Former rugby league player turned TV host, Jason Stevens is taking on Hollywood and has written and is producing his first feature film titled Chasing Comets.
Stevens, who grew up in Brighton-Le-Sands and played his junior footy with the Brighton Seagulls, is best remembered for the 231 NRL games for the Dragons and the Sharks. He also played in eight State of Origin games for the Blues and represented Australia on 16 occasions.
Life after football wasn't the end of the world but a cancelled Channel 9 contract made him look at his options and over the next three to four years he found life challenging even with a Bachelor of Commerce behind him.
Stevens was interested in telling stories and the lessons he learnt in the NRL, perseverance, dedication and hard work kicked in and after writing two books he did a script-writing course and with a head full of ideas the seed was sown and the AFL/NRL comedy drama Chasing Comets was born.
Chasing Comets will feature a who’s who of Aussie talent.
The likes of Isabel Lucas, Dan Ewing, Rhys Muldoon, Stan Walker, Wayne Blair, George Houvardas, Peter Phelps, Kat Hoyos, Gary Eck and Gemma Pranita all appear in the film.
Chasing Comets also marks a welcomed return to the big screen for Justin Melvey who played the role of Dr Colin Murphy in Days of our Lives.
The film also features the acting debut from Footy Show favourite; Beau Ryan as well as internationally acclaimed DJ Havana Brown.
They say, 'write what you know', so I drew on some of the experiences I had while playingJason Stevens
Set and shot in Wagga Wagga the film also has scenes set in Cronulla where Sutherland Shire Mayor Carmelo Pesce helped make the production happen.
The South Cronulla Uniting church, Anna’s Cafe, Montien Tong restaurant and venue owner Jad Nakhle all supported the project.
“I’m beyond excited,” Stevens said.
“I began the journey of learning film after I retired from league in 2005.
“They say; write what you know, so I drew on some of the experiences I had while playing and from some of the colourful characters I met.
“We’ve gone heavy on the comedy without trivialising the dramatic moments, especially when our lead, Chase Daylight (Dan Ewing) realises that it’s more important to have victory in your personal life, than on the field.
“The cast we have assembled is amazing and typifies the good will towards the project. We hope this translates onto the big screen”.
Jason Perini is on board to direct after winning the Jameson First Shot competition. Perini wrote and directed Maggie Gyllenhaal in the short film The New Empress which was produced by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti.
“Stevo has written a funny and daring script and has rounded up some exceptional actors and artists to work on the film,” Perini said.
“I am humbled to be part of it and excited to see what fun we can have telling this story.”
With more than 40 cast and crew to deal with and with investors to satisfy, producer is another skill set that Stevens has to master.
Dealing with professional actors, weather delays, tight budgets and new work structures is all part of chasing his new dreams.
Chasing Comets began shooting on March 23 and is set for release later this year.