LANGLEY – When film-minded friends get together on a project, the results can be hilarious and a dream come true, according to Langley actor Jason Burkart.
Burkart is known for his role as Little John in TV’s Once Upon a Time, but for the newly launched feature film, Jackhammer, he played someone just a bit wilder.
"I had a blast playing Frederick," Burkart said.
Frederick is a stripper and part of the world of egotistical colleague Jackhammer (Mike Hanus). Julius (played by Guy Christie) is a shy, struggling actor who gets sucked into the male stripping industry by Jackhammer, who happens to be his brother.
"I just tried to play Frederick elegant," noted Burkart when discussing the contrast between Burkart’s own body type and the typical look of a male stripper.
"I just went in there owning it. I tried to own that contrast."
The film was released in early September and is now available through a variety of VOD (video on demand) channels including iTunes, Shaw and Bell, and can be found at the movie’s website (Reelhouse.org).
"Our movie is available in everyone’s home," Burkart said.
Although created in 2013, it took time to release the movie due to the team’s desire to explore distribution offers.
"We made this movie on our own, with our own money," said Burkart. "Then we went out and looked for a distributor… If we took the offers (of distributors) we’d be in exactly the same place. The movie would be on iTunes. (This way), we still own the rights."
Hanus, Burkart, Christie and others wrote the comedy, which also offers cameos and special roles by Pamela Anderson, Jamie Kennedy (Malibu’s Most Wanted), Nicole Sullivan (MADtv and King of Queens) and Robb Wells (Ricky from The Trailer Park Boys).
"It’s kind of a dream come true," commented Burkart of the process. "You surround yourself with who you want to work with. We picked who we wanted to work with."
"Not bad, for a first film, to get those kinds of people in it," he added.
When asked about how Anderson, another B.C. native, got into the project, Burkart explained, "She was awesome and really supporting of what we were doing."
Mutual acquaintances connected the filmmakers with Anderson; they pitched her with the idea and she came on board during filming. It was a process Burkart said was easier because of the flexibility the group had in controlling the production.
"On a bigger budget movie you don’t have that freedom," he said. "Here you have a voice."
Burkart has already written two other scripts, is working on two more and noted his friends and Jackhammer co-workers are also working on scripts.
"Between us all we’ll have a script to work on," he said. "We learned a lot and came a long way with our first movie."
Obviously the process was enjoyable for the film crew and actors.
"It was a lot of fun, we’re all friends. We were able to make a film with our buddies," Burkart said. "We had the freedom to joke around and goof around and it was great."