Film Reviews: Wednesday, June 5, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Who Shot? JD!

A local filmmaker puts a hip-hop twist on supernatural horror.

By KRISTIAN LIN

When asked where they got an idea for a movie, not many filmmakers would say, “I was high when I thought of that.” (It’s probably true for a few of them; it’s just that most won’t admit to it so readily.) But that’s the response I got when I put the question to JD Jimmerson IV, who’s known to Fort Worth’s rap community as 4braid and who’s also the director of a comic supernatural horror flick called Da Killa.

He conceived the idea of the film soon after his high-school graduation in 1998. The Austin native moved to Plano in the seventh grade and has been in Fort Worth for the past five years. JD is his given name. Now 23 years old, he has put out four c.d.’s since then as well as the film. “I have nobody real big backing me,” he said. “People say that to make a film you need such-and-such, but I like to just go ahead and do it. I’m just trying to get product out there.”

It has been three years since he finished Da Killa, his first and so far only film, but the wait for the next one won’t be long. While he’s preparing a new quadruple album, he’s also gearing up to make the sequel to Da Killa, which he hopes will be finished by Halloween. The sequel promises zombies overrunning Fort Worth, a spectacular explosion, a dream sequence, and the return of a voodoo doll from the original, which taunts the main character, Leroy, by shouting, “Leroy be dead!” in a high-pitched voice. Jimmerson said, “That’s gonna be my Chucky.”

Jimmerson got his filmmaking start during his years in Plano, playing with his mother’s video camera and making comedy sketches inspired by In Living Color. When I asked for his favorite movies, he shot back with The Naked Gun films and Happy Gilmore, and he likes cartoons “because you can break the rules.” His taste for silly humor is easy to find in his movie, which often resorts to gags — at one point, after the main character is fired from his job of wearing a gorilla suit in front of a vacuum cleaner store, there’s a speeded-up sequence in which he runs out of the back of the store spiriting away several vacuum cleaners. (The gorilla-suit guy, however, as locals know, is based on fact.) He goes for the laugh so often that, honestly, his movie becomes hard to follow.

As for future plans, Jimmerson is aiming high. “Ever since I was in second grade, I wanted to be a music star and a movie star,” he said. “People say you have to go to New York or California, but [the artists on the coasts] had to start somewhere. I figure I can do it here.” He’s keeping a firm grip on creative control while he prepares himself to make the leap to the mainstream. “If I go into the industry [right now], they might sign me up as an actor, but I’d rather be an actor-writer,” he says. “It’s other people that can mess you up, like your family and your friends. If I can blame everything on myself, it’ll be a better outcome. If my movie flops, I know who to blame, and then my next one will be better.”


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