Interview & Review Part II: Trevor White Talks on Gritty, Hard-Hitting film Jamesy Boy

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“Jamesy Boy,” from Trevor White, Phase4films and XLrator Media, brings to the screen a gritty, realistic, graphic portrayal of a lost and forgotten generation while skillfully modernizing the coming of age street gang prison film.

 

Directed and written by Trevor White and Lane Shadgett, “Jamesy Boy,” stars Mary Louise Parker, Ving Rhames, James Woods, Taissa Farmiga, Michael Trotter, Rosa Salazar, Ben Rosenfield, Taboo and introducing Spencer Lofranco as James Burns.

“Jamesy Boy” tells the story of James Burns, a fourteen juvenile delinquent, with a stressed out mother played exceptionally by Mary Louise Parker, who is struggling as a single mother to raise her daughter, deal with her personal feelings of loss, rejection and the out of control spiral of life, and keep her coming of age son out of more trouble.

Unfortunately James, played by baby-faced newcomer Spencer LoFranco, is a magnet for trouble and a simple run to the corner deli for milk drastically alters his life as he hooks up with a lost soul, Crystal, played by Rosa Salazar, who at 14 is also on the path of no return. She runs errands for Roc, played by Michael Trotter, the local supplier of anything and everything.

This dead end relationship is on a collision course and it ends, of course, badly. Burns, who decides to go straight after meeting Sarah, played by Taissa Farmiga, who understands her options in the South Boston neighborhood are limited, makes one last run for Roc.

After a short stint in juvi, Burns ends up in Prison with lifer Ving Rhames as his mentor and, Black Eyed Peas singer, Taboo, aka Jamie Gomez, as his enemy. 

Lieutenant Falton, played by the incomparable James Woods, controls The Yard and cell block where incarceration is portrayed with precision and life ceased to be fair some time ago, infractions are overlooked, and misunderstandings can cost the innocent freedom.

With humanity still alive James tries to help prison fresh meat Chris, played by Ben Rosenfield, it is the turning point.

Interview with Director Trevor White Part II

Having the opportunity to speak with Trevor White we spoke, on among other things, the level of talent he was able to secure for his first full length feature: Below is the remainder of our interview.

Janet Walker: There are a couple of things that I want to ask before the end of the interview. I’ll start with casting. You’ve got a great cast. A-list. Tell me how you got everybody?

Trevor White: We were incredibly fortunate to have a great team of producers and casting director, Molly Timmerman, who’s really she’s just as great as they come. We were lucky to get the script into front of a lot of really fantastic actors and we were fortunate that they responded and then we took meetings and talked about the story and the character and it seemed like every one was supportive and on board.

JW: I’ve talked to a lot of people and they talk about the algorithm of casting. Did you have to go through any of that?

TW: You know there is always a little bit of that. You want to make sure that you’re not casting yourself into a challenging situation and so to sell the movie at the end. So of course there is a little bit of that. And at the same time we were fortunate enough to have a team behind us who were really supportive and ultimately wanted to make the best film possible. So we got to pursue actors who excited us. You know, Ving Rhames was incredibly excited to us and show off his amazing talents.

JW: Let me ask you about the film style, to me I see the beginning and the end almost simultaneously happening in the same scenes how you brought it from a start point to an end point at the end of the film it meets. How did you decide on the filmmaking style? That particular style of storytelling?

TW: You know I guess we saw. It’s interesting we saw a pattern in James life where his story on the streets and his story in prison had reverse arch’s. You know and James started with so much hope and lost that hope throughout the course of his childhood and in prison he started out with no hope and this idea and no matter what this is where he would ultimately spend his life and then to ultimately find that hope.

And we thought if we could overlap that each other would be a kind of poetic and unique way to tell the story.

JW; I’m going to back track a bit; once you got the script done what were some of the reactions you received

TW: From everyone, it’s funny when you send a script out; there are always people who are not going to “get it.” But by and large we really had a positive reaction to the script and I think that instilled enough motivation that we could go out and get a really great cast here and that cast could help us get the movie made. So I think the reaction to this script gave us the confidence we could pull this off and get this movie made.

The ensemble cast of “Jamesy Boy” delivers an exceptional performance. They nail their roles with depth, experience and unbelievable range.  Spencer LoFranco and Michael Trotter are stand outs and can bring it like DeNiro. 

“Jamesy Boy” is playing nationwide. Consult your local listings.