Blue Bloods alum Jennifer Esposito credits a brutal professional experience for Fresh Kills

"Fresh Kills" New York Premiere
"Fresh Kills" New York Premiere / Marleen Moise/GettyImages

Blue Bloods fans know Jennifer Esposito for her role as Jackie Curatola on the procedural but she's also a film producer, director, and writer. Her movie, Fresh Kills, puts her squarely on the other side of the law as the wife of a member of the mob. The drama is brutal in its depiction of Francine's marriage and her relationship with her daughters, Rose and Connie. Their awareness of who their father is and the things he's done bleed through into traumatic responses including violent outbursts akin to his.

On the She Pivots podcast, Esposito opened up about an experience that she had at 26 years old with a "Harvey-Weinstein-esque" producer who used his influence to try to blackball her. The situation stemmed from her being fired without cause due to the producer wanting another actress and securing her for the part Esposito already had. Instead of going on and leaving her alone, the unnamed producer spread lies about her whenever someone called for a reference.

Esposito said that he would tell people that she was a drug addict and that she'd locked herself in her trailer, none of which was true. But the multi-hyphenate talent credits that painful time, and the attempt to kill her dream, for her ability to create a film like Fresh Kills.

"I know for a fact that if that didn't happen with that producer and my road had been easier, I would have never written and directed what I just did. Because, as I've said to a few people that know me well, Fresh Kills, the film was for the 26-year-old kid who got slaughtered."

From the trailer alone, you can see what Esposito means. Fresh Kills is a movie about power, what it means to have it or be without it. But it's a drama about a crime family that's told from the point of view of the women. It's not about a boss rising to prominence or the circling vultures as a man's ability to lead is diminishing. The film seems interested in showing the other face of these stories, in a raw depiction of a dysfunctional home life and the weight of family in a world like this.

As Esposito stated, if she had an easier road, the film would have never gotten made. This is true in regards to her writing but also in producing the movie. In 2023, Deadline reported that Fresh Kills would be "the first feature film financed and traded by a global group of fan investors." 3.5 million dollars was raised to finance the movie on the Upstream Exchange.

She went that route to get Fresh Kills made because of the stonewalling she was up against when she tried to finance the film through traditional means.

"When I took the concept for Fresh Kills to film financiers and distributors, I was told that financial backing depended on having a male lead in the film, as well as a male director, despite the fact that it is the story of women in the mafia world. In addition to lifting up the stories and voices of women, I hope that Fresh Kills will become a social movement. Together with Upstream, we aim to be healthy competition for bigger budget films by mobilizing people to choose character-driven content they can now be part of from the beginning as film investors."

As Esposito has shown, power is everything but there isn't a singular way of getting something done and part of reclaiming the power that someone has taken from you is making a way when there seemingly isn't one. That producer was small enough to want to try to stop a young woman's career when it was just getting started, but he didn't succeed and the entertainment world is better for Esposito's place in it.

Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more news and coverage.