'Joe's Apartment': A story of sex, bugs and rock 'n' roll
July 24, 1996
Web posted at: 1:30 a.m. EDT
From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- MTV, the network that brought you the
show "Beavis and Butt-Head" and the dating game "Singled
Out," releases its first feature film Friday, based on one of
its quirky, surrealistic short features.
"Joe's Apartment," replete with New York location and
cockroach infestation, is headed to the silver screen as a
story filled with comedy, music, romance and bugs.
Although they may be the greasiest, ugliest bugs you've ever
seen, cockroaches are the heart of this film. Each of the
cast of thousands was endowed with a Brooklyn accent and a
falsetto singing voice, so they could sing their way through
the story of the Big City adventures of a Generation X'er
with 50,000 cockroaches as roommates.
"This film did change they way I view roaches," says the
movie's star, Jerry O'Connell. "I now view them as kinder,
more gentle, cleaner species than I had originally thought
they were. I mean, I really think this film is going to do
that for a lot of people."
O'Connell's change of heart wasn't shared by costar Megan
Ward, whose role as Joe's love interest, Lily, called for
romantic scenes often interrupted by his creepy roommates.
Ward actually acted with cockroach-sized rubber props, "but
they were heavy, and they were dirty," she says. "Do I get
points for that?"
A model of Ward was used for scenes in which real cockroaches
run across Lily's body. "They weren't running on my body,"
Computer generation created the special talking cockroaches
for the movie, who can also sing. The bugs belt out toe-
tapping tunes throughout "Joe's Apartment," from country to
surf music to a Busby Berkley musical number.
Ward found that acting opposite digitized bugs held
challenges beyond the repugnance factor. "You've got your
director off to the side, screaming things at you," she says,
like "'OK, it's getting larger now,'" or "'OK, now it's
spilling now, and you really like this.'"
Both stars found that upstaging a room full of bugs, real or
digitized, is impossible. "There was no doubt in my mind
that this film was about the roaches. They are the star of
the film," O'Connell says.
As the insects' indefatigable leader, Ralph Roach, says,
"They can stomp us, they can pop us, but they'll never, ever
stop us. And someday, the great H-bomb is going to drop, and
we'll have the whole planet to ourselves!"
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