Holy Rolling with Jason Fuchs

Published: June 4th 2010
in Culture » Movies

Jason Fuchs
Pic: Noah Kalina
Jason Fuchs
Pic: Noah Kalina
Jason Fuchs
Pic: Noah Kalina

There’s nothing Jason Fuchs can’t do. He’s produced movies, acted in indie films, performed on stage, appeared in primetime television and written his own projects – all at the age of 24.


In his latest movie, Holy Rollers – opening in Toronto and Montreal on June 18 – Fuchs co-stars with Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, Adventureland) and The Hangover’s Justin Bartha. He plays a young Hasidic Jew who unintentionally gets involved with drug dealing.


When Fuchs auditioned for the role of Leon (Eisenberg’s best friend in the movie) and met with director Kevin Asch, he knew it wasn’t such a stretch for him to play the part. “I come from a Hasidic Jewish family on my dad’s side. He grew up in that world,” says Fuchs, who’s been acting since the age of seven.


The 24-year-old says he admires his character in the film. “When Jesse’s character, Sam, and my character find out what it is that they’re doing, they really have two choices. They can continue on or they can turn back and abandon this outside universe, and Sam makes one choice which is to continue exploring, which I think is a pretty enticing option,” admits Fuchs. “And I think it takes a lot of moral courage for Leon to make that choice that he wants no part of it, even if that means potentially ruining a friendship.”


Fuchs believes his character serves as an example for the audience and for Sam of the good marks of the Hasidic Jewish life. He says Holy Rollers – which is based on a true story – isn’t just accurate to the Hasidic lifestyle, but also respectful of it. 


So what did he do to prepare for the role? “I took a lot of ecstasy,” he jokes. “No, for me, because I’ve always only been one generation removed from that world, I didn’t need to do a lot of outside research. For me it was really drawing from everything that I’d seen from my grandparents and my extended family.” 


He understands that some people who look into the premise might think of the film as a critique on faith, but Fuchs says that’s far from what Holy Rollers is.


“I think it’s a story that’s not only really entertaining, it’s a story worth telling,” he shares. “It really is a movie that I think in a wonderful way is a reaffirmation of faith. And I suspect that people who hear about the film might think that it’s just the opposite, that it’s an attack or a critique of that world in particular and the faith-based world in general, and it’s not. It’s a movie that really does have some positive things to say.”


Holy Rollers premiered this year at Sundance, where it was well received and garnered a Grand Jury Prize nomination. Fuchs himself is no stranger to the film festival circuit. In 2006, he produced, wrote and co-starred in a movie called Pitch. The short film won four awards at four different film festivals.


Related articles: (Jason Fuchs, Holy Rollers, movie, Jesse Eisenberg, Hassidic, Judaism)

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