GET­TING INTO THE RHYTHM

Patti Cake$ direc­tor Geremy Jasper ex­plains the un­con­ven­tional path that has taken his lit­tle in­die-spir­ited film right into the big time

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

Patti Cake$ is the story of Pa­tri­cia Dom­browski aka Killa P aka Patti Cake$, a white fe­male rap­per work­ing her way through Jer­sey rap cir­cles, try­ing to make it big.

The syn­op­sis reads sim­i­lar to a fe­male 8 Mile, but has many of its own idio­syn­cra­sies.

De­spite be­ing set in Jer­sey, the lead role of rap queen Patti Cake$ is ac­tu­ally played by an Aus­tralian woman, Danielle Macdon­ald.

After be­ing pre­miered at this year’s Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val, Patti Cake$ was a hit with mul­ti­ple distri­bu­tion of­fers to take the film world­wide.

It’s been air­ing as part of the Bris­bane In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val and in one week will open at Read­ing Cin­e­mas Har­bour­town.

Direc­tor Geremy Jasper talks all things rap mu­sic, filmic in­flu­ences, cap­tur­ing dirty grit­ti­ness and also us­ing an un­con­ven­tional lead­ing ac­tress. It was hard. When you read a screen­play, I am not sure that you can re­ally tell where it is go­ing to go. You might read it and laugh at the jokes. I think that it is a ques­tion of tone, and the same time you don’t want it to feel schiz­o­phrenic. It was about find­ing the right ac­tors to bring it to life, who could deepen it. Mamoudou [Athie], who plays Bas­terd, was re­ally the miss­ing in­gre­di­ent – he doesn’t say much, but his per­for­mance re­ally grounds you in some­one real, and is well away from be­ing a gim­mick. Some peo­ple didn’t get him, and ask why Patti would fall for him, but Mamoudou brought this sexap­peal to the char­ac­ter that wasn’t part of what I wrote. He had a Jimi Hen­drix qual­ity about him. I’m a Fellini freak, and we called the film 8½ Mile for a while – it was about how you could take the gritty, small town hip-hop and blast it through psychedelic with these dream se­quences. We had a small amount of money for the O-Z dream se­quences. I al­ways had this idea of these hands com­ing through smoke and a voice of god, an MC from on high in this Wizard of Oz green light – that was there from the very first draft of the script. Some peo­ple wanted to get rid of it. I knew it would be this cin­ema-verite char­ac­ter study, but I wanted to be able to go into these dream se­quences. In a strange way, those se­quences are far more my back­ground. The Wrestler was a key in­flu­ence, it is one of my all­time favourite films. I wanted a cam­era fol­low­ing a char­ac­ter through their life, and I wanted just a frac­tion of what Aronof­sky did with Mickey Rourke. I wanted a big­ger than life char­ac­ter that had an in­ti­macy. I didn’t see it like that, I didn’t think about it. I knew the movie I wanted to make. I love this char­ac­ter, and it is a char­ac­ter I know. I didn’t think twice about it. At the same time, I thought “this is a go­ing to be a very small film” and I didn’t think that any­one was go­ing to see it, apart from friends and fam­ily. There was a hum­ble qual­ity to it. I never thought about this movie in the grand scheme of things. You don’t think about it in the con­text of the greater film world. I thought of it as a Sun­dance film, a small in­die. Patti Cake$ is show­ing now at the Bris­bane In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val and opens September 14 at Read­ing Cin­e­mas Har­bour Town

Aussie ac­tress Danielle Macdon­ald stars in Patti Cake$, which proved a big hit at this year’s Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val.

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