Jordan Ross inhabits some dilapidated and dark spaces with Thumper, his feature directorial debut, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last Thursday. Executive produced by Cary Fukunaga, the crime drama depicts a community run over by drugs and violence, into which new girl Kat Carter (Eliza Taylor) enters, harboring a dark secret and ultimately coming face to face with Wyatt (Pablo Schreiber), the unpredictable and violent leader of a drug ring.
“The story is about a microcosm of America, in drugs in a certain community that’s a little lower class,” Ross said, sitting down at Deadline’s Tribeca Studio opposite his stars, Eliza Taylor, Pablo Schreiber, Daniel Webber and Grant Harvey. “But really, it’s also about just the moral dilemma that comes up with people trying to provide for their family, by any means necessary, even though what they’re doing is actually breaking the law, and putting the lives of others in danger.”
Towering over his castmates at 6’5″, Pablo Schreiber seems to have carved out a place as the go-to baddie of the day, an actor who is able to powerfully connect with characters whose psychology is profoundly troubling. The actor broke out in the unforgettable role of George “Pornstache” Mendez in Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black—as a seemingly psychopathic correctional officer at a women’s prison, for whom there is no line that can’t be crossed—and will next be seen portraying the violent Mad Sweeney in Starz series American Gods.
“I gravitate towards the extremes of human behavior, so when I read this script, it was an interesting opportunity for me to play around with somebody who I’m very far from in my real life, someone whose life view is very different than mine,” Schreiber said. “I thought that it was done in a way where you really got to know the guy, and it really investigated some of the things that led him to do the things that he does.”
For the actor and his co-stars, the shoot was a rough one because of the visceral immediacy of the experience, as they were thrust into the real-world environments that the film seeks to depict.
“It was rough, man. Some of the locations we were shooting at were really dilapidated, and also the houses we shot at were actual peoples’ houses, so some of that stuff was a little hard for me, going into peoples’ homes and using them as a place to shoot, when this was where they came home to everyday,” Schreiber confessed. “We were obviously portraying something that was supposed to look awful—like, difficult life circumstances—and yet we were using this person’s house, and when we left at the end of the day, they still had to live there.”
To hear more about the challenges posed by Thumper—both for the actors, and in the mounting of the project—click above. Upcoming showtimes for the film can be found here.