Introducing Jodea has been dubbed “this year’s answer to the rom-com classic Pretty Woman” and it is all thanks to it’s leading lady, Chloe Traicos. Chloe wrote the film and stars as the determined, yet clumsy Jodea.
Synopsis: He has one week to turn the world’s worst actress into a star! This riotous rom-com explores how a struggling young actress’s fortunes change when a world famous movie director drives into the back of her car. Desperate, the actress uses the opportunity to beg the star for a role in his latest movie.
This award-winning new comedy from director JD Cohen stars Chloe Traicos (“The Righteous Gemstones”) and Jeff Coppage (“Ava”). Kent Hatch and Ryan Pratton co-star in the film.
Check out our Q & A with Chloe!
What inspired this story?
Chloe: I think I can safely say it was my experiences in the film industry. I took bad experiences and turned them into humorous experiences, you know, it was just a case of LA being such a difficult town to get anywhere in and so, I kind of, you know, took all that and turned it into something really funny.
Did everything in the movie actually happen to you?
Chloe: I mean, no, that’s exaggerated to be funny. I’ve never been escorted out of a building before but it was just something I thought about. I thought, you know, because they will have the guards in the lobby, and you kind of think, well, if there was a really determined actress, it could be pretty funny. That was where that idea came from, but a lot of it comes from my writing and getting scripts out there and the attitude of producers and agents. As Grant says at one point, he’s like, ‘we don’t make movies based on an acting talent, you base them on people who can sell the movie,’ or something like that. That’s all stuff that you deal with when you put yourself out there. I mean, I’ve had agents tell me, ‘you’ve got the wrong look,’ which you can interpret as you’re not pretty enough and, you know, I made that like 100-fold bigger so that we come across as funny with Grant’s character, he tells her ‘you’re too ugly, your breasts are too small.’ It’s little things that have been said to me, but I just kind of put them in a humorous light.
Where did the character of Jodea come from?
Chloe: Parts of her are like me, definitely the clumsy side and the go getter side. But, you know, I kind of wanted to, I guess I kind of wanted to make her more like more innocent. She kind of had to be innocent, almost to the point of stupid and something like she actually thinks she’s giving a good performance. So I kind of exaggerated that a lot. It was kind of like me but not me, a sort of more innocent version of me, and a sort of a more determined version of me. A gutsy version of me in that she doesn’t think twice about going into a building to see an agent who’s never met her. So, yeah, it was kind of just me but exaggerated.
The name Jodea is just so interesting, where did the name come from?
Chloe: Yes, it’s actually the name of a friend of mine and actually, when I was first writing this and the idea first came to me 10 years ago, I happen to catch up with her and I was like, ‘I really like your name, I think I’m going to name my lead character after you.’ And I think her name is a mixture of her grandmother’s names, I don’t know. She said her parents came up with the name, it was one they invented. So that’s where the name came from and it’s also adds to her being different and not being the standard, you know, pretty Hollywood type with the name like Britney or whatever, you know? It makes her different and therefore kind of more weird and in a lot of ways more human.
Since you wrote the film, did you have any say in who the director was or who starred alongside you?
Chloe: Oh yes. I was one of the producers, we went through three directors before we got to John because we were initially going to make it on a much bigger budget. The last director we were with is a wonderful guy, but he was getting really good paid work, and I just said to him, ‘Look, I want to get this movie made now,’ and the big budget people aren’t coming forward because we were we were we couldn’t find an A-Lister to play Zac’s role. So I said I’m gonna shoot this low budget and he was absolutely fine with it. And so John who directed it, he’s one of my dearest friends. He directed my first movie, and I mean he’s actually a horror director but he loves romantic comedies, he’s really good at writing them, and I knew he wanted a chance to direct. He’d worked with me on the script in the very early stages, so he knew the project and so I felt very safe leaving it in his hands. But the casting we kind of did together, it was a team effort.
Did COVID affect filming at all?
Chloe: No, thank God, we actually shot all of it, except one shot before COVID, and that was that was the limo shot. We were so glad that we got it when we did. There was a mixup with the limousine, they got the days mixed but we had to shoot the scene. Then John, who was out from Australia and here on a visa, had to go back to Australia. He was like, ‘that’s okay you guys just get a single shot of Zac. You guys can do it while I’m gone,’ and little did we know that next week, we went into lockdown. So that kind of delayed us for several months, and then when lockdown started to ease up, it was okay cuz it was just a single shot, and John was able to go ahead with the edits in the meantime, so, it was all good.
A lot of the advertising around this film calls it, “this year’s answer to the rom-com classic Pretty Woman.” What are your thoughts on that?
Chloe: That’s really cool, I like that. I mean, I haven’t seen a classic rom-com in so long. It’s almost like they’ve stopped, I mean there’s the odd one that comes out now and then but you find it when you go to the movies. Well, none of us have really been to a movie in a year, and the stuff that comes out, it’s normally comedy comedy, not so much the romantic comedy. I like the rom-com genre and I like that that’s what they were saying and that’s pretty cool.
One thing we all know from Pretty Woman is the unscripted part when Richard Greer closes the jewelry box and makes Julia Roberts laugh. Were there any moments like that with your film?
Chloe: Oh absolutely. We had Ryan who played Harold, literally all his dialogue he reworded and added stuff, and I mean he’s brilliant with improv. He’s a natural. And the same with Steve who played Fred, he’s a comedian. My favorite scene was the one with the two of them in Zac’s study because I literally just sat back and cracked up laughing. They just improv’d their way through that one and it was very funny. Most of Harold’s dialogue moments he made up on the spot, you know the whole thing when Zac throws the milk in his face, the line ‘this is your first hit,’ that was something he thought of just seconds before we shot it.
Did he come up with asking every black character about Malcolm X, too?
Chloe: That was me. He’s actually based on a very dear friend of mine who is like that, the nicest guy imaginable, but very socially inappropriate. You know, it’s like, he will go straight up to someone when he hears where they are from and he’ll ask them the most inappropriate question about the country they’re from. It’s like, you know, something which no one is talking about, like if you bumped into a German kid, he’d ask them about World War II. There’s no malice intended, it’s just who he is. So, that was how I wrote Harold and Ryan picked up on that right away and I thought he played it really well. But yeah, that was initially in the script, but other stuff like when he passes Jodea’s colleague, when she’s walking out, he added the whole ‘Oh good, she remembers me.’ That was him.
If what happened to Jodea happened to you, how would you respond?
Chloe: I would be furious, too, about the bet. I think I would be more furious about the fact he literally just left her standing there alone at the theater. That, to me, was way worse than the bet, but I probably would have been more forgiving than her, or I would have given him another chance because I think it’s pretty clear that he does really like her.