One of the many films to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was director Kevin Asch’s Holy Rollers. Inspired by actual events, Holy Rollers stars Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Danny A. Abeckase, and Ari Graynor and it’s about some Hasidic Jews that were recruited to smuggle ecstasy into New York City from Amsterdam in the late 90’s.
I saw the film at Sundance and while it didn’t do anything we haven’t seen before, Jesse Eisenberg showcased his considerable acting skills and demonstrated why he’s constantly working. Also, while a million coming of age stories have been made, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one that takes place in a Hasidic Jewish community in New York City. Points for that.
Anyway, I was able to participate in an interview with the cast and Director Kevin Asch at the Festival, and after the jump you can watch the conversation. If you’re curious about Holy Rollers, take a look:
If you’d like to see some clips from Holy Rollers, click here. And here’s the synopsis before the interview:
“Holy Rollers” is inspired by actual events in the late nineties, when Hasidic Jews were recruited as mules to smuggle ecstasy from Europe into the United States. Sam Gold (Jesse Eisenberg), a young Hasid from an Orthodox Brooklyn community, is following the path his family has chosen with a pending arranged marriage and becoming a Rabbi. A charming neighbor, Yosef Zimmerman (Justin Bartha), senses Sam’s resistance and propositions him to transport ‘medicine’ for Jackie (Danny Abeckaser), an Israeli dealer, and Rachel (Ari Graynor), Jackie’s girlfriend. Sam quickly demonstrates his business acumen to his bosses, who instantly take Sam under their wing, and into the exciting worlds of Manhattan and Amsterdam nightlife. Sam falls deeper into their cavalier lifestyle, even experimenting with ecstasy, and falling for Rachel. As the business grows, Sam’s double life begins to rip his family apart, while the community starts to suspect his illegal activities. Sam slowly comes to realize the façade behind the easy money and parties. Caught between life as a smuggler and the path back to God, Sam goes on the run, forced to make a fatal decision that could bring the entire operation crashing down.
Finally, you can tell how relaxed Sundance is by where I put the microphone:
Director Kevin Asch, Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Danny A. Abeckase, and Ari Graynor
- How the project came together
- What the film is about
- Being at Sundance
- What the shoot was like
- How did the community react to the film when they were filming
- Jesse talks about why he did the film and the balance of big Hollywood movies with indie films
- Is it all work when they’re at Sundance
- Doing press