Norristown’s Jonathan Cross Dishes on His Latest Film

The Norristown resident offers insight into the acting and filmmaking process and discusses his part-time endeavors.

During his 74 years on this planet, Jonathan Cross has learned a lot about redemption, the impact of choices made and the need to believe in something bigger than himself. Those are the themes of his latest film, The Script, which he’s been working on for more than two years. It’s the fifth cinematic effort for the Norristown native, and Cross is hoping it will be ready by the end of the year. Directing and starring in the movie, Cross plays Eddie Cruz, an actor returning to the area after failing to hit it big in Los Angeles.

MLT: How would you describe your new film?

JC: The message of The Script is that if you truly believe in something and really don’t quit, you most likely are going to get where you want to go.”

MLT: You’ve led a pretty interesting life. It’s almost like you’re a character from one of your movies.

JC: I hustled some pool and was pretty good at the game. I came from an area where there was a lot of gambling. I kept myself together. I had good parents. I played the horses and the numbers in Norristown and played some cards. But I didn’t get consumed to the point where it became a tragedy. I’ve had a good life and good experiences.

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MLT: How did you get involved in filmmaking?

JC: In 1999, I wrote my first screenplay, based on a book I wrote, Cry of the Drummer. The movie was made, and it was on Amazon for a while. I also sold a lot of copies myself.

MLT: Haven’t you already written a script about someone who left his home, only find his way back?

JC: In 2008, I did Goodbye Charlie Damien. It was mostly shot in Bridgeport. It’s about a guy who left town and went to Vegas. He met up with some bad circumstances and came back. But he gets involved in some bad circumstances again, so he goes back to his roots in the church.

Jonathan Cross
Jonathan Cross. Courtesy Tessa Marie Images

MLT: That’s a theme you’ve explored a lot.

JC: I just seem to gravitate toward that. Maybe it has something to do with my own life and my own beliefs in Christianity. As my life goes on, I’ve become more spiritual.

MLT: Where do you get your funding?

JC: I fund most of these movies myself. I’m able to keep on a low budget and get a lot of cooperation. People lend locations; actors volunteer.

MLT: What do you do when you aren’t making your movies?

JC: I have a part-time job four afternoons a week, driving a van for children with learning disabilities. I also play drums and get together with a guitar player friend and arrange things. Eventually, I want to quit my part-time job and do more music.

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MLT: What have you learned about your life from making movies?

JC: No matter who’s watching, everybody is looking for something that’s missing and a certain kind of peace. I think we’re born with that. I want to give people an example of how life can be that’s different than what’s being projected on TV and the big screen.

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