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Danny Abeckaser - A Directors Life

Blackjack: The Jackie Ryan Story, which chronicles the life and career of legendary New York City street basketball player Jackie Ryan in the 1990’s, is the latest feature film by director Danny A. Abeckaser (Mob Town, First We Take Brooklyn) under his 2B Films production company, which has produced over 11 films to date. The film is slated for an October 30th release with Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, a leading all-rights distributor of independent feature films and documentaries.

Directed and produced by Danny A. Abeckaser, his third consecutive directed feature, it follows the success of indie hits Mob Town and First We Take Brooklyn. BlackJack: The Jackie Ryan Story shows a new side of Abeckaser, a bio-drama filled with heart and emotion.

The cast stars Greg Finley (Secret Life of An American Teenager) with an incredible portrayal of Jackie Ryan, along with David Arquette, Ashley Greene, Moise Morancy, Brandon Thomas Lee, Robert Davi, Bo Dietl and James Madio, with featured cameos by Michael Rapaport, Sean Avery and Ben Lyons, as well as The Harlem Wizards.

You may recognize Abeckaser for his memorable acting role in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman alongside Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Bobby Cannavale. He will also co-star in the upcoming mob feature drama LANSKY alongside Sam Worthington and Harvey Keitel. Abeckaser does a great job of balancing his acting roles between his directorial passion projects, creating his own dynamic path that does not go unnoticed.

Blackjack is a deviation from his recent series of mob flicks, showing the range of the Director, Producer and Actor who continues to forge his own path in Hollywood.

Blackjack: The Jackie Ryan Story was produced under Abeckaser’s 2B Films production company. Abeckaser worked closely with the real Jackie Ryan to accurately have the story written.

Jamie Agoglia: Tell us about the release of your newest film Blackjack: The Jackie Ryan Story

Danny Abeckaser: I can’t wait for people to see this film, which was a true passion project. We spent two years working on the movie behind the scenes and finished production this past fall. To be able to finally debut it with Gravitas as our partner, is beyond exciting.

Why did you want to direct this film and tell this story?

My first love is basketball, my second love is movies. There are so many reasons, but that sums it up.

Tell us about the casting process for this.

The casting process was more in depth than past projects, as we had to cast actors that could not only act and portray these biographical roles, but also actors who could play basketball. This was important to me as the director in order to be able to shoot this film accurately to tell the story of Jackie Ryan the way I wanted to tell it.

What was it like directing this time, your third feature now under your belt?

This time I enjoyed every minute because this film allowed me to be on a basketball court almost the entire movie, which just energized me. It was also the hardest. We had so many things to deal with. But it was worth it, and an incredible experience.

This is a new genre for you, tell us about that?

People think I just want to do mob movies. That’s not true, it just happened to be that First We Take Brooklyn, Mob Town and The Irishman all happened basically at the same time, and well, Lansky is up next. I do not think I will ever escape Mob Films, and I do love them, but I love all movies. Jackie Ryan was a story I wanted to tell, and the film was shot as authentic as possible.

What do you enjoy about being on set?

I enjoy every movie set, every experience. Being on set working is my favorite thing to do. Especially now, when I’m home, I am wishing I could do 18 hour days on set. Believe me. I would much rather be on set all day. I thrive there.

Tell us about the bidding war on this film? Did you initially plan to put it in festivals?

We certainly thought this could be a great festival movie. Tribeca was top of mind. But the world changed and we needed to adopt. In the end we had some great offers, which is all we can hope for, and we decided Gravitas will do a great job in getting the movie out. They were the right partner for this project, and I am super grateful it all aligned. I’m excited for people to see it.


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