After reporting on crime for years, Jason Hewlett's on the other side of the law - on film, that is.
Hewlett, currently The Daily News' entertainment reporter, is on a Montreal set playing a supporting role in a John Fallon (Saw 2) action drama film called Billy Trigger.
The reporter's 15 seconds of frame arrived on Thursday as he and Pops, played by Fred Williamson, veteran actor and former NFL defensive back, squared off in an action sequence.
He's in other scenes as well, but in this one, our reporter takes his - ahem - final bow. Playing a henchman, Hewlett receives a fatal bullet as the story climaxes.
But he's OK now.
Through the magic of cinematic art, Hewlett talked about the experience afterwards.
"It's at the end of the movie when Pops and his henchmen have come to get Billy Trigger," he said. "He plugs me and I fall back."
The chance to assume a small movie role came about through Hewlett's long-held interest in film, particularly action and horror genres. He co-hosts a weekly online show with Shawn Knippelberg called Film Reviews from the Basement and for the past two seasons has presented Darkfest, an adjunct to the Kamloops Canadian and International Film Festival. He also studied the art years ago at Vancouver Film School.
The 2012 Dark Fest hosted Fallon in a presentation of the Canadian filmmaker's work. He called Hewlett later, inviting him to join the cast of Billy Trigger.
Knippelberg, meanwhile, gets to write the film score.
"It's awesome and everyone's really cool," Hewlett said from Montreal. "It's been exciting."
Written by Fallon and directed by Christian Viel (Deaden), the film is about an Irish mobster who is the top enforcer for a crime family. The crime boss, Pops, gives Trigger the task of looking after his mistress while he's away, but the assignment goes horribly awry.
Billy Trigger is slated for release next year and may be on the billing for the 2013 Dark Fest.
The darkness, of course, is in the eye of the beholder; the creators seem to have a lot of fun and camaraderie behind the scenes. With low-budget films, the cast wear all kinds of hats, including those of crew.
"I'd very much love to do this again," Hewlett said, the gunfire blanks still ringing in his ears.
They resume shooting - the film, that is - today.
More shots from the location shoot can be seen at facebook.com/BillyTrigger.
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