Josh Hopkins and director Joel Souza go deep discussing Crown Vic, a new crime drama that premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, in a new uInterview.

The film, which is also written by Souza, follows two patrolmen in the Olympic division of the LAPD- one being an older cop (Thomas Jane) at the end of his career and the other, a younger cop (Luke Kleintank) coming up.

“I play Jack VanZandt, who’s kind of a rogue cop,” explained Hopkins. “He kind of represents the bad element of the police… He’s just a really wonderfully written character that I had a ball with.”

“His character is this bipolar, ‘roided out, sort of rage-a-holic,” added Souza.

Hopkins expressed his gratification for Souza’s open directing style. “A lot of directors wouldn’t come off their plan…For [Souza] to do that, that’s a huge strength in a director,” he said. “To be like, ‘I’m going to throw everything out the window. This is better storytelling.’”

Hopkins also discussed how he got his start in the acting world. “I just kind of fell into acting because I’m so good looking,” Hopkins joked. “I think seeing how movies affected my dad and how much he loved them was a big part of it. He’s going to love this movie. It’s my dad’s exact type of movie and I can’t wait for him to see it,” he said on a more serious note.

As for Souza, he said, “I’ve done some different kinds of movies in the past, but police and crime drama has always been kind of where my passion is, the LAPD stories in particular.”

Full interview transcript below:

Q: Joel, what’s the plot of the film?

A: [Joel Souza]: “I, I wrote and directed the movie. The movie basically follows uh two uh patrol men in the olympic division of the LAPD. All of this of course in, in one nights shift one of the cops is an older cop sorting coming to the end of his career and the other cop is sort of uh like the other side of the same coin, the younger cop coming up. And we sort of uh follow these guys as they traverse these, all these sort of obstacles and dangers on the course of one night.”

Q: Josh, who’s your character in the film?

A: [Josh Hopkins]: “I play Jack VanZandt who’s kind of a rogue cop, kind of represents the bad element of the police, the movie doesn’t really take a political stance at all but he’s not a great guy it not a, it’s not a traditional script in the way it’s formed and so if there’s an antagonist to be had he’s part of it. Just a really gr- wonderfully written character that I had a ball with I mean it, it’s it was one of those it’s like you almost can’t go too big ahha you know and that’s a lot of fun,
and to play not the good guy is really fun too.”

Q: What was the toughest scene for you?

A: [Josh Hopkins]: “For me there’s a scene where uh my characters being extremely violent and out of control and loses it, turns on the dime to- from being violent to being crying and it was just exhausting to stay up and do it over and over again for different sizes and on the back of me and I mean, it was hours of… I was tired haha. You know, it was hard to keep up that energy but still so much fun so I gotta thank this guy for that.”

[Joel Souza]: “You know it’s interesting, particularly there was a scene that Josh’s character was in that it’s when we first meet him that was the one that was a little trickier to me because it was a scene that it’s a, it’s a long dialogue scene (Hopkins: “yeah.”) and we- we’ve come off another scene where there was pretty lengthy dialogue so it’s like how do we keep a pace there? But beyond that it was you know, his character is sort of this, he’s uh, he’s this bipolar sort of rioted out, rage-aholic so it’s like when you first meet him you don’t wanna quite be there yet but you still need to establish that, that’s there so there’s this incredible amount of tension under-underneath everything he’s doing but he’s, when we first meet him he’s sitting in a car and their talking sort of car to car to the other cops and it’s like how do we do that, how do we keep tension there? How do we build a relationship between him and the other cops he’s talking to? That one was a little tricky but I was really happy it’s uh, it was a difficult one for I think for any actor to, to sort of find the right note and uh, and he nailed it, he absolutely killed it so.

There’s one scene I come back to and there’s a scene with uh between Thomas Jane and Bridget Moynahan and it’s this sort of very quiet scene in a diner and she’s sort of has been under this very difficult circumstances and uh with drugs and Thomas and her have sort of a past together, and I had this very specific way I was going to shoot it. I sort of storyboard everything, I’m very obsessive about that and so I said “Oh I’m going to shoot this a very specific way” and then they
came in and rehearsed it and I looked over at our DP, Thomas Stanton, and we just sort of looked at each other and said well that’s all gone now were gonna throw everything out and just sort of fly by the seat of out pants and just follow their lead. And so we did and we sort of, we just scrapped everything and followed because it was such a powerful scene between them and we sort of got out of their way to a certain extent and just let them sort of tell us what needed to
happen camera wise. And I remember just sort of going home that night and just thinking like “that was a very satisfying days work,” as a director when you sort of make your plan and someone kicks the chair out from under you and you can still figure it out. Like I felt like, I earned my money, I earned my money today on that one so.”

Q: What do you remember most from the shoot?

A: [Josh Hopkins]: “Those guys in the, in the patrol car are fantastic and they control really the pace of the movie and, and uh it’s working with them was so much fun- it was all night shoots you know. Thomas is interesting, he didn’t wear shoes ahah yeah, so he’s walking around rehearsing on the buffalo streets with no shoes that I’ll remember that for sure, Luke’s you know a movie star on the rise, that’s fun to see. David Krumholtz plays Stroke Adams and he’s my partner and I’ve known him a long time so that was, fun. Haha he’s, he’s so great and so that was a lot of fun.”

[Joel Souza]: “You write a script uh and if you tr- like I’m sort of obsessive about writing cops it’s uh I just, I love it. There’s a sort of real sort of shop talk in the jargon and there’s a very sort of specific way they speak and that either rolls off your tongue or it doesn’t, and it was really cool to sort of see that come to life with guys who could sort of do that. You know where, where it just and it sounded legitimate and it sounded authentic and that was really cool and then just, but also the best thing is when the- you know you, you write your script and make your plan and, but it’s that thing that you didn’t anticipate that, that neat thing that happens that somebody thought of that wasn’t yours that just makes a scene like way better and that’s-. There was a lot of that, I remember that that was really gratifying.”

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