By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Other characters in the film include Rosalia, the local 14-year-old ho, played with excellent style and humor by first-time actress Ashley Maldonado. Professional actresses, with the exception of the Jonathan’s mother — that’s his real mom — play the boys’ mothers. For the scenes shot in Beverly Hills, a couple of beginner actresses were cast in the parts of Nikki (Jessica Steinbaum) and Jade (Laura Cellner).
A good example of how the kids themselves actually wrote much of the script is a scene at the end, where they’re trying to get back to South-Central, they’re tired, they’re beat; they finally get back, and they’re walking in the street and they run into some gangbangers.
“The way I wrote it,” says Clark, “was, as they walk, the [gangbanger] says, ‘Where you from?’ And I wrote it so Kico says, ‘Fuck you.’ And then the gangbangers just see these kids, who they could just kill, having that much balls, and they just let ’em pass and walk on.
“So when we get ready to do this scene, Kico says, ‘I can’t say “Fuck you.” I wouldn’t say that.’ [The gangbanger] says, ‘Where you from?’ And Kico says, ‘Nowhere,’ and walks on. I said, ‘Kico, I want you to say “Fuck you,” ’ and he said, ‘No, I’m not gonna say it, ’cause I wouldn’t say that, because they’d kill us.’ ”
“Yeah,” says Kico, “because how would we say ‘Fuck you’ when we know what goes on down there? That’s why I’m like, ‘I’m nowhere.’ He’s [the gangbanger] like, ‘Why do you wear your shit all tight?’ It’s like, ‘Oh, because we don’t give a fuck what you think.’ That I will say, I always say that. But not ‘Fuck you.’ ”
In their own not-so-peculiar way, the particular bunch of kids Clark fortuitously happened upon turned out be a real go-getter typa crew. In their spare time — when they’re not out skating — they’ve got a band together, the Revolts, a few rehearsals of which are highlighted in Wassup Rockers. It’s full-on raging punk rock, and hey, they’re good. Eddie the drummer in particular is a blast-beat demon, Porky’s a quick and adept bassist, and shirtless Jonathan handles the Cookie Monster lead vocals.
“Well, yeah,” says Jonathan, shyly, “we hadn’t practiced for a year, but right now we’re really getting into it again, and we’re starting to get everything together. I don’t know by when we are gonna be playing, but . . .”
Punk rock was blasted constantly in the car during Clark’s year of hanging out with the kids, and they would make sample CDs; all the bands on the film’s soundtrack — except for Defiance — including their own band and South Central Riot Squad, the Remains, the Retaliats and Moral Decay, are neighborhood bands the boys turned Clark onto, what he calls “Latino ghetto punk rock.”
What got these guys into skating and punk rock? Were there other kids at school into all that?
“Yeah, it’s big over there,” says Kico, “but like we’re the ones who usually kicked it out together, like all seven of us. But like there are other skaters now.”
Jonathan adds, “Like before, everybody used to wear baggies over there . . .”
Did you ever wear baggy clothes?
“Yeah, I was starting to, but then my brother started listening to music, to like the Ramones or the Misfits, so that was always in my house; I would listen to it all the time, and I started getting into it. And then, I was into skating already, and then I started wearing tight pants with small shirts.”
Can you guys actually skate in the streets in a big bunch like that? Without getting mowed down?
“Yeah. That’s what we always do,” says Jonathan.
“We always get chased off the side, because we never really skate the spot,” says Kico. “Like when we go to private properties, we don’t really skate that way, ’cause we always big, like 10 or seven, like it’s a big bunch. I’ve been doing it for five years already. Now a lot of kids are into that.”
The mind churns a bit savoring the impact this film’s going to have in the hood. If a lot of different kinds of people get to see it, these skater dudes could end up being influential figures. But they’ll have to deal with some lifestyle changes too, because they’re going to have at least semifamous faces. That might cause problems.
“We don’t know about that yet,” says Kico.
You know, envy and jealousy, etc.
“Oh, we already got that,” Kico says. “People don’t like us, and they’re always talking shit about us because, I don’t know, we just skaters, and then they always talk shit about us, our girlfriends and everything; we had a skating team and we’d always be like the best out of everybody. Then they know that we did a movie now, and they think we’re all fuckin’ conceited now, think we’re all the shit now . . . They just talk shit all the time.”