Ben J From The New Boyz To Star In First Film Role
A coming-of-age comedy about a teenager immersed in the dance-music scene who decides to throw a party (a “function”) in order to save his parents’ house from going into foreclosure, The Function also features other key figures in the “jerk” movement, including Indigo Vanity and Young Ace. Not only is Ben J (born Earl Benjamin) the principle actor, he’s also co-producing the movie.
To promote the film, a performance tour for the stars is currently being filmed. The tour will also be the platform for the casting of another upcoming, untitled feature based specifically on the jerk movement, to be penned by Toni Ann Johnson (Step Up 2). Fans in each tour stop will be able to audition for the producers with the hope of landing a role in that project (for more information, visit melee.com).
I had the chance to speak with Ben J exclusively about his role in The Function:
How did you get involved in the film?
“[Production company] Melee Entertainment (You Got Served, Next Day Air) had a small role available in a film called The Love Chronicles and my mom knew someone that knew [Melee's] Mike Regan and Brian Turner. He told us about the small role and said I would be perfect for it. He set up a meeting and we went in to talk about the role. Out of that came a bunch of ideas, one which we all really liked, so we went with it and it became The Function.”
Tell us about your character?
“I play the role of a regular teenager who’s extremely computer savvy and heavily into social networks that’s trying to help his parents pay bills during the recession. In order to do it, I promote [my party] heavily through a bunch of networks. A real intelligent guy and helpful son, haha.”
Were you nervous for your first acting role? How have you prepared for it?
“No, I wasn’t nervous at all. I think all of the shows I’ve done have prepared me for this moment. You have to get ready for that; that’s acting in front of hundreds and thousands of people. On the camera, it’s just the crew.”
You’re one of the people responsible for jerkin’ becoming the huge craze it is today. How does that feel?
“I feel good. My mom always told me I was going to be the leader of something big, and she was so right. I’m excited to know kids look up to me. I want to give them more and thats what I’m gonna do with this movie.”