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An Interview with Joseph Pepitone, Director of The Jersey Devil

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2014

Films directed by Joseph Pepitone on (re)Search my Trash


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Your upcoming movie The Jersey Devil - in a few words, what is it going to be about?


In The Jersey Devil, the Original Devilís term limits are up and a new Devil is taking over. He wants to re-vamp Hell, make it cooler, hipper and attract more souls to challenge the Kingdom. He starts by relocating Hell and after an extensive search; he falls in love with Jersey City, New Jersey and moves in. The Original Devil is not happy about this and comes to New Jersey to try to stop him and bring Hell home.


What were your inspirations when writing The Jersey Devil?


Jersey has been my home for almost 20 years. I always felt that like Brooklyn, where I grew up, Jersey had a personality, an attitude. Itís a character itself. I am a huge fan of Springsteen or Kevin Smith and I love how they incorporate their Jersey sensibilities into their stories. You know the people and places they are talking about. So when I started writing a comedy about Hell, I thought Jersey City would be a great location and I could write to it.


Joseph and co-writer Billy Pepitone

After tackling purgatory in Stuck in the Middle, you're going for hell in The Jersey Devil - am I the only one who's seeing a pattern here?


I donít see a connection at all (laughs). I really like to write with no limitations, no boundaries and when you deal with the afterlife you can create your own world and scenarios. Plus being brought up in Catholic schools there is a lot to I can draw from and iconic figures I can use for comedy, like the Devil. My goal has always been to make a non-connected trilogy of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. So Iím 2/3rds of the way there.


Why Jersey City, and do you get any support from the city itself?


We teamed up with a great producing team - Michael Billy and Jarl Haugedal. They are from Jersey City and are really involved with the community. They got Mayor Steven Fulop on board and the Jersey Film Commission and we have been welcomed with open arms. It really is an amazing city and Iím really excited to use it as a backdrop. It is a great place to shoot.


Do talk about the intended look and feel of the movie for a bit!


Michael Billy, Jarl Haugedal

We definitely want to separate between the Old Hell and the New Hell. Old Hell will be more old-fashioned, a bit archaic in style and personality. When we move to Jersey City and a hipper, new Hell it will really come alive. You will definitely get the feel that there has been an upgrade in the Underworld.


What can you tell us about the film's own brand of humour?


The humor in this film, like Stuck in the Middle, is really broad. My brother Billy (co-writer) and I try to write stuff thatís smart, crude, current and dated all at the same time. There are pop culture references and situations that happened to us that we turned into scenes. We know who these characters are and know how they will react in these situations we create. But basically its just stuff that makes us laugh.


Do talk about your cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?


We are really excited about this incredible cast. We were lucky enough to get Chris Mulkey who is coming off of Captain Phillips and Boardwalk Empire. David Chokachi of Baywatch is another great actor who just joined the cast. And Iím working with a few people from Stuck in the Middle again like Jack Mulcahy (Brothers McMullen), who I wrote the part of Lucifer for. Stephen Fontana and Keith Collins [Keith Collins interview - click here] are back as is Penelope Lagos, who is my favorite actress to write for. The cast came together perfectly and Iím looking forward to them just doing what they do.


Jack Mulcahy, Penelope Lagos, Keith Collins

As far as I know, the film's still in pre-production as we speak - so what can you tell us about the schedule, and any idea when and where the film might be released yet?


We begin shooting in February and will wrap in early March. We already have some distributors inquiring about the film so I hope to have it released in the fall of 2014. But right now we are just concentrating on making a great film.


Any future projects beyond The Jersey Devil you'd like to share?


We have a really intense script called The Phoenix based on a concept my brother Billy had. Weíve had it a few years but have waited for the right time to do it right. Itís an action/drama so the budget will be higher. We will go into pre-production on that right after The Jersey Devil and then Iíll start writing my Heaven comedy to finish my ďtrilogy.Ē (Laughs)


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Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Just to give an update on Stuck in the Middle. It is available on Blu-Ray on amazon and has been doing well, but now our distributor R-Squared Films was able to get it onto Rokuís new .99 Movie Channel which is great news and iTunes and cable channels are next in line. So the success of Stuck in the Middle was able to help us do The Jersey Devil and keep the momentum going.


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you Michael. We appreciate the support you have shown our films.


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD