WALLINGFORD — The town got a little taste of Hollywood when stars of the new action film, Blood Circus, came out to Holiday Cinemas for the movie’s premiere Thursday night.
Former Sopranos star, Vincent Pastore, attended the premiere, along with Chelsea Vale, Tom DeNucci, Director Jacob Cooney, Screenwriter Eric Weinstock, and producer David Gere.
The movie was filmed entirely in Connecticut over the course of 18 days, about a year and a half ago. Locations included Meriden, Middletown, Portland and Cromwell, Gere said.
“(The premiere is) kind of a ‘thank you’ to all the cast and crew… There’s hundreds of local people that were involved, literally, between extras and crew, and people that gave us locations, and the EMTs that were on set, the police officers and the fire department that were on set,” Gere said.
Gere, a Cromwell native, said Connecticut fit the look of the movie.
“There was a rural atmosphere that we needed for the film. We also all agreed that the winter landscapes, the snow on the ground, the snow falling down, lends itself quite well to the film,” Gere said.
Actress Chelsea Vale, a Los Angeles native who plays Monica in the film, said because of the long call hours and snow, she didn’t really get to explore the area much, but the cast did spend some time in downtown Middletown.
Vale was a dancer on the Fresh Beat Band, a Nick Jr. show, and was recently in a Christmas movies called Saving Christmas. She said her character in this movie has to deal with many twists and turns, including a home invasion and abduction.
“It was the first time I did my own stunts…you’re a little nervous,” Vale said. “I was working with guys who were almost seven feet tall, so I was really, really small next to them— them throwing me around didn’t take much.”
Pastore, who played Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero in the The Sopranos, plays Rocco, a bar owner in the movie.
He said the most challenging part was making “sure I didn’t get beat up by the stunt guys,” referring to a scene when his bar is wrecked in a fight.
Pastore and Gere have worked on multiple projects together.
Meriden resident Ajay Ramirez, 20, and AJBernardo, 18, from Newington, had their first speaking roles.
“It was nice to be able to speak in the movie, but it was also nerve-wracking at first,” Bernardo said.
Ramirez said it was a rewarding experience to have lines.
Maurice Humphrey, a rapper and former football player from Berlin, also attended the premiere. Humphrey, who also goes by Maserati Mo, wrote the title song heard in the final credits— also called “Blood Circus.”
“I did everything in 24 hours and sent it off,” Humphrey said. “I had fun doing it… It was a really good opportunity.”
Blood Circus follows a retired MMA world champion who gets “caught up in an underground fight club, called the "Blood Circus," and must fight to survive and save his family,” according to IMDb. The trailer of the movie can be seen here.
“We liked the idea of doing a fight film, but we wanted to make it a little different…we also wanted to have a kind of human story to it too,” screenwriter Eric Weinstock said.
The movie centers around a fight club, but also tells the story of a broken family. It also stars Tom Sizemore and Milford native Christy Carlson Romano, known for voicing the Disney cartoon character Kim Possible and her portrayal of Ren Stevens in the Disney Channel sitcom “Even Stevens.”
Gere said the movie will have a “limited release theatrically and will have a worldwide release on major digital platforms and also on DVD.” The movie was digitally released Dec. 19, 2017 and distributed by Gravitas Ventures.