With his slicked back hair and intimidating gaze, Vincent Pastore is easily recognized in New Jersey and beyond as the mobster Salvatore Bonpensiero in HBO’s hit series The Sopranos. But the man who played “Big Pussy” was recently on location in the Garden State shooting a different kind of character. Pastore plays the antagonistic mayor of the fictitious Essex County town of Manningtree in the upcoming independent film, Split Ends, a romantic comedy with thick Jersey roots.
Split Ends is based on scriptwriter/producer Libby Christensen’s true-life adventures running a hair salon. Maplewood resident Christensen, who had no previous writing experience, was helped on the project by friend and client Gila Zalon of West Orange, known for winning a New Jersey Director’s Choice award for her film, Dream House.
The film was shot on location this summer in Clifton, Maplewood, and South Orange with a production crew entirely from New Jersey. The cast includes Lawton Paseka of Scotch Plains and South Orange resident Peter McRobbie, who played the father in the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain.
Originally from Paisley, Scotland, Christensen arrived in the United States in 1964 with an aspiration to style hair—not to write screenplays. She got the writing bug after being featured in an article in The New York Times. “I realized I had an interesting story and just started writing,” says Christensen. “Actually seeing my screenplay being filmed is surreal. It’s been an amazing journey.”Click here to leave a comment