With less than a week before his first film arrives in theaters, director Adam Leon is a hard man to get a hold of. Born and raised in NYC, Leon is used to everything moving quickly but his life has shifted into another gear now that his debut film Gimme the Loot will finally open on March 22 after a year spent touring the indie film circuit where it screened at Cannes and won the grand jury prize for best narrative feature at SXSW. Despite his busy schedule, Leon paused to share an exclusive preview clip with Life+Times and discuss why he made a movie about two young graffiti writers on a mission to tag an NYC landmark: the Mets home-run apple.
“For me the story isn’t so much about graffiti or the Mets home-run apple,” Leon says over the phone. “It’s about these kids, these characters, in New York City and the adventure that they go on over these couple of days in the summer.”
The preview clip sets the scene for the two heroes, Malcolm and Sofia, as they discover their latest masterpiece has been trashed by a rival gang, and they hatch a plan to get payback by tagging the iconic apple that rises every time the Mets hit a home run. To get their chance they’ll have to raise $500 within a two-day span that’ll see them get mixed up with drug dealers, thieves and a ridiculous jewel heist that probably could’ve used more planning.
“We’re doing the busy work of the movie [in the clip] to get you off into the real fun part of it,” Leon says.” But in doing so hopefully we’re able to show you that these characters are fun, you haven’t really seen these characters in this way before.”
The short clip also establishes two of the best parts of the movie: the smart, unassuming dialogue and the unmistakable setting that’s as much a character in this film as either of the graffiti writers. “Hopefully this is a real version of New York that will resonate with people and not a kind of mall-version of New York,” Leon says. It’s why the guy playing the pizza man in the clip is the actual guy who runs the Castle Hill pizza shop, which is just one of the almost 70 locations that was used throughout the film.
But why is the big prize the Mets home-run apple?
“I had a couple of ideas but everything felt kinda corny or forced,” Leon explains. “I’m a Yankees fan but my friend is from Queens and he had a bachelor party that started off at a Mets game and I knew what the Mets apple was because I’m a big baseball fan, but it was sort of on my mind and I saw the apple, and I thought, that’s perfect. It’s a really official New York thing and it’s silly in a kind of endearing way.”
Gimme The Loot opens in limited theatrical release Friday, March 22, 2013. Click here for more information.