New talent set to be shooting stars in the Australian film industry will light up cinemas across Australia on August 23 when Jason Stevens' first feature movie hits the big screen.
The comedy written and produced by the 231 game Rugby League veteran Chasing Comets features the acting debut of his footy mate from Shellharbour - Beau Ryan.
The trailer reveals how hilarious Ryan is in the story loosely based Stevens' early career.
"I took note of what the experienced actors were saying on set about him. They were all commenting on his timing," Stevens said.
"He is a funny man who sees the lighter side of everything but when it comes to his occupation he is very serious about nailing what he does. I have got a feeling it is not going to be his last film."
Chasing Comets is a team effort between Stevens and his Wollongong born wife and Sydney Weekender co-star Rebecca Stevens. A member of the Ford family Bec was the head of wardrobe and an executive producer who helped source investors.
"She has been by my side the whole time. I don't think I could have come to this point if I didn't have a wife who is firstly so talented and who believed in what I was doing," Stevens said.
Mrs Stevens said her mum Margo Ford always told her to marry someone who made her laugh. She said her mother "got her wish". Because her husband not only excelled on the field for the Dragons, Sharks, NSW and Australia, he was also a very funny man. And that really came out in the script and on film.
The extensive cast of Aussie talent includes Isabel Lucas, Dan Ewing, Rhys Muldoon, Stan Walker, John Batchelor, George Houvardas, Peter Phelps, Kat Hoyos and the welcome return to screen for Justin Melvey who played the role of Dr Colin Murphy in Days of our Lives. Along with Beau Ryan who showed such natural skill the movie also features the acting debut of DJ Havana Brown.
Stevens said it seemed like everyone wanted to be involved when word about the script was got around. And that was great encouragement to him. "A lot of the actors recommended the script to fellow actors. That was a big thing”.
Wollongong audiences will get their first chance to see Chasing Comets at Hoyts Warrawong on August 23.
"I’m so excited. I would just really love people to see it. We feel really good about the product. From what we have seen so far a lot of the jokes are landing and people are laughing where we thought they would laugh".
The film is mostly set and shot in Wagga Wagga.
Prior to its release Stevens is already advanced in planning his next film which is completely different war drama that will show his versatility as writer and producer.
"The next one I have got is a true World War II story based on the first Commandos from war history called Z Unit,” he said.
“The script is written and without divulging to much we have some key cast looking at it. It has action, drama and suspense. I would give anything for the next one to get up in memory of the unit who gave their lives for the country. It is a story I want to tell for the next generation".
Stevens said it had been a 12 year journey to get to this point of releasing his first feature film in a very competitive industry.
"i started studying screen writing in 2006 a year after I retired from Rugby League,” he said.
“It took me about three years to write my first script and then I just threw it away. That's what they say you should do with your first one.
“It has been a journey for me of writing and re-writing. But this one just flowed. It is a visualised version of some of the things I went through as a player and some of the colourful characters that are in Rugby League."
Jason Stevens facts:
- Grew up in Brighton-Le-Sands.
- Played 231 NRL games for the Dragons and the Sharks.
- Played in eight State of Origin games for the Blues.
- Represented Australia 16 times.