Lifelong Hoboken resident and filmmaker Robert Capelli Jr. has written his share of funny and heartbreaking scripts. He won the 2003 Best Comedy at the Moscow Film Festival for “Mail Order Brides,” and then tugged at the heartstrings with “Waltzing Anna” starring Artie Lange. The writer, producer, and actor has enjoyed both domestic and international success. His new movie, “Breaking Point,” starring Busta Rhymes, Tom Berenger, and the late Arturo Gatti is scheduled for a limited release Dec. 4.
“It’s completely different from my other works,” Capelli said. “It’s a real gritty, urban movie.”
Based around a down-and-out former district attorney who uncovers corruption within a police department, the film was shot all around Hudson County including in Jersey City, Bayonne, and Weehawken.
“It’s similar to [the movie] ‘The Departed,’ in some ways, but much darker and more violent.” – Robert Capelli Jr.
Busta Rhymes’ character is a drug kingpin, who is hired to kill the fledgling district attorney, played by Berenger. Capelli said that Busta was the perfect fit to play the dangerous hired hit man.
“Believe it or not, Busta was a complete gentleman,” he said. “I thought he was going to come to casting with an entourage of like 20 guys, but he showed up basically by himself. He told me the character reminded him of a friend of his he grew up with. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing the part.”
Former Hoboken and Jersey City resident Arturo Gatti, who was found dead in a hotel room in Brazil earlier this year, is also featured in the film. The world champion boxer was a personal friend of Capelli.
“He was always asking me when I was going to put him in a movie,” Capelli said. “He loved being in the spotlight. I know his fans are really going to enjoy seeing him up on the big screen.”
For more information about the film, visit www.whosgotthegazoo.com.
A former architecture student at Montclair State University, Capelli has quite the collection of movies to his name. “Waltzing Anna” (2006) starred Hoboken’s Artie Lange and starlet Emmanuelle Chriqui, who plays Sloan McQuewick on the hit HBO series “Entourage.” Shot in the old Jersey City Medical Center, the movie is regularly played on Showtime.
“I was a part of that movie from beginning to end,” Capelli said. “It’s really all about redemption.”
Based on a physician who is sent to work in a nursing home, Capelli, who starred, co-wrote, and produced the film dedicated the movie to his late grandfather.
“It’s a great story,” Capelli said. “And I always love working with Artie. He’s just so damn funny.”
Chriqui, Capelli’s on-screen love interest, is one of Hollywood’s hottest leading ladies and has worked with Adam Sandler in “Don’t Mess With the Zohan” and was on the hit FOX series “The O.C.”
Mile Square to the Red Square
Working with big-name stars, Capelli has also found success for himself. His new movie “Smile,” shot in Morocco, jumped to the top of the Italian charts when it premiered.
“They flew us out to Rome to do press,” Capelli said. “It was quite the trip.”
Capelli’s 2003 hit, “Mail Order Bride,” which was shot in Hoboken, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France. About a lovable kid from New Jersey in search of the Russian mail-order bride who ripped off his Mafia family patriarch, the movie was shot on location in Russia.
“I was 26 years old standing in the middle of Red Square in the middle of January with Lenin’s Tomb and the Kremlin right next to us, a 35-foot crane, and 400 Russian extras who didn’t even speak English,” Capelli said.
When asked whether or not his life is beginning to resemble “Entourage” – a show about the life of a hot, young actor – Capelli said, “Not even close. But, I’m happy to be working.”
If all goes well, Capelli and his production company, Baxter Films, hope to focus on larger studio movies in the future.
“We’re trying to do better and better pictures and work with bigger and bigger studios,” Capelli said. “Hey, you gotta swing to get a hit.”
Sean Allocca can be reached at email@example.com