The Movie Waffler Interview - WHO'S JENNA Director Thomas Baldinger | The Movie Waffler

Interview - WHO'S JENNA Director Thomas Baldinger

WHO'S JENNA Director Thomas Baldinger
Director Thomas Baldinger discusses his new comedy.

Filmmaker Thomas Baldinger talks up his hot new comedy Who’s Jenna..? - starring Tracey Birdsall and Bill Sorvino - available starting on April 24th in 100+ million homes throughout Video On Demand, TV, rental stores and retail outlets.

WHO'S JENNA poster

First question, Who IS Jenna!?

You have to see the film! Come on, you knew I was going to say that! 

Without naming names was there ever a stage when the real ‘Jenna’ might have played a part in this movie?

Yes. In fact, we were speaking to her camp when we started shooting. But things worked out in our favour and we were able to get Amber Lynn to play herself and add a nice twist to our film. For those who watch it on April 24th, be sure to stay through the credits. WINK WINK.

This isn’t a movie about porn stars though; it’s about real people, right?

That is right. This movie is about real people dealing with real life situations. It’s about friendships, falling in love, blackmail, and discrimination. Only instead of these serious issues being done in a dramatic form, I chose comedy while also delivering an important message.

Was it important to you that the film have as much substance as it did style?

Yes. I wanted to be sure that we always kept ourselves grounded. To have a sense of reality. The cast, the crew and I always made sure we didn’t go over the line in any way as well. We were dealing with a very sensitive subject to a lot of people and we never wanted to offend anyone nor did we want to sugar coat anything either. We toed that line every day and I think we were successful in making this film with taste.

Did any real events play muse to the script?

Yes, a few. The night club scene in Toronto and the scene where Joseph D’Onofrio jumps into the garbage dumpster are the first that come to mind. I wish I could say more, but then I’d be giving away too much. Just be sure to watch it on April 24th digitally or on DVD and then I can tell you why those scenes come to mind.

Why this cast? And how hard was it to get Amber Lynn involved?

Why not this cast?? They are all amazing in it! Each one of them brought something special to the table. I was the luckiest guy in the world to have these people in my film. And I would work with each and every one of them again and again and again….who knows…maybe there’s a sequel in the future…?

Getting Amber Lynn was perfect! One of our publicists, Laura Madsen, was able to get in contact with Amber. We got talking about the movie and what I hoped she’d sign on for. She was awesome to work with and very professional on set.

Was their one particular name in there that helped get you financing? I’m assuming having a ‘Sorvino’ onboard didn’t hurt?

Of course not! With this starting line up: Bill Sorvino, Garry Pastore, Tracey Birdsall, Joseph D’Onofrio, Vincent Pastore, Lenny Venito…jeez when you say all of those names you’d think I was making another mobster film. But seriously, when I wrote up my executive summary featuring all, and I mean ALL of the cast members, my investors knew we had a serious thing going. Each one of them had something special and they all made this happen!

How hard is it to market a movie that features the porn industry?

You can market just about anything as long as you are tasteful with your approach. I found it more difficult when we were making the film, especially when booking locations. We had to be sure that whoever we were renting space from knew that we were a legitimate film and not some sleazy piece about the adult industry. But overall I think it works in our favour. We took a simple love story and put a different spin to it. My hope is that it catches real fast and people start talking about how you can watch a friendly romantic comedy about the porn industry that doesn’t have any nudity or sex in it.

Any blowback from distributors or media because of some of the themes in the movie?

We got a few distribution offers when we started to pitch the film but then we settled with Indican Pictures. So no, the distributors were great. It was a few film festivals that pulled our film from their schedule on the east coast. They were afraid their audiences would be too sensitive to the subject matter. When this happened I thought to myself “Wow, are we becoming the ‘Howard Stern’ of the small independent film market? Are we about to cause some controversy?” 

What do you hope audiences take away from the movie?

I want people to sit back, laugh and have a good time when watching my film. I’m not looking to move mountains. I just want to entertain you.