Hello, and welcome to the Scene to Seen Podcast!
I am Valerie Complex Associate editor and film writer at Deadline. On today’s episode, we’re talking to director, writer, producers, and actress Jennifer Esposito, where we talk about her career and her directorial debut Fresh Kills.
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With a career spanning over 25 years, Jennifer Esposito is a Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice and Hollywood Foreign Press award recipient. She has appeared in over 60 films and television productions. She’s appeared in Crash by Paul Haggis, Summer of Sam by Spike Lee and Welcome To Collinwood, directed by The Russo Brothers. Her television work includes Spin City, Samantha Who, Blue Bloods, The Affair, The Boys, and Nora From Queens.
Jennifer makes her writing and directing debut with Fresh Kills, in which she also produced and plays a supporting role. She was also the first to incorporate NFTs as a fundraising tool for independent films.
The film takes place in the late 80s and early 90s, and follows the Larusso family: Joe, the loving father and up and coming mafia kingpin; Francine, the lovingly flawed wife and mother; Connie, the son Joe never had; and their youngest daughter Rose, an inquisitive, withdrawn young girl. New to Staten Island by way of Brooklyn and looking to make a better life, Rose, the youngest daughter, as she reluctantly discovers who her father is, her place within this family and the world around her. Her eventual desire to break free from the life set before her not only threatens her existence but makes enemies out of her closest allies: her mother and sister.
For Esposito she quoted as saying “Fresh Kills is less about the mafia world and more about the journey of the women in it. It explores the issues of wanting more than you were allotted in life. A theme almost everyone can relate to. It looks at unspoken rules in our society and then seeing if we have the courage to break them for ourselves and for the generation to follow.”
The actress/director was looking for a new way to tell a transgressive story of women within a narrative that’s familiar to Hollywood and known to be dominated by men and overt violence. On this episode, the actress, director discusses growing up in Brooklyn, and how that inspired the story behind Fresh Kills, The film’s Tribeca debut, and the challenges she’s had with finding a distributor 6 months later.
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