LINWOOD — Being among thieves is a positive thing for Mainland grad and former Linwood resident Jeremy Sless. His full-length film, “Among Thieves,” became available on multiple streaming services Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Sless said it's been a pretty exciting time with the film ready to release.
His character is Wes.
“'Among Thieves' follows the story of five thieves (including Wes), who are stranded in the middle of an ambiguous Latin America country after their heist goes wrong. Although they succeeded in the theft of counterfeit money and printing plates recently confiscated by authorities, the only member of their crew that knew how to drive their 54-foot getaway truck has been killed. Unable to escape, the five now deal with being pursued by a police force in turmoil, a cutthroat gang and the money counterfeiter who holds their payout shares and is expecting them to deliver his printing plates within a certain window of time,” Sless said.
Does he play a good guy or a villain? Well the actor, refusing to divulge details, said that is up for interpretation by the viewer. “They are going to have to choose,” he said.
Sless explained the economics of why many independent films get released to streaming services. “Independent feature films depend on grass roots to propel them. Most films have a budget of $60,000-$80,000, and going to streaming services allows the film to be noticed and to begin to garner some income,” he said. He added that if a film gets a lot of attention, the studios may take some interest in the film.
While filming “Among Thieves” in the United States and set in Latin America, Sless got a part in a film to be released next year, “Deep Hatred,” set in the United States but filmed in Latin America with many of the same actors featured in “Among Thieves.” Sless laughed and said it is pretty ironic and also interesting how the location used provides the backdrop for the entire film.
While Sless is living the California lifestyle, he credits his success to local roots. A 2011 graduate of Mainland Regional High School, Sless said so much of what he has been able to do all began in Linwood. He was in the fall and spring productions, was a member of the New Jersey Drama and Forensic League and all of the James Bond-esque “The Adventures of Jeremy Sless 007” were filmed in and around Linwood and are on YouTube. “All of those things were blast as well as a great learning experience,” he said.
He gives props to both of Mainland’s veteran drama teachers, Judy Cline and Becky Sannino. “Ms. Cline taught me to be attentive to detail and make sure I have my lines down. Mrs. Sannino taught me to use my natural abilities in the characters I play rather than making them separate,” said Sless.
He recollected a play from high school, “And Then There Were None,” in which he played the murderer. Sannino had seen him portray the Joker from “Dark Knight” in one of his videos and suggested he incorporate that energy, and it is something that he relies on even today. “When I auditioned at the California Institute for the Arts, I did that monologue and it helped me get accepted. She got me to harness my talent. I owe a lot to Mrs. Sannino."
Being an actor can be tough, but Sless said he is doing well and between gigs he drives for Lyft and that gives him the freedom to do auditions and work on other projects. Currently, aside from auditioning for more films, Sless is putting up a play that he has written, directed, and will act in during the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June. It is called “The Story of Every Amateur Play Ever Performed” and tells the story of awful actors putting on a play, but with many twists and turns, including deceit and bank robberies.
The film “Among Thieves” is available for purchase as of Oct. 15 on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, PlayStation, YouTube, Vimeo. It is available on cable on DirecTV, Comcast, Fios, Dish Network and Spectrum.