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The Featured Presentation

Jimmy Bellinger

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Photo By: Ken Arnold

Combining the collective comedic tones of ‘80s sex comedies with the teen-geared appeal of the “American Pie” films, “Blockers” is ready to flip raunchy comedy on its head and lay the foundation for the laugh-inducing cinematic trends to come. Following a group of protective parents who are looking to stop their teen-aged daughters from losing their virginity on prom night, the film takes a familiar premise and tells it from a different perspective, creating something that is both recognizable and fresh at the same time.

Jimmy Bellinger plays Chad, a would-be sexual target of Gideon Adlon’s character Sam, the onscreen daughter of Hunter, portrayed by Ike Barinholtz. As one would imagine, hilarity ensues.

We recently sat down with Bellinger to discuss where-the-sun-don’t-shine beer tubes, why he thinks the comedy in the film will connect with a broad audience, and the culinary wizardry of the incredible, edible egg.

TrunkSpace: This movie further establishes something that we’ve been preaching about for a while now, which is, John Cena is a funny dude.
Bellinger: Yeah, very funny.

TrunkSpace: Was it a weird experience to go to set for the first time and not see the wrestling persona, which is so larger than life?
Bellinger: Yeah. When you don’t even see them in real life, when you see them on TV, or wrestling, or whatever they’re doing, it’s always interesting to see them in person. But him, because of also the wardrobe that he’s in too – he’s in these shorts and this button down shirt – it’s very funny. But he’s still that big dude, and he’s very, honestly, he’s very professional and very polite in real life. Talking to him and stuff, he’s a very proper guy. That’s what’s funny too. He’s not throwing people around all the time. He’ll just stand there and talk to you, not a single body slam.

TrunkSpace: And he’s got one of the best qualities when it comes to comedic delivery, which this movie sort of spotlights for everybody involved, including yourself, which is to not be afraid to laugh at yourself.
Bellinger: Right. Exactly. It’s true. That’s the whole thing is that you’ve got to be willing to just… you just can’t care. You’ve just got to have fun and do the crazy thing, because at the end of the day it’s what makes it great. He was great. He did all of his stuff, and he’s a hard worker. He’ll do it all, even take a beer tube in his butt.

TrunkSpace: Comedy in general can always be so subjective, but when you’re working on a movie like this, just in terms of the general feeling, did you get the sense that it would translate to a broad audience?
Bellinger: I feel like at the end of the day, you never really know, but I sure thought just the script alone was really funny, and so just reading that gets you excited, and got me excited. But then actually going there and shooting it, working with the people, and seeing how it’s going, yeah, you can see it. There are some scenes where maybe I’m not necessarily doing as much, or they’re shooting something else while I’m there before I shoot something I’m doing and you try and get a little peek and watch what other people are doing. There’s just some really funny stuff coming out of everybody, especially the adult cast, who are so funny. Ike Barinholtz, who plays Sam’s Dad, who’s my date – Chad’s date in the movie – seeing some of the crazy stuff he was coming up with… he was so funny. And working with Leslie Mann and John as well. Just all of them. Getting to see some of the scenes that they’re in, watching them shoot, you can tell that it’s just really funny, so you definitely get excited.

TrunkSpace: You’re also a musician. Is the act of delivering jokes a bit like writing a song where when it’s working you just know it?
Bellinger: The thing about comedy is that it’s really subjective. You hope it’s going to connect, but it’s never going to connect with everyone, so you’ve just got to find the best thing. Honestly, I think I’m much better at comedy than writing any sort of song, so let’s just be honest there. Comedy, you’re trying to cater your jokes to a certain audience and stuff, but you’re never going to make everyone happy, so just come up with the funniest stuff you can.

This movie is funny. I think what’s cool about this movie too is that they have jokes for everybody, because there’s a lot of stuff in this movie that people don’t even know about, and I’m not going to spoil today. There is some really crazy, hilarious, raunchy stuff in this movie. That is a certain kind of comedy. There’s a lot of one liners, a lot of jokes like that. But then there’s also some smarter comedy too in it. And there’s subtle stuff. It’s got stuff all over the place. People are going to be laughing throughout the movie. It’s going to be different people laughing at different parts, because it’s going to hit everybody differently.

TrunkSpace: A lot of people are calling the movie an “American Pie” for a new generation. Did it sort of have that vibe for you as well, where it could be one of those comedies that sets the pace for comedies to come?
Bellinger: It definitely could. I think what’s good about this movie is that it is American Pie-ish, but we’re getting this from the woman’s perspective, from the girls, the seniors. You don’t really get to see too much of that, because there has always been a lot of that BS stigma around women. You can’t talk about women doing that stuff, which was just bull. It’s time to do that kind of thing, and so you’re getting that. But then, there’s a big adult perspective in this. There’s a lot of stuff with the parents. You’re getting to see what they’re going through, and how they’re coming to terms with if they’re okay with this or not, and trying to figure it out. I think it definitely could set the pace, because it’s just giving you a lot more perspectives in a story that you’re not normally getting. I think that’s what’s interesting, is there’s some focal points that you don’t get to see in a lot of films. The trend is happening. Eventually I think this will start, like you’re saying, start the next thing, because this is going to be the norm now. I think we’re going to get a lot more of this, and that’s the way it should be.

TrunkSpace: You gained a lot of attention for a Skittles commercial you starred in a couple of years ago. Was that a strange experience, being recognized as a character that really only inhabited a 15 to 30 second spot? It must have far exceeded any expectations?
Bellinger: Yeah, that really did. I will tell you, that was a surprise, because when we filmed that, which was years ago – I can’t tell you exactly, obviously there’s a date somewhere, but it’s been three or four years at least. I never thought that it would be like that. I don’t think anyone did. It’s so funny now that it’s become this thing. At the end of the day, I’m laughing, because it’s great for me. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) It’s the gift that keeps on giving, right?
Bellinger: Yeah, it’s been just this amazing thing and I’m so lucky that it happened. But yeah, everyone has seen that commercial now, and it’s become this big thing. It’s constantly played during all these major sporting events – all through the NFL playoffs, all through now basketball and stuff, and it’s just constantly going and going. It’s this weird thing. I really can’t explain it. I mean, thank you Skittles for constantly showing it, and may you never shoot another commercial. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: At this point, more people have probably seen it than “Game of Thrones.”
Bellinger: You are probably, definitely correct. It’s online. It’s playing in movie theaters. It’s playing on networks and cable. It’s been the most fascinating project I’ve ever done, that it’s lasted this long. I have to say, it was really fun for me to do, because in that commercial, I got to have a lot of fun. There was a lot of improv. We shot it so many different ways, and I did so many different things, that I had no idea what it was going to be when it came out. I had a great experience working on it.

TrunkSpace: You enjoy cooking. When you’re getting ready to slip on the apron, what’s your go-to dish?
Bellinger: My go-to dish? Well, this is kind of boring, but I love to cook eggs. I love eggs so much. Eggs are so good, and they’re so versatile. They’re in everything. Well, they can be. If I’m home, that’s what I cook.

TrunkSpace: Are you rocking eggs skillet style? Huevos rancheros? How are you cooking them up?
Bellinger: Usually my favorite thing is to do eggs, butter, and then just constantly stir them until they’re basically scrambled eggs – until they’re really nice. But they’re just super soft and delicious. Sometimes there will be nights where I’ll be out… maybe I went to a bar or something with a bunch of people, and I get home. Most people are getting weird things. I’m grabbing a pot, and grabbing eggs, and standing there for 10 minutes stirring the pot, so I can eat these eggs before I go to bed. I don’t know, that’s always my go-to, because it’s so simple. It’s really not terrible for you, you’re just getting protein and some fat. That’s why I always go towards eggs. I do love huevos rancheros though. I love Mexican food. Poached egg is good. Man, poached egg, bacon, mushrooms on toast, that’s good. Man, there’s so much stuff.

TrunkSpace: Now we’re hungry.
Bellinger
: I know. Look what you did.

Blockers” arrives in theaters on Friday.

Featured image by Ken Arnold.

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The Featured Presentation

Jet Jurgensmeyer

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Photo By: The Riker Brothers

Jet Jurgensmeyer may be young, but when it comes to the entertainment industry, he’s no newcomer. Not yet able to drive, the versatile actor and voice talent has already left his mark on pop culture, helping to establish brand new characters like Nonny from the animated series “Bubble Guppies,” while also slipping into the shoes of long-adored characters like Spanky in “The Little Rascals Save the Day.” Currently he can be heard bringing Stinky Peterson back to life in “Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie,” which premieres Friday on Nickelodeon, and on the big screen in “Ferdinand” opposite John Cena and Kate McKinnon, due December 15.

We recently sat down with Jurgensmeyer to discuss how voice acting became a part of his career, why he loves playing established characters, and how being the biggest Peyton Manning fan played into his work on “Ferdinand.”

TrunkSpace: Aside from your on-screen acting, you’re also an accomplished voice actor. Was that always part of the plan or did your voiceover career just take off on its own?
Jurgensmeyer: It kind of just took off on its own. I mean, I just remember going out on some auditions and getting the parts. I just kind of fell in love with it. And I really liked it once I started doing “Bubble Guppies” because Charlie Adler, who was the voice director on that, he really taught me everything I know about voice acting, honestly. And he’s so funny. My parents came in for one of the last episodes I did, and my dad was so surprised how we had almost come up with our own sign language. He wouldn’t even have to talk into his mic and give me directions. He would just do different kind of motions and I would know exactly what to do. So, it just kind of happened on its own.

TrunkSpace: You voiced Stinky Peterson in the new movie “Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie,” which premieres this Friday on Nickelodeon. How much of your take on the character was a throwback to the original, and how much of it is you and your version?
Jurgensmeyer: Well, he’s from Arkansas, and I’m from Tennessee. So I had to do a Southern accent. And I remember doing the first audition and I was like, “Well, I know I can do the Southern accent part, so now I just have to kind of figure out the way that he originally talked and stuff – and figure out the different things that he would do with his voice.” And that was kind of how that happened. It’s interesting how you put it, where it’s me and it’s him. It’s both of us at the same time.

TrunkSpace: What’s kind of nice about this movie is that it ties up some loose ends for fans of the original series, and at the same time, it’s accessible to new fans.
Jurgensmeyer: Exactly. That was one of the things that we were all really excited about. We actually went to a party last night for it, and they showed the movie and it was really cool. I’m really excited for everyone to see it. But it definitely does kind of bring some closure. That was one things that they were talking about last night. They were saying that this movie will bring closure to the original fans, and it will also bring closure for their kids. It’s really cool. I’m really excited about it.

TrunkSpace: It must be fun to work on a project like this that already has an existing fan base?
Jurgensmeyer: Definitely. It was such an iconic show. I have a lot of older friends that are like, “Oh my gosh, you’re in the new ‘Hey Arnold!’ movie? Oh, I loved that show when I was a kid!” I’m really excited to be able to show it to them. And I just know everybody that watches it is just going to fall in love with it.

TrunkSpace: What did you enjoy most about playing a character who already existed, as opposed to somebody brand new?
Jurgensmeyer: Well, it’s something that I like doing in live action and in animation. Whether it’s a true story in live action or whether it’s trying to mimic somebody else’s voice like I did with Stinky Peterson, I always like being able to bring their story back to life and being able to kind of share their story with everybody else.

TrunkSpace: As somebody who has worked so extensively in voice acting, when you’re sitting down and reading, either for work or for yourself, do you find yourself trying to tap into the character voices as you’re reading from the page?
Jurgensmeyer: I do, actually. That’s kind of something that I do a lot. I’m currently reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” books, and every time I start reading it, whether it’s a script or whether it’s those books, because those books are just phenomenal, I immediately start thinking of the scene. And I start thinking of what the characters look like, and how they would say it. Sometimes I’ll say one of the lines a few times in my head and I’ll be like, “Oh no, what if he tried it like this?”

It’s kind of funny and it’s kind of weird at the same time that I think that, but I really do.

TrunkSpace: Sounds like you’re on a path to also becoming a director!
Jurgensmeyer: Yes, sir. That is something that I would definitely like to do.

TrunkSpace: We noticed a funny coincidence in your recent work. Not only are you playing a character named Stinky, but you’re also playing one named Dirty in the Amazon show “Stinky & Dirty.” Is there a theme building here? (Laughter)
Jurgensmeyer: (Laughter) That was kind of a joke last night, as well. I told some of my friends that were there and they were like, “Wow, you know, I think this is a sign, Jet, that you’re getting these stinky and dirty roles.” And I just kind of laughed. I was like, “Uh huh, sure.” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Now all you need to do is voice the character Pigpen from “Peanuts.” (Laughter)
Jurgensmeyer: Yeah. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: You also have “Ferdinand” due in theaters this December. The cast of that film is completely stacked. How exciting is it for you to be involved in a project of that size and scope?
Jurgensmeyer: Oh my goodness! When I found out I was getting that part, I was so excited, because I play young Peyton Manning, his character. I’m probably the biggest Peyton Manning fan ever, so, I was really excited to be able to do that. And I was telling the director and the producers, I was like, “You know, if you guys have a screening, I mean, certainly he’ll be there. And you guys will want a picture of younger and older Guapo. I mean, sure, right?” (Laughter) They were like, “I think we’ll be able to work something out.”

TrunkSpace: Nothing wrong with being a Manning fan, but, we’re up in Tom Brady country, so… (Laughter)
Jurgensmeyer: Oh. All righty. (Laughter) I have him on my fantasy team, so we’re all good.

Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie” premieres Friday on Nickelodeon.

Ferdinand” charges into theaters December 15.

The Stinky & Dirty Show” is available now on Amazon Prime.

Featured image by: The Riker Brothers.

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