A Q & A with Smokin’ Aces 2 director P.J. Pesce

In 2006’s Smokin’ Aces, Jeremy Piven plays a drug addicted informant who is placed in the custody of a FBI agent (Ryan Reynolds) that must protect him from a gang of would-be assassins. Directed by Joe Carnahan (Narc), its over-the-top violence and pulp friction turned the film into a cult hit. Produced by Carnahan, its direct-to-DVD sequel, Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball, doesn’t have the same star power. But it retains the original’s obsession with dirt bag killers that like to show off their high-powered ammunitions. Director P.J. Pesce recently spoke about making the movie, which arrives in stores tomorrow in both Blu-ray and DVD editions.

When producer Joe Carnahan told you to do whatever you wanted with Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassin’s Ball, did you literally say, “Far fucking out”?
I think that is a precise quote. I was just doing another interview and explaining how I became involved in the project. I got a call to go meet with Joe and after a few misfires and going to a café that Joe didn’t show up at, he called me personally and said, “Why don’t you come up to my house.” I said, “That’s fine but you have to feed me.” He was totally agreeable and his then-girlfriend and now-fiancée had made a beautiful chicken and wine dinner. We had that and a couple of bourbons and a cigar and a 20-minute meeting turned into three hours. We found that we had similar backgrounds and I really believe that after that first meeting, he gave me so much support and trust that it inspired me to really push myself visually and in terms of the storytelling. I’m really proud of all the performances, too. It was great to have that support.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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