Actors Jennifer Lefsyk, who plays Juliet, left, and John Mac Schnurr, who plays Romeo, star in the film “Romeo 3000,” which premieres Friday, Feb. 23. The film shot a number of scenes at Hillcrest Jephson Estate in Cazenovia. (courtesy Mad Angel Films)
It has been nearly three years since fair Juliet and her cyborg lover Romeo, trying to survive and find love in a post-apocalyptic world, pined for each other on the porch of the Hillcrest Jephson Estate in Cazenovia — and now, the resulting film, “Romeo 3000,” made by Utica-based Mad Angel Films, is set for its official premiere this Friday, Feb. 23, in Rome, N.Y.
“I’m very happy, proud and excited about how it turned out,” said Matthew A. Peters, director and co-writer of the movie. “A lot of people put a lot of hard work into the film and shows. It’s one of the larger-scale productions we’ve done — in terms of costumes, set pieces, and other things — and the final product shows all the love put into it.”
“Romeo 3000” is a sci-fi action film that takes the classic tale of “Romeo and Juliet” and “and spins it around into something fresh and new,” Peters said. Or, as he told the website b-movie.com, “The best way to describe it is Shakespeare meets Mad Max.”
“Romeo 3000” takes place in a post-apocalyptic/steampunk-type world in which Romeo, the last of his family, is a cyborg bent on revenge. As the opening narrative relates:
“This be the year 3000. The world has been enveloped within the flames of nuclear warfare, bringing with it a new dark age. In these times, technology can be a rare blessing, or curse, depending on its discovery and / or use. What is left of civilization, of humanity, has been reduced to numerous city states, each fighting to survive the wars between them, as well as from within. This tale takes place after a vile war between two Houses both like in dignity, in what is left of fair Verona. The House of Capulet has claimed victory and believes to have extinguished all within The House of Montague, yet one still lives. This be not the story of star-crossed lovers, but of Romeo, last of the Montague. A cyborg who seeks love, and revenge…”
“Basically, we butchered the hell out of Shakespeare,” co-writer and actor in the film Wayne W. Johnson said jokingly in 2015. “It’s telling the same story but in a very different way. … You’ll recognize the basic elements of the story, but a lot of different elements have also been added that a purist may not like. We just hope people approach it with an open mind.”
The crew spent two days filming scenes from the House of Capulet at Hillcrest Jephson Estate in August 2015, (followed by a ballroom scene filmed at the Landmark Theater in Syracuse).
Linda and Brian Osborne, owners of Hillcrest, said they were delighted to open their home to the production.
“I am so excited to see the finished product of this film. First and selfishly because our house will be featured, and secondly to see all this wonderful local talent on the big screen,” said Linda. “It was fun to watch them first-hand in action and I’ve gotten to know them as friends. I guess I’m drawn to creative minds and this group is beyond talented and creative.”
Most of the filming occurred in summer 2015, with some additions in 2016, Peters said. The it took another year for post-production editing, special effects and musical score.
The trailer for Romeo 3000 was released Jan. 26 on the Facebook pages for both Romeo 3000 and Mad Angel Films. It is also available to view on YouTube. Click here to watch the trailer.
The official premiere of the film is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 23 at the Rome Capitol Theatre in Rome, N.Y. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the movie begins at 8 p.m.
The next day, Saturday, Feb. 24, the film will be showed at The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Albany, also at 8 p.m.
Tickets are still available for both shows.
Peters said they hope to also have a showing of the film in Syracuse sometime in March and, although he did not realize there was a theater in Cazenovia, he may look into the possibility of a showing at the Catherine Cummings Theater as well.
Mad Angel has two more films coming out this year, including “Barely Coping,” about a boy dealing with the loss of his parents, which also shot some scenes at Hillcrest Jephson Estate in Cazenovia.
For more information about “Romeo 3000” and Mad Angel Films, visit their Facebook pages.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.