It’s no secret that there is a serious addiction problem which is impacting the lives of just about everyone. “Shooting Heroin” has emerged as one of the first narrative feature films on the current opioid epidemic in North America.
Originally set for an initial limited theatrical release in cities across North America, “Shooting Heroin” moved to video on-demand and pay-per-view platforms following the shutdown of almost all movie theatres nationally during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Directed by Spencer T. Folmar. the hard-hitting film features Sherilyn Fenn, Cathy Moriarty, Nicholas Turturro, Alan Powell and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. The film centers around the efforts of a small town community comes together to eradicate the heroinepidemic from its midst–by whatever means necessary.
Q: You are currently one of the stars of “Shooting Heroin” and the film speaks to the current opiod crisis. It touches on pharmacists filling multiple prescriptions, addicts, doctors and drug dealers. How do you feel about the film?
A: The film is told from a noble point of view It’s about people in the neighborhood taking things into their own hands. It boils down to the fact that money is money and people want to do it the easiest way. Doctors have been doing this for years. You could go to a doctor and that people have to come back two or three times to because they only got a partial refill of the prescription. It’s pimping the system. Some people just don’t give a d–. That’s the scary thing about it.
Q: Many people are addicted to drugs these days and the problem is not getting any better. What is your observation of the problem?
A: I grew up in NYC, in Manhattan, and in the late 60’s there was an epidemic. It seemed like so many people were shooting dope and drug dealers were everywhere. I was 10 and I was seeing that. The young people who are addicted these days is not a surprise to me. That’s who you sell dope to, young people. That’s the hook and the people who are suppliers know that you’ll come back. They got you and they don’t care what happens to you. I’ve seen a person die in front of me and it’s disheartening. So in terms of “Shooting Heroin,” that’s a metaphor. Opiod is over the top. And people think that drug usage is more prevalent in urban communities but it isn’t.
Q: Younger people really need to see this film. It should be shown in schools!
A: Yes. The movie is done from a personal point of view, it’s not trying to be on a soap box. It is about people who are affected and they want to do something about it.
Q: What made you sign on to be a cast member of the film?
A: It was the script. I said, “this is something that we need to put attention to.” And the character that I read for, I liked him because he was just an average Joe and he had a chance to use his voice.
Q: What else have you been doing?
A: I’ve done a projects like “Inside 50-Year Death Watch” and “Escape From Death Block 13” and now I’m on a series, “A House Divided” on Urban Movie Channel. And just being a granddaddy and staying in (during the cornavirus). I like to write and draw.
Q: Do people recognize you? And if so, what do they like to ask you?
A: Yes, all the time. When I was doing “A House Divided” I was like the godfather of acting. The young actors like to ask me a bunch of questions about how was it back then. I always indulge them.
I’ve been acting for 52 years, can you believe that? I tell them what I can. There were people around me when I was growing up like (actors) Morgan Freeman and Ron O’Neal and they were the nicest people to me. No one ever said no to me. And I remember once I went to the Apollo when I saw they were showing “Claudine” and I asked if I could come in and they treated me like royalty. I had just turned 20 then, so if young people want to talk to me, I say, “let’s talk about it.” But put your money where your mouth is. You need to be able to have the goods. You have to be honest to yourself and tell that truth.
Q: You have stood the test of time. A lot of people aren’t around any more; they are either deceased or they may have left the business. What is your secret to longevity?
A: I just believe that you to be honest with yourself. It may sound corny but it’s true. No one can break your spirit. I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs, never did. I just try to keep myself going. There’s no comparison to others. I don’t keep a score card with anybody, you just have to believe in yourself. Surround yourself with good friends, family and love.
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