Luke Jaden is 19 years old. A fact that is easily forgotten when you speak to him. His energy is frenetic, but his business acumen is something you would expect from someone 30 years older.
I spoke to him last night about his latest collaboration and project, the short film, King Ripple.
Jaden’s first film was a documentary called Mad Man or Martyr, about the abolitionist John Brown, which is a heavy topic for someone of any age, especially a high school senior. His classmates loved it, then his whole school was given a peak, and in no time local media picked up on his talent. Before finishing high school, Luke Jaden knew what he wanted to do.
King Ripple is a short film trailing the metaphoric journey of four teenagers through a mystical and dystopian urban wasteland. In December last year, Detroit’s wintry landscape provided the ultimate backdrop for the story. The kids find a troubled and distorted path on the other side of the proverbial fence on their way to find the king. Its a sort of Stand By Me quest, with the strange happenings of a David Lynch film.
Jaden originally pitched an idea for a bizarre, dystopian story to author Josh Malerman, who is one of the foremost writers in the horror genre and Malerman came back with the story of a supernatural being who lords over a devastated city.
The script was written by Jaden, his producing partner Cort Johns and Josh Malerman. Both Johns and Jaden are from metro Detroit and thought that the city would be the ideal location for Malerman’s concept. They both also direct the film.
“He has crazy Detroit hustle. I don’t even think he knows what it means to loaf. If this kid doesn’t motivate you toward your own passion, you might as well be sewn to couch, your’e toast,” Johns mentioned.
The title role in King Ripple goes to Keith Stanfield, a young actor who has been gaining a lot of steam lately. He has had parts in Dope and Selma, and he will be playing Snoop Dogg in the NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton coming out next week.
This isn’t the last stop for the production talents of Jaden and Johns. They have another film coming out soon about a homeless man who falls in deep with the scrapping world here in Detroit. It stars Academy Award nominated actor Barkhad Abdi and again uses Detroit as the back drop to tell the tale.
Johns and Jaden’s production company Troika will be one to watch in the next few years. They have a lot of top shelf talent lined up and they show no signs of slowing down.
“This industry is a never-ending journey. Each step is a new day to a new dream that’ll never die. Detroiters dominate. This place teaches you mad hustle.” Luke Jaden
Check out more about the film on their website: http://kingripple.com/