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NJ Born Film Director Makes Feature Debut, 'Making A Killing'


Ang Santos:  For Devin first, this is based on a true story.  How did you get your hands on it?

Devin Hume:  I moved to Colorado when I was nineteen.  The first job I had in Colorado was painting a mortuary for two morticians.  I got to know those guys.  Soon after that I went to film school and studies cinematography.  Anytime it was time to make a film I would go back to that town.

AS:  These people you worked for were the people in this film?

DH:  Yes.  They ended up being accused of murdering another mortician.  There was this tangled love affair.  We were living elsewhere at the time reading about these guys and were so surprised that this was how their story ended up.  So, we started writing the screenplay

AS:  Jude, to my understanding you have more of a theater background than making films.  What was this role like for you?

Jude Moran:  It was a great opportunity.  Devin gave me the script but said, ‘look we’re not going to be able to cast you because nobody knows who you are.  But I took it and I ran with it.  I did my first audition and they liked it.  I did my second audition and they like it.  LA Casting [said] we need somebody with a name.  But then I went down for callbacks and the more I worked on this character, the more I felt that I was the only one who could play this guy.  I grew up in a small town.  I understand the nuances that go through this type of character.  He has one simple dream.  When you grow up in a small town that’s what people usually do.  They have one goal.  This guy just wanted to go to Alaska and this other guy promised him they would go.  When he started to find out that maybe it’s not going to happen, you have to go after your dream in a different way.  He didn’t know how to do it on his own.

AS:  How sympathetic do you feel for the character [Vincent Herring] that you played.

JM:  Immensely.  When you’re an artist, you’re a dreamer.  You go after your dream.  If it falls flat you are left with nothing.  Every artist I think goes through that no matter how successful they are they’ve had that point where they are at the bottom.

AS:  There’s some pretty cool people cast in this film.  Obviously, Christopher Lloyd is Hollywood royalty.  But even Mike Starr has done a lot of really good stuff.  What was it like directing childhood heroes. 

Credit Ang Santos / WBGO
Devin Hume (center) and Jude Moran (far right) address the audience after the East Coast 'Making A Killing' premier in Asbury Park, NJ.

Devin Hume:  When I met Chris for the first time we had breakfast.  We just talked.  He’s such a sweet guy and film friendly.  He just wants to do the best thing for the film.  Mike Starr and I, we had a little bit of a rocky start.  He’s a big personality and I had a lot to do in a short period of time.  But by about eight hours into our day, Mike and I just connected.  For the twenty-six days that we shot, Mike and I had such a fabulous relationship.  I was bouncing ideas off of him.  He’s a great improviser.  Things would come up because we couldn’t shoot a scene a certain way or something didn’t work right.  Mike and I would hash it out in the trailer with Jude.  Also in the very beginning, Mike and Jude formed this awesome relationship.  They play brothers in the film.  By day three or so you guys were like brothers.

Jude Moran:  Yeah.

Devin Hume:  It was very reminiscent of the real characters.  Jude really took the demeanor of the guy his character was based on. 

Ang Santos:  How does a thirty, or thirty-one-year-old guy end up with such a great opportunity?

DH:  I got very lucky.  I met two Canadians named Bruce Robinson and Cheryl Robinson in Hawaii.  We met on a lava rock beach outside of Kona.  They basically asked the right guy the wrong question.  Or the wrong question to the right guy.  They asked me if I had any good stories I wanted to tell for my first feature.  I pitched them this film.  They were so enamored by this story and went home, and fact checked me.  They found all of these articles from the paper about it.  I think the fact that I knew these guys and had insight into the true story is what really captured them.  I think they’ve had a really good time with this process.  When they were on set, our executive producer (Bruce Robinson) was pulling around honey wagon, which is the toilets on the set, in his truck.  They had fun driving actors around and cruising while feeling the whole independent film spirit.  This film looks like it has a bunch of money behind it but we did this just like independent filmmakers do.  We did it on a shoestring and did it the best we could.  Now they are getting to enjoy the fruits of their labor at festivals where people are seeing what they saw in us.  [People say] this is awesome.  It’s a really cool story to tell.  I think it brings it full circle when you’re able to not only make something but see it completed.  Then go somewhere where other people appreciate it.

Making A Killing also stars Michael Jai White, Mike Starr, and Christopher Lloyd.  It ended up being one of two films named best narrative feature at the 2018 Garden State Film Festival.