Concord, N.C. made movie JIMMY to screen with actor Burgess Jenkins
CONCORD, N.C. – When North Carolina actor Burgess Jenkins read the script for, “Jimmy,” he knew he had a great role playing the movie’s villain. Based on a novel written by Charlotte-based author, Robert Whitlow, the movie was shot in Concord, N.C., and Jenkins said Whitlow created a great antagonist with his character Jake Garner.
“I was instantly drawn to the possibilities of this character, the way he was written and developed,” Jenkins said. “When you read a character, sometimes they are very much confined to a box, so you can’t leave that far outside of it. But with this character… the world is your oyster as far as interpretation and Jake is one of those characters you can really do a lot with.”
Burges Jenkins is scheduled to attend the fourth annual Modern Film Fest, held at the historic Gem Theatre, Kannapolis, N.C. The festival takes place Oct. 5-7 with, “Jimmy” screening at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6. Tickets are $4 for the movie screening, which will feature a Q&A with Jenkins.
In addition to what was in the script, Jenkins created his own background for the character, to better understand Jake.
“He’s come from a very torn apart background and had to make his own way in a family that struggled quite a bit, but more than anything he internally resents the idea that he’d end up a failure like his father,” Jenkins said. “I don’t know if anyone will see him as sympathetic.” But Jenkins did say he believes Jake feels justified in his actions, doing what needs to be done.
The role of Jake Garner is among about 25 credits to Jenkins’ name, according to the Internet Movie Database.
Jenkins has shot a number of North Carolina made movies, acting in, “In/Significant Others,” “Red Dirt Rising” and “The Shunning.” He also shot 12 episodes of, “One Tree Hill.” Jenkins grew up in Winston-Salem, and after living in Los Angeles for a time, has since returned to North Carolina.
For Jenkins, his time in Cabarrus County has been a good experience. He is a fan of architecture, with his grandfather having been an architect.
“You see these grand, big, beautiful homes that you know are rather prosperous people in these houses, but the family and the community sense of it is down to earth,” Jenkins said. “And it says a lot about the community at large here and I love that.”
“Jimmy” also features actress Kelly Carlson, best known for her character of Kimber Henry on “Nip/Tuck.” She plays Ellen Mitchell in the movie, which tells the story of a mentally-challenged teenager who interacts with supernatural beings he calls, “Watchers.”
Carlson talked after filming a scene at the Cabarrus County Courthouse. In the movie, her stepson Jimmy, is being evaluated as a potential witness for a crime.
“What interested me in the role is I very rarely get to play roles like this,” Carlson said. “I’m usually the gold digger. I loved playing Kimber on ‘Nip/Tuck,’ because there was an intellectual balance, but that is rare in television. So I would say I get to be pretty typecast. And this role is a complete departure from that.”
On the same day, Robert Whitlow, the author of the book the movie is based on, stood in the courtroom, dressed as a Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Deputy. He was on hand more as a technical advisor, to make sure the courtroom scenes rang true and donned the deputy uniform to portray a bailiff. Whitlow is a Charlotte-based attorney.
Standing in the courtroom, Whitlow was able to observe the actors bring his book to life.
“To see the actors bring their interpretations to these roles in an effective, very creative way, there is a lot of enjoyment for me,” he said. “And I have been happy to see how their performances have been today.”
This is the third film that has been adapted from Whitlow’s books. Each time he has worked with Gary Wheeler. Wheeler, of Huntersville, wrote, produced and directed, “The List” and “The Trial” and is now producing, “Jimmy” with Mark Freiburger directing.
Wheeler and Whitlow formed a friendship about eight years ago after meeting through a mutual friend. Whitlow said he had several people contact him about wanting to adapt his books into movies, but he was hesitant.
“I never really wanted to partner with somebody unless I had some level of confidence that they could try to bring the original vision of the story to the screen,” Whitlow said. He added that he and Wheeler hit it off well, creatively, leading to the production of, “The List.”
The partnership has been a good one for Wheeler, who has now adapted three of Whitlow’s books.
“I think he’s a really great writer,” Wheeler said. “All the books are cinematic. They have a cinematic core and they are all good stories. And I am a southerner and I love southern stories and I just think they have something you can begin with and adapt.”