film has a list of excellent actors – you have named a few already, we are hoping to film some more scenes later this year and maybe turn it into a web series if all goes well! The whole experience was very funny.
Let’s talk a bit about you Jason. We’ve already had a previous interview together when ‘Song Of King Solomon’ came out – and we went through how you got into acting – what’s made you want to take up the directing chair?
I love acting and it’s my first passion but after so long I needed a change so what better than directing, I will always continue to act but my new passion of directing has the edge over acting at present.
What films inspire you as a director? Any tricks you’ve picked up?
I really love improvisation and film within films such as ‘Day For Night’, ‘Living In Oblivion’ and ‘Bowfinger’. I get inspired by witty scenes and crazy characters such as the great film ‘Stir Crazy’ starring Gene Wilder. I’m into ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and given the nature and that it is semi improvised it really floats my boat.
I guess a good trick is to try to stay composed and never panic or if you do never show it, listen to your actors and crew and have fun if you can and don’t sleep until the film is in the can.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in either the acting or directing industries?
Don’t do it! Haha, I would say “Rome was not built-in a day” and you may never become rich nor famous but if you love it do it, don’t wait for others to make it happen – go out, make your own films and keep practising and if you want it enough never give in. For actors I’d say make rejection your friend not your enemy that way you will get through the low times.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Great question – let’s go for Larry David, Peter Sellers and Roberto Benigni. They are all (were) very funny people and the cocktail of humour would be something else. I think they are all very talented and I would sit back and just listen to any advice they had and have a real laugh on the way.
Which film was your favourite of 2012 and why?
I watch so many films generally, (not many in the cinema these days) but if I was to choose one I’d go for ‘The Dictator’. Larry Charles is a very talented writer and director and I follow his films.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
I have a few things in the broth but nothing is for certain until you’re on the film set, so to keep myself busy I’m finishing off my feature film ‘Le Fear 2’. We are in the edit suite and getting excited about the film, it’s very funny and we really like what the strong cast have produced. Once it’s complete we will try find a good distributor and get the film out there, apart from that I’ll keep scouting for acting and directing work. Thanks for the interview.
Thanks for the interview!