Sunday, February 01, 2009
3:30 Monday afternoon at Marquee nightclub isn't exactly the setting you'd expect to see two Hasidic Jews, clad in kippahs and tzitzit (tassels), discussing how they'll import thousands of pills of Ecstasy to New York City with the help of a Russian drug kingpin.
It's a scene being filmed for "Holy Rollers," a movie that tells the tale of two Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn who get ensnared in, and eventually enraptured with, a global Ecstasy smuggling ring in the late 1990s.
Based on true events, the film is the brainchild of actor and nightlife figure Danny A. Abeckaser.
The Israeli-born, NYC-raised Abeckaser, who has had bit parts in "Alpha Dog" and "Don't Mess With the Zohan," was watching a documentary on the Discovery channel at 3 in the morning.
"It was about Interpol's fight on drugs, and this story about the Hasidic Jews smuggling drugs jumped out at me," he says. "I've always wanted to make a movie my whole life, and this seemed perfect."
Realizing that "drug movies are largely boring," Abeckaser set out five years ago to make a character-driven film, through the eyes of a young Hasid smuggler.
On this day of filming, as Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha - cast in the respective main roles of Sam Gold and Yosef Zimmerman - move about Marquee, Abeckaser eyes the set with pride.
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