Growing up on Coppola, Kubrick and Tarantino stimulated James Jurdi’s creative impulses in every aspect of movie making. His embrace of acting, writing, directing and producing has culminated in several highly successful projects, including, Reaper, the 2014 sci-fi, horror film he co-wrote, co-produced and co-starred in and 2015’s Pocket Listing, a stylish crime story he wrote and acted in. Jurdi’s most recent project, this year’s Danger One, further honed his acting and producing skills in exciting ways.
Who inspired your passion for film?
JAMES JURDI: My wonderful parents who took me to movies, encouraged me to analyze them and taught me that film was an experience that required thinking and feeling.
Talk about what you learned acting in and producing Danger One.
JJ: As an actor, I was blessed to work with tremendous talent like Tom Everett Scott and Denis O’Hare, who taught me to stay on my feet and in the moment. As a producer, it was tough one due to time/budget constraints and grueling night shoots, but my team at Mythmaker Productions and I aspired to make every scene, beat and minute feel bigger and more substantial in scope. Having seen the finished product with enthusiastic audiences, I’d say we did our job.
How did you sharpen your diverse filmmaking skills on Reaper and Pocket Listing?
JJ: Wearing multiple hats can be daunting. Working opposite Rob Lowe, the late, great Burt Reynolds, Danny Trejo, Vinnie Jones, and others and seeing them breathe life into characters my mind created was beyond surreal. The ultimate lesson I learned is to let my material take a life force of its own and trust that it will find its way in the hands of such capable collaborators.
What piece of advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?
JJ: It’s called show business because the business aspect is fundamental. Also, don’t fear the million no’s you’re going to hear, because the yes’s are around the corner and will change everything you expected.
Share some upcoming projects.
JJ: A few film projects are currently in development, but I’m most excited to return to writing and developing my own material because I know more than before and can’t wait to keep learning.