Movies like The Job are the reason people attend film festivals. Shem Bitterman directed this independent feature, adapting it from his own stage play. It's got a couple of recognizable stars in Ron Perlman and Joey Pantoliano, and even though it's mostly a comedy, it's essentially about heavy, metaphysical issues that studio films rarely take on. And you can catch the world premiere at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, right here in San Diego.
“I've been a fan of Shem's for a long time,” Perlman tells CityBeat. “I admire the fact that he continues to work in theater, in a world where all the great writers are being soaked up by television and movies. Yet he continues to toil in an arena that was my first love. I dig guys that stay pure, that stay true to their passions.”
Staying pure is what The Job is all about. Perlman plays Cowboy Jim, a devilish rambler who never spends more than three nights in any one town, always on the lookout for easy prey. It's in Detroit that he runs into Bubba (Patrick Flueger), a terrific guy who just can't catch a break. He's down on his luck and out of work, and so Jim points him in the direction of Perriman (Pantoliano), who offers Bubba a job that sounds too good to be true. It sounds so good, in fact, that it might end up costing Bubba more than any person can afford.
“It was a real guerrilla experience,” Perlman says. “It's the material that really compels one to get involved. And there's a theatricality to the character I played that attracted me and a perverseness to the tone of the film, which lends itself to the kinds of movies that I like to go see.”
Now, this is a small film, and Perlman, best known for playing the title role in the Hellboy movies, doesn't need to make small films with first-time filmmakers anymore. But, he says, it's movies like The Job that remind him why he does what he does.
“I have a history, and it's a good history, of working with first-time filmmakers, and the first one was Guillermo del Toro,” he says. “That turned me on to a world of people toiling off the radar, without having to succeed for fiduciary reasons. Independent cinema, especially with first-time filmmakers, it really is a leap of faith, and it's an environment where there's a lot of reinventing the wheel because no one's got anything to lose.
“There's the job you take to pay the rent and the job you take to fortify the spirit,” Perlman continued. “Nobody made any money on The Job. It was a labor of love because we dug the material. That's something I do for my own soul, as opposed to some of the more commercial things one gets involved in. It's a great environment, one of my favorite to work in. I do these things to reinvent my passion and my dedication. It makes me feel young. The Job answers all of that for me.”
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