Silver Screen sat down with actor Jamie Costa, alongside Director/Writer Jake Lewis to speak about their upcoming projects, a new series about untold Hollywood tales and their plans to continue shaping their place in the industry.
Jake: We wanted to tell “Hollywood Tall Tales”. Sort of like, a one foot off the ground telling of a true story from Hollywood.
I write these with my brother, Sam Lewis, and we are fascinated with that era of Hollywood where the stars were larger than life. Before social media and all this stuff. So, you would only hear rumblings about their personal life, but it was all largely rumors. So, these stories were sort of just passed along until they became cinema unto themselves. They become these grand stories, legends about these people. Obviously, we don’t know who these people are. We don’t know who John Belushi is, we don’t know who Jack Nicholson is, these people are characters to us. We know only the facade that they show us. We fill in the blanks a bit.
Jake: A lot of flair (laughs). As fans, we tell our fantastical version of how we imagine these legendary true- ish stories went down. That’s what we’re doing with this piece. This short film is about Jack Nicholson and John Belushi. Jack Nicholson, when he was directing Goin’ South, against the advice of his producers, insisted on hiring John Belushi. John was not very well known (except for SNL). John was known to be the Saturday Night Samurai and he was known for his off-screen antics which apparently, was a lot.
And in this story on the set of Goin’ South, John Belushi held himself up in Jack Nicholson’s bungalow with a butcher knife and Jack Nicholson was sent to negotiate with him to get out of his house.
Jake: To calm him down. I don’t want to give away too much. Just two Hollywood legends, held up in a house.
Silver Screen: That’s definitely interesting. So, where are you guys at with the release on it? How & where are we gonna be able to check it out?
Jake: We think we are weeks away from the release.
Silver Screen: Where can people find it?
Jake: It’ll be on the The Lewis brothers video channel. It’ll be on our video channel.
Silver Screen: YouTube?
Jake: Yeah, YouTube.
Jamie: This is the first in the series. Because they had other pitches too with similar vibes. Even another that involves Jack Nicholson.
Jake: They’re fairy tales now. We’re not trying to tell you exactly what happened. We’re trying to tell you the Hollywood version of what happened? [Laughs]
Jake: Yeah, untold Hollywood stories told the Hollywood way.
Jamie: Yeah. Exactly.
Jamie: They’re very good at this era. You know, we did another piece recently involving Robin Williams, but that was a spec piece but placed in this similar late 70’s time period. They’re good at going back in time and playing in those old movie era’s.
Jake: That’s the whole premise and it’s like weekend warrior stuff, like they’d talk about like, ‘You guys want to see a movie? Where should we go?’ Like, which city should we meet up? But I reached out to Jamie, and was just like, ‘Would you want to play the joker in our series?’ And you immediately responded that you were into it. I was so excited.
Jamie: The big thing that got me was that [chuckles], When I watched some of these other episodes I thought they’re really funny and then they also said that they’d pay me and then I said, ‘Really?’
Jamie: Yeah 2015 that summer, I had moved out to LA. I was just out here trying to make it and then, fresh on the scene about a couple months in. It was a damn good time they were a blast to work with.
Jake: So, we’ve been working together ever since.
Jamie: And then we’ve gone off to do things like, produce and act in Manscaped commercials, perform Stand-up and collab on other films
Jamie & Jake: Yeah.
Jamie: We’ve done a lot of Manscaped commercials this past 2 years.
Jake: Yeah, a lot.
Jamie: A lot. [Laughs]
Silver Screen: What is the exact working relationship then? Do you write the pieces separately? Do you guys write them together? Do you guys direct together? Does it depend?
Jake: It depends, for projects like Cowboy Vs. Samurai or Justice League Chat, me or Sam will write something and pitch it to Jamie to act in. The commercial stuff, I’ll write it and get Jamie’s thoughts on it and tweak. Or he might have an idea that he throws out and I’ll write it. Then, I direct and he’ll typically be in front of the camera. But we’re kind of playing around with those roles moving forward.
Jamie: Yeah, we kind of play different hats and we bring projects to each other a lot of times too. I brought the Manscaped opportunity to us and together we heightened the quality. Working on films and other stuff too, like we’ve loaned each other off to other projects too.
Jake: A lot of times, in the beginning, it was just me writing and I’ll go like, ‘I just want to see if he’ll do this?’ It’s fair to say that Jamie is very precious when he’ll do an impression type of role.
Jamie: I always give them trouble if they try to write one in [Laughs]
Jake: It would have to meet his standards.
Silver Screen: What are your standards? What are your qualifications?
Jamie: Well for anything really its quality of concept and I’ve got to make sense of the bit. That’s why I love the Jack Nicholson thing. I wanted to do it because we’re doing something really well written and unique.
Jake: I would say you’re less interested in doing an impression and you’re more interested in finding the character.
Jamie: Yeah, impressions really are just party tricks. And they don’t pay the bills. Mine anyway [Laughs].
Silver Screen: Where do you think you developed your impressions, where do you think that came from?
Jamie: It’s just from movies and characters that I thought were also really interesting or fun. And I’d celebrate them in that kind of expressed way.
Silver Screen: Yeah, but also a lot of people try to do impressions that can’t. That’s why I was curious.
Jamie: Well, I didn’t get to watch many movies. Which is funny.
When I was a kid, I think I latched on to whatever I saw and there’s something in me, if I’m moved by something, I kind of want to relay that out to somebody else and try to give them the same feels I got, like when I watched Jack Nicholson in The Shining for the first time.
Then as I got into acting more, I left impressions more and more by the wayside and they were more for fun. Then, there’s rare times like this or with Robin where I’m like, ‘All right now I’m gonna dive into the character.’ But to live it out as a character and not just some mask.
Silver Screen: Do you worry about being typecast as sort of the character guy?
Jamie: Not at all but mainly because I guess I haven’t haven’t been. Yet. [Laughs] I have been very fortunate with my work thus far. Plus it’s an honor to take on characters like Robin or Jack when those opportunities present themselves. I think I’ve avoided the getting stuck with impressions thing because of where I’ve put my focus. I guess I just haven’t encouraged it. Because the funny thing is with doing impressions is that sometimes people are like kids and start wanting you to do them alot. Just like quick candy, you know? And I guess I prefer a healthy meal.
Silver Screen: Well, it’s interesting too because it’s almost like, it’s not quite the same thing, but like Gary Oldman for example, you know half of his career you can’t recognize the guy, right?
Jamie: Yeah. I mean Gary is on a whole other level [Laughs].
Silver Screen: So obviously people have had really good success with it.
Jamie: Yeah totally. It’s nice to play characters that aren’t already fenced in too.
Silver Screen: Let’s talk about the deep stuff.
Jamie: Hell yeah let’s do it.
Silver Screen: I’m just imagining we’re going to read this article 10 years from now, where do you think you are in your career, your journey? What are you trying to achieve with this piece now versus where you would like to go?
Jake: For me, I want to tell more stories and I just hope this specific piece will open us up to telling more kinds of Hollywood little vignette stories.
There’s a lot that I want to do. I’m really interested in horror and equally I’m really interested in comedy, but there’s so many different things I want to explore with that.
Jamie: That’s what’s so fun about this particular project. It has a lot of that, it hosts a lot of that. It does show off elements of horror, but there’s also tons of comedy. There is also some deep, relatable kind of stuff too, & little moments of like, ‘Oh shit! these are people.’
Jake: If I could look back on these ten years from now and garner the trust of just a community of people, that will work with me and trust my vision, enough to want to work with me and want to help me make things. That would be it.
I really wanted to create a community of people that I just enjoy being around. And we’ve already started that, but I just want them to feel encouraged too. I want them to feel like they’re a part of this creative process and that’s what’s so fun about our sets. I really do feel like we’re finding these people that we’re working with that I trust and that trust me. That is, we’re nurturing each other and we want to help each other out and we want to lift each other up. We have an amazing team like editor Jenna Socha, producer and filmmakers Jon Walkup and Bri Klaproth, our DP Emil Gurvin, Sandy Danto who played John Belushi. So many amazingly talented people.
So 10 years from now, if I could look back and go like Wow, I have a community of people that I’m working with that are so nurturing, so helpful and we’re all helping each other to fulfill each other’s visions that would be the dream for me.
Jamie: This particular piece has a specific Lewis Brothers touch the telling of a true story. It’s clearly their style and showcases their signature vision. And its quality driven like the Coen Brothers films.
Jake: Yeah, I appreciate that.
Jamie: They really give me great sandboxes to play in and they have great writing. We just have such good communication and trust that they let me dance around on the tightrope you know. They allow me to play because they know how to keep it centered.
Jake: Well, we’ve also been working together for so long now that I feel like we kind of had an unspoken communication, which is good.
Jamie: It’s good chemistry. I just hope to be a part of more and more projects that just leave people excited, leave you with some kind of feeling alive. I obviously hunt for substance but I think it doesn’t matter what you do, if you do comedy, if you do something bizarre that makes you just feel alive after watching it, whether it’s inspiring or whether it’s just funny or just moves you in some kind of crazy way. Then that’s what I like, that’s what makes me want to go make movies. I yearn to give that feeling to viewers.
Jake: Well, that’s the thing, I mean I’m sure you can get from talking to us like we love movies so much. I love movies. We, like everyone in our community, my brother & I, we love movies so much and I think if I can just say that I contributed a little bit to a movie that I truly love, that would be awesome.
Jamie: All kinds of fun. We still produce commercials. We have films, both of us separately outside the stuff we do with each other. He just had one come out and I’ve got my first bigger roles in a couple of features filming soon and a biopic I’m developing. I did a voice over recently for a Netflix animation called Agent King. It will star Matthew McConaughey as Elvis and I guest on one of the episodes. It was really fun to record. I think I’m allowed to say that I worked on that now [Laughs].
Silver Screen When does that come out?
Jamie: I think later this year or early 2023?
Silver Screen: So cool.
Jake: Let’s see, I mean, these shorts we’re really excited about. I’m developing a bunch of stuff with my brother constantly. I’m developing a dark horror/comedy with comedian Rell Battle (from “Killing It” on Peacock). I’ve been acting in a lot of commercials. I just did a commercial with Kevin Smith. He was incredibly kind and nice. And I’m working on my hour-long comedy special which is like a musical comedy sort of thing. And, of course, me and Jamie are always working on a dozen different things together.
Jamie: Yeah. I’m also in the middle of shaping up my Youtube channel for more original content. Very excited with that. Will be unveiling a lot of that over the summer into next year.
Silver Screen: We’ll wrap it up. Is there anything else you guys want to add and maybe close it out?
Jake: Watch Cowboy versus Samurai on The Lewis Brothers Video channel.
Jamie: Try to find me on Instagram