WEIRDLAND: Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha Talk 'Holy Rollers

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha Talk 'Holy Rollers

Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha Talk 'Holy Rollers'

The idea for Holy Rollers emerged in 2005 when Danny Abeckaser saw a news piece about an Israeli drug dealer during the late-nineties who used Hasidic Jews as couriers to smuggle ecstasy from Europe into the United States. Inspired, Danny raised the development money to finance the script and quickly enlisted director/producer Kevin Asch to develop the source material.
Kevin Asch, director of "Holy Rollers".

They soon hired Antonio Macia, and leaned on Danny‟s experience of growing up in an Orthodox Jewish community to shape their premise into a screenplay. The team agreed the most interesting plot angle to examine was the young Hasid struggling with his faith, and his gradual seduction into criminal life and its eventual spiritual consequences. With a finished script, they were able to attach actors Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha, but "they became more like partners in getting the film made and in making the best possible film," recalled Kevin. Jesse, Justin and the director spent the majority of pre-production throwing themselves into Hasidic communities and work-shopping the script. The cast studied with a dialect coach to learn Hebrew prayers, Yiddish, and to perfect their Brooklyn accents. Danny worked extensively on his character and rehearsed daily with Kevin and the other cast members. The team looked far and wide for the right „Rachel‟ and was blown away by Ari Graynor‟s audition. The director remembers, “She immediately improvised with Jesse and Justin. Her audition felt like a rehearsal.” Q-Tip, who rounded out the cast, was Kevin‟s first choice to play the cool drug supplier in Amsterdam. Production began in January 2009, and ran for 4 weeks in New York City, on location. There were two 2nd unit days, one all the way in Amsterdam, and the other in Williamsburg‟s Hasidic area, which lends the film a dramatic sense of authenticity.
- "Holy Rollers" Production Notes.

If You Forget Me (ft. Liset Alea) by Remix Artist Collective

"Back in early 2009 I signed on to work on some portions of a film called
HOLY ROLLERS. It was starring a little known actor named Jesse Eisenberg. Over the past year, Adventureland and Zombieland happened. This elevated his profile quite a bit, not to mention showing some great acting range. The basic theme of the movie is blind faith and Jesse’s character struggles quite a bit with it. All the while growing up and discovering the world outside of his small Hassidic community. The music I wrote for the film was mostly representative of that outside world. It’s representative of everything his community frowned upon". Source:

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