Right out of the headlines, it’s an American tragedy that happens all too often.
Actor Chasen Schneider is the son of legendary John Schneider, and the two are father and son on-screen as well in this new movie.
This is a film involving a young man who’s about to be executed for murder. Meanwhile, two sets of parents are struggling to deal with the consequences of fear and repression in a small town.
Actor Jordan Salloum plays a man sitting on death row. We talked to Jordan and Chasen to find out more about this story full of twists, turns, and jarring surprises.
PopWrapped: Chasen and Jordan, tell us about the parts you play in Hate Crime?
Chasen Schneider: I play Kevin, a young homosexual artist, going to college in Louisiana. I form a relationship with Ray, who wants to keep it a secret.
Jordan Salloum: I play Raymond Brown, who is the son of Ginny and Tom. My character is on death row for killing his lover Kevin (Chasen).
PW: Did you feel sympathy for your characters? If not sympathy, how did you feel towards your character?
JS: Yes. My character (Raymond) is hiding who he is from his father out of fear of disapproval. I know how it feels to feel like I could be a disappointment to my father. A father’s approval is pretty much the most important thing to a son, and I could imagine how devastating it would be if my father disapproved of my way of life. In that way, I can relate to Raymond’s journey.
CS: I did. It’s a painful thing to hide yourself from the world. I envisioned Kevin as someone who was supported by his parents, taught to be proud of who he was, so keeping a part of himself a secret would be frustrating for him. It is also a painful thing to love someone who feels ashamed of you, despite caring for you as well.
PW: Chasen, your real life dad, John Schneider, plays your father onscreen in this movie. How was it working with him on this project? (We're told your father and you didn't share scenes, but you were on set together.)
CS: It was great. He never told me what to do or made me anxious. He was a supportive presence who made the crew feel very at ease. Which is good for when you are acting.
PW: Jordan, how was it working with John?
JS: It was a real honor to work with Mr. Schneider. He is a very special person and has done so much for me. Since we worked together on Hate Crime, Mr. Schneider has been gracious enough to put me in three of his films (Like Son, Anderson Bench, and Bad Blood). I always learn so much from him when we work together. I really look up to him as a person as well as an actor, as he is first class at both.
PW: How was the experience of working at John Schneider Studios?
JS: I love working at JSS. I feel at home there. Mr. Schneider generally uses the same crew for his films, so it is very much a family atmosphere. J.S.S. is a special place. It’s a place where artists come together and display their unique talents. The end result is a film we are all proud of. I expect to see big things come out of J.S.S.
CS: John Schneider Studios is a fun place to work. I didn’t shoot my Hate Crime scenes there, but I did shoot part of Anderson Bench there, and it’s a homely place. Dad always has food for everyone and the camaraderie on set is strong. He knows what he wants and everyone who is there wants to do it for fun, so it never feels stuffy or claustrophobic.
PW: What do you hope audiences are able to say after seeing this movie?
JS: I hope this film provokes thought. At the end of the day, that is the point of a film like Hate Crime. Its purpose is not merely to entertain. I hope people realize that a child cannot choose to be who they are, but that they just are who they are and that is okay. People should be allowed to live their lives however they choose, as long as it does not hurt others. My ultimate hope would be for one day a father who is struggling with accepting his homosexual son to watch Hate Crime and for it to help him accept his son. That would really be great. I also want to say that our talented director Steve Esteb did a wonderful job with this script.
CS: I hope that audiences can have honest discussions with each other over who they are. A big part of this movie is that no one should feel ashamed of their identity or who they choose to love. Being different from the norm or your family history’s norm is not a bad thing.
PW: What projects are next for you guys?
JS: I’ve been fortunate enough to work on several films since Hate Crime, so I am waiting for them to come out. I just wrapped filming (yesterday actually) on John Schneider’s film Bad Blood, which was a great experience. I also just booked the lead role in a film that I am really excited about. I play a young scientist who goes to great lengths to attempt to save his dying friend. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to say much more about that project.
CS: I am appearing in an episode of Blue Wall: The Web Series. I play the ex-husband of an alcoholic, crooked cop. Exciting stuff. I was supposed to be in some unproduced William Inge one acts this October but they have been pushed back to early next year. So keep your eyes and ears posted!
For more information about the movie and its release, visit the movie's Facebook page.
For more information about John Schneider Studios, visit the JSS Facebook page