‘No One Wanted to Make It': Jennifer Esposito Mortgaged Her Own House to Make Her Directorial Debut Fresh Kills

Jennifer Esposito is revealing just how much it took to put her directorial debut together

Published Time: 05.07.2024 - 08:40:09 Modified Time: 05.07.2024 - 08:40:09

Jennifer Esposito is revealing just how much it took to put her directorial debut together.

The writer, director and star of Fresh Kills (in theaters now) appeared on Live with Kelly and Mark on July 3, where The Boys actress, 51, revealed she “produced it and paid for most of" the film herself. "I mortgaged my home," she added.

“Oh, my God, you’ve been busy,” raved Kelly Ripa, 53. Addressing the audience, the host added, “Guys, you have to see this movie! It is your moral obligation to see this movie!”

The Blue Bloods star’s feature directorial debut, which world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, is a Staten Island-set crime drama in which she stars as a family matriarch opposite Emily Bader, Odessa A'zion, Nick Cirillo and Annabella Sciorra. Per its synopsis, Bader plays "an inquisitive young girl who discovers her father (Domenick Lombardozzi) is an emerging mafia kingpin. Rose’s growing desire to break free from the path set before her soon threatens her existence and alienates her from her closest allies.”

As Esposito told Ripa and Mark Consuelos, 53, Fresh Kills “is the first film in the mafia genre where we’re seeing the point of view from the women.” Born in Brooklyn but raised in Staten Island, the filmmaker said she was inspired by seeing “young wo -

men really violently angry” whose families were involved in criminal activity.

“I realized, it’s really more about choice,” she continued. “I kept going back to the script when I would hit roadblocks in either my career or my life and think, ‘That’s where that rage came from.’ It’s about the boxes we’re put in and they didn’t have a choice.”

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As for “wearing all the different hats” on set, as Ripa said, Esposito admitted that she “definitely went a little insane.”

“No one wanted to make it. I couldn’t even get people to read it. And then when they did read it, it was like, ‘We’ll give you $5 million if you cast it with a big-name man. Because females don’t sell movies.’ ” 

She then proposed a means of financing the film to her husband since 2020, Jesper Vesterstrøm. “I went to my nice husband and was like, ‘Hey, I got an idea. What do you think about mortgaging the house?’ I do believe, if you don’t bet on yourself, who is going to bet on you?”

Fresh Kills is in theaters now.

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