Shalom Life | May 25, 2015

Justin Bartha Talks Holy Rollers, Hangover 2

The actor plays a Hasidic drug dealer in "Holy Rollers" and talks about "The Hangover 2" in an exclusive interview.

By: Ilan Mester

Published: June 10th, 2010 in Culture » Film » Interviews

Justin Bartha Talks Holy Rollers, Hangover 2

When Justin Bartha received the Holy Rollers script from pal Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland), he was interested in the movie right off the bat. Not only did he remember hearing about Hasidic drug dealers in the New York press back in the late ྖs, but Bartha also saw the movie as a perfect opportunity to work in a character-driven film.

“These are the types of movies, these little character-based films, that I have always aspired to be in and be a part of,” shares Bartha. "So to get a chance to do it was a lot of fun.”

Bartha and Eisenberg were looking for a project they could both get involved with and Holy Rollers – opening in Toronto and Montreal on June 18 – just happened to be that film. “Anything that [Eisenberg] sends me I take a look at, he has great taste,” says Bartha. “And he thought it would be good to make it and both of us could take on and shape it into something that was a very interesting character study. We kind of just went for it.”

In the film Bartha plays Yosef, a drug dealer from a Hasidic New York family. As a character, Yosef is as far as you can get from his quirky role in the National Treasure movies. To prepare for the part, Bartha – who is Jewish – spent as much time as possible observing Hasidic neighbourhoods.

It also helped that he once lived above a Hasidic family in a Los Angeles duplex. “They were fairly similar to the family that I’m a part of in Holy Rollers. They were a bit of a tumultuous family so it would keep me awake at night and I couldn’t help but eavesdrop sometimes,” he admits.

Bartha has been in some pretty high-budget films, including Jerry Bruckheimer’s National Treasure and last summer's hit comedy The Hangover. While the 31-year-old says the main differences between a blockbuster studio movie and an indie film are time and budget (Holy Rollers was made in just over 18 days), there were definitely advantages to being in an independent movie like Holy Rollers. “These types of stories aren’t told in bigger movies so it’s a great chance to just do something more personal,” shares Bartha.

He hopes Holy Rollers makes audiences think. “I hope they are interested in the characters,” he says. “It’s very much a character piece and hopefully Jesse and I did our jobs enough so people do really get involved with what these characters are going through and the choices that they make through each other and how that affects them.”

The young actor is best known for his role opposite Nicolas Cage in National Treasure – at least to moviegoers under the age of 18. He says a third installment of the family action movie is already in the works.

“Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of those, and Jon Turteltaub are not gonna make a movie until they think they have a really great script and everyone back,” reveals Bartha.

For fans 18 and older, Bartha is probably best known for his co-starring role in the Golden Globe-winning comedy The Hangover.

“The main guys and Todd Phillips, the director – they’re so talented and they are such a pleasure to work with. so my favourite part of that movie is just getting to work with all of those great people,” shares the actor.

He says he would love to see Mike Tyson return for the second movie. “He’s such a sweet guy, he’s great to have around. No one screws with you when you have Mike Tyson around,” jokes Bartha.

The actor has quite the elaborate list of people (and creatures) he’d like to see make appearances in The Hangover 2. “Will Smith, the creatures in Avatar, Barack Obama, all of the Twilight vampires and werewolf kids, Elvis – anyone really popular that gets people to watch movies,” he says.

Joshua Davis: It Feels Good to Be Home Joshua Davis: It Feels Good to Be Home TrendingIsraeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years TrendingJewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes Trending
 

Joshua Davis: It Feels Good to Be Home

May 25, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Joshua Davis: It Feels Good to Be Home

In exclusive Shalom Life interview, Davis talks 'The Voice,' his love of Paul Simon, and more

Read More

After Decades of Silence from Olympics Committee, Murdered Israeli Athletes to Finally be Recognized

May 25, 2015 | By Maayan Jaffe
After Decades of Silence from Olympics Committee, Murdered Israeli Athletes to Finally be Recognized

A first-ever IOC-supported official memorial to victims of the Munich Massacre will be erected in Munich in time for Rio 2016

Read More

WATCH: Journalist Shows What it's Like to Walk Around as a Jew in Cairo

May 25, 2015 | By Ynet News
WATCH: Journalist Shows What it's Like to Walk Around as a Jew in Cairo

Egyptian journalist gets harassed dressed as a religious Jew, though he does get a couple compliments too

Read More

Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

'Golden Boy' Nadav Guedj hopes to live up to his name

Read More

Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

May 22, 2015 | By Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels
Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

18 out of 350 companies selected by leading American IT research firm Gartner are from the Holy Land

Read More

Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes

Class that welcomed cannabis usage at Aspen Community Center in Colorado quickly nixed

Read More

Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men

Country ranks #7 on the happiness index

Read More

Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo

Yehuda Danzig of Toronto was stunned when he came across a pic of himself and his younger brother while reading The Times of Israel

Read More

More Headlines