Pretty much anyone who has spoken to me over the past week has probably heard me rant on about how fantastic I found The FP. The independent film – directed by the Trost brothers, Jason and Brandon – is set in an absurdly awesome post-apocalyptic world where territories are claimed through partaking in rounds of Beat Beat Revelation, a deadly arcade game heavily resembling Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution. Taking inspiration from a wealth of late 70s and 80s cinema the film plays out like an electronica and neon-infused Rocky movie (montages and all!), sprinkled with the fashion sensibilities of Mad Max and The Warriors. It didn’t have a fraction of the budget of either of those titles, but damn if it isn’t a good fun watch.
On Tuesday I had the opportunity to interview Jason Trost who directed and starred in The FP. Jason plays the film’s protagonist ‘JTRO’ and The FP has been part of his life for almost 8 years now. I got the chance to ask some burning questions I had about the film’s production, as well as about his plans for the future with the already-announced Wet and Reckless. Needless to say, if you find yourself in a position to see The FP, I highly recommend that you do so. But don’t just take my word for it, you can always ask Rob Zombie.
Telstar Media: After doing a little reading around, I realised The FP stemmed from a 2007 short film by the same name — did you always plan on developing it into a feature length movie?
￼Jason Trost: Yeah. We always planned on making it a feature. The short was just the first ten or so minutes of the movie. There was already a feature script. If you want to go back even further in time, I made a bunch of ridiculous shorts that spawned The FP back in High School in 2004!
TM: The FP pays homage to a good few films the 80s-early 90s, possibly too many to even begin to name! Were all of these homages scripted into the film, or did any of them happen organically through production?
￼JT: Most of the homages were definitely scripted and designed into the film before we shot. A couple of things came about in editing such as the classic 80′s repeat action through different angles edit, mostly used in the 90′s for Van Damme movies. Had no idea we were going to use that until late in the cutting process.
TM: I have to imagine you’ve got a bit of history with DDR. What inspired the use of Beat Beat Revelation in the film?
JT: I started playing Dance Dance Revolution as a joke when I was 16. Then the joke when too far and I really started to enjoy it and played all the time. Bought the games, the pads etc. I thought the whole thing was so ridiculous and I was really confused why no one had exploited it yet.
TM: The attention to detail on the machines used in the film was pretty exceptional — what input did you have on the design behind the interface, routines and text of BBR?
￼JT: I had a lot of input with a friend of ours who made all the graphics for the game. He would copy move sets from DDR Heavy Mode songs and convert them into BBR. The things like “Whack” and “Fuck that” on the screen were all in the script. It’s even me doing a terrible version of the Crazy Taxi announcers voice in the BBR game in The FP.
TM: I knew I heard Crazy Taxi in there! One thing I got from watching the Making-of feature of the film was that the production team seemed to be comprised by a lot of friends and family. Was this the same during the writing process? Are any of the characters in The FP based on people you are close to?
JT: Yeah of course. Most of the people and things said in that movie are based on collections of people in the real FP I used to know growing up. L Dubba E just stands for LEE who was played by Lee Valmassy. I’m JTRO short for Jason Trost. KCDC was the nickname of an old friend of mind named Kyle who liked AC/DC a lot so he was branded KCDC.
TM: Given that the film was done on quite a tight budget, were there any ideas you felt you didn’t have a chance to explore? Could you see yourself returning to The FP later on in your career?
JT: There were definitely ideas and delusions of grandeur that could never end up in The FP due to our almost non-existant budget. I’m proud of what we pulled off, but I still have ravenous hunger to get back in there and show people what we really wanted to do. As for later in my career… Well, it is later in my career. It’s been four years since I made The FP now. I’m ready to get working on 2 and 3 already!
TM: I’ve seen a lot of reviewers take their own stab at trying to articulate The FP in words, but how do you describe the film to anyone who hasn’t seen it?
JT: I’ve always had trouble describing The FP to people, probably why getting it funded was so difficult. Ha. But, I guess I’d say: a) It’s all a joke and b) Rob Zombie describes it best – “The Karate Kid’ starring Snake Plissken versus white trash Clubber Lang against the backdrop of ‘The Warriors’ set to a bumping disco John Carpenter soundtrack in the world of ‘Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.’”
TM: You recently released the first and second trailers for Wet and Reckless (the “unmarked rubies” line had me in stitches), I know there is yet to be any dates announced but are you able to divulge how far into production you are at this point?
JT: If “Unmarked Rubies” had you in stitches you’re very much in luck! And quite frankly, that line is baby shit compared to what the rest of the movie holds. I know I’m going to try some form of self distribution that we’re investigating right now with it. The whole thing is going to be a big science experiment. Right now I’m working on finishing the edit which hopefully will put me in line to finish post-production sometime in October or November. Fingers crossed, but it’s all up to me and my beat up laptop at this point.
Check out the trailer for Jason’s upcoming release, Wet and Reckless below!