The Chicago Syndicate: Mob Movies: Chicago Style
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mob Movies: Chicago Style

Movie Producer and native Chicagoan J. Kenneth Ezra explains, Chicago still has the typical mobster types, you know like Johnny Garlic, Snake Man, and Bobby the Hitmen types. But the Chicago mob is different than other cities. First off, the mob in Chicago took on characteristics like the city itself. They worked hard. I mean, they wake up early and leave work very late. And seldom do they show off like their granddad Al Capone. Those days are long gone.

J. Kenneth Ezra is producing a package of 10 movies. In the remake of the independent "The Right thing" (see trailer at Razor Films ), his partnership with director and writer Vito Brancato gives us an authentic viewpoint in the Chicago mob scene. Tony Russo a low level street guy gets caught up in the power struggle between the Chicago Police Department, which is notorious for getting in the way of the mob, and a powerful mob boss, who if you didn't know any better you'd think was a retired electrician living in the posh Chicago suburban sprawl.

We have many stars interested in the roll of Tony Russo who plays the low level mob guy, who takes desperate measures when he's thrown in a desperate situation. "Russo really embodies Chicago mob characteristics in 70's and 80's." Ezra explains. "This guy is bitter about his roll in the stingy Chicago mob hierarchy, who moves like a big old money corporation, very slow to try new things. He hates that the tops guys. They don't get out sync and let some of the little guys in on bigger deals. Just like any Chicago entity, the Chicago mob has a notorious lack of funding for research and development.

They'd rather live on the power and royalties of the old proven products. Successful corporations keep solid growth and market share" In this truth life story you see when things get out of hand the Chicago mob handles the situation like IBM, they isolate the problem, come up with a solution and follow-through so the product and efficiency is not disrupted. In the end, they get up early, work hard, bear the freezing Windy City and keep collecting.

"I try to develop talent that is passionate and highly knowledgeable about their subject. A love for putting it on film is a must. Vito turns out to be just that. I was impressed by his original script "Blackstone" which aired on PBS. He took a well known Chicago street rumor. Kennedy was to be assassinated during his trip to Chicago before he moved on to Dallas." I loved that Vito took that rumor and filled in the blanks. Especially, when he did the hard work of actually interviewing people "supposedly close to the story". I don't think you find that kind of authenticity in filmmakers today. I want to produce and development people with that kind of talent, passion and knowledge about what they're filming. The rest will translate on the big screen and the funding and great audience reaction will follow.

A prominent Hollywood agent reports, "It's a pleasure to see someone for the last 7 years stay the course and rise up." Ken is so committed to authentic films he volunteered to work the craft-service table on the set of After Freedom, director Vahe Babian, a film about Armenians adjusting to life here in Los Angeles. "If it's true, real and authentic. I want to part of it. Even if I have to literally serve everyone on the set. Being part of his film continues my journey of authenticity. I think our film "The Right Thing" is the right thing for authenticity.

Thanks to J. Kenneth Ezra - Razor Films

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