Celebrity Interview & Review: Joseph Nasser Talks the Challenges and Rewards of Making Amber Alert

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"Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway" the second Amber Alert film from producer Joseph Nasser, presents a harrowing, compelling drama that includes the back story of the child alert system used to locate kidnapped or stolen children.

 

"Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway" stars Tom Berenger, Torri Higginson, Britt McKillip, Genevieve Buechner, Nicole Oliver, Chilton Crane, Jessica Parker Kennedy and Alexander Mendeluk. "Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway" was directed by George Mendeluk and written by Luis Cruz, Jack Nasser and Joseph Nasser.

"Amber Alert" begins with Larsen, played by Berenger, an ex-con, on the verge of a psychological breakdown. Trying, momentarily, to get something going on, it just doesn't work out. Given over to his life of crime, Larsen makes a final desperate at and reconciling with his ex-wife in the hopes of seeing his daughter. This also fails which sends the despondent, drunk and violent Larsen to a place where he can park and sleep.

What follows is every parent's nightmare, a sociopath ex-con, on the loose and needing money and a new vehicle he abducts the first teen he sees, a second teen stumbles on the scene and she too is abducted.

The film picks up here are the parents are notified their children have been kidnapped. The genuineness of the terror played by Nicole Oliver and Chilton Crane, was a high point in this dark film. The premise is based on Amber Hagerman, an abduction that went bad and she did not come home.

Having the opportunity to interview the Joseph Nasser, the producer and  writer of "Amber Alert" below is our interview, in part.

Janet Walker: Hello Joseph How are you?

Joseph Nasser: Doing well, thank you.

JN: Are you in Los Angeles?

JW: No, no  . . I'm in New York

JN: Oh . . my  hometown.

JW: So congratulations on the film. The story is clearly compelling and every parent's worst nightmare often without the happy ending. So what drew you to this project?

JN:  Thank you.  Well exactly that. Basically, I met with Donna Morris, Donna is the mother of Amber Hagerman. Amber is the child that was kidnapped and murder and the bill was named after her The Amber Alert.  After meeting this women and reached out to her and asked her if there was anything I could do to spread the word about the amber alert and how it works and I was happy to and so I basically decided to make this movie. 

If you watch the movie, you will understand what the general public will understand what to do or not to do if there is an amber alert. And if you are in law enforcement officer would understand what to do or not to do, sort of what the pre-requisites to issue an amber alert or not.

JW: I noticed there were some scenes in the film, were you weren't sure if any ne would follow through on they would get involved. I thought that was interesting. What were some of the challenges you faced in making of the film?

JN:  Well, one of the things I kind of lead actress were a little overwhelmed by the acting, by Tom Berenger. So one of the challenges was to calm them down, everything is fine, were here we have ice cold lemonade. That was relatively challenging and also of course, then you have the authenticity in a dramatic story and so it's got to be authentic you can't just have a amber alert when someone goes missing there are some pre-requisites.

From a writers point of view, prerequisites were there, legitimate, when a cop walk to the department there's are pre-requisites, the guidelines, etc. etc. because of that the actors had to be

JW: You think about Tom Berenger, I'd like to talk a little more about casting later, let's talk a little about character development. When you were writing your kidnapper were you planning on Tom Berenger? Was he your first choice?

JN: I've known tom and worked with him on different films. And He and I were basically having cocktails and he said basically he wanted to play a bad guy and then I said I'm really working on this film which is based on an Amber Alert and I hoping this film bridges and a bad guy kidnaps them and he said "that's sounds perfect. I really want to play this bad guy."

I sat down at the computer I start reading through who the characters are and indeed tom's face keep popping up in my head as I was typing away.

JW: How long did it take to pull everyone together?

JN: From the beginning of the project to the end, it took about a year. The financing aspect is not as consuming as writing the screenplay.  Financing is always the hardest part. I financed it myself. This is my second amber alert film. The first was about amber herself and how she died and her mother, who basically lobbied the president to make the amber alert go national. I already had my feet wet in the subject matter and reached out to the sponsors of that movie.

JW: If you could narrow the moments down in the film to one memorable moment, what would it be?

JN: Well, I got to say, I was speaking to Amber's mother and she said she looks up in the sky after a successful amber Alert retrieval and thinks of her daughter and says "we've done it again.

"Amber Alert "starring Tom Berenger and directed by Joseph Nasser is out on DVD, VOD and other streaming platforms August 31, 2014.

To receive Amber Alerts on your telephone or find out how the Amber Alert systems works: Sign up at www.missingkids.com/AmberSignUp.

For information about how AMBER Alerts are distributed to cell phones visit www.missingkids.com/AMBER/WEA.

 

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