Rage and vengeance take physical form in picking off members of an L.A.P.D. unit – with mysteriously corrupted camera footage left behind, veteran officer Renee Lomito-Smith (played by Mary J. Blige) must hunt down a menacing cop-killer in the fight for justice.
“Body Cam” (of Paramount Picture’s and BET films) director, Malik Vittal is known for telling horror stories with a socially-conscious edge (such as in his debut drama, “Imperial Dreams”), and addresses racial discrimination, and manipulation of evidence in camera footage, while taking the audience on an intense thriller ride. Speaking with ShootOnline.com in a 2018 interview, Vitthal describes his film-making process, stating that “the challenge is to emotionally touch viewers, to engage them — all in the context of a horror film.”
Aligned with Vitthal’s vision is triple-threat actor David Zayas who takes on the role of Sergeant Kesper; Officer Renee’s compassionate watch commander. Combining his 15-years of experience as a legitimate former officer of the NYPD, with his numerous years of acting within film, television, and theater, Zayas brings an unmatched authenticity to his role and eerie film.
“I would describe [Body Cam] as a police story…that involves social issues and the supernatural – what can be better than that?” asks Zayas. “That fact that I’m a big fan of horror movies, and then also a big fan of cop movies, to me this was the perfect thing to do,” says Zayas when asked about his decision to take on his role.
When receiving the script, Zaya’s recalls immediately being intrigued by not only the storyline but by what Vitthal envisioned for the film.
“I truly decided to do [“Body Cam”] after I spoke to malik…. I saw how together he was in what he wanted to say; I trusted that and when I saw [the film] recently it exceeded my expectations in the way he wanted to tell this story in this genre – you’re going to see a lot of him in the future,” says Zayas.
Filmed in New Orleans, Zayas recalls shooting in the middle of the night which “help[ed] the ambiance of the movie” and undoubtedly upped the creepiness factor. Only Oscar-nominated and multi-Grammy award-winning castmate Mary J. Blige seemed ‘Just fine’ despite the spookiness onset according to Zayas.
“Working with Mary J. Blige was just a joy because when we worked she came in ready to work and prepared which just already tells me about her great work ethic and we realized why she’s where she’s at”, says Zayas. In between takes, Zayas also found the renowned ‘Queen of Soul’ to be “extremely nice and extremely supportive” stating he enjoyed working with her and would “do it as many times as [he] possibly can in the future.”
While looking forward to working with Mary J. Blige again sometime in the future, Zayas is also looking towards working the stage – virtually that is. On May 23rd, Zayas will be reprising his role as Edwin, for a virtual benefit reading of “Our Lady of 121st Street” with the original cast, which can be viewed from the comfort of your couch on The LAByrinth Theater Company’s website – a treat for on and off-broadway lovers alike.
While performing his lines via Zoom has become the surprising new format of showcasing media during the current pandemic, Zayas remains hopeful. “[Zoom] is a new experience but like with anything else you learn how to get good at it because its all we have right now, Zayas says before continuing; “I think that that experience is gonna’ be unique and so rewarding.”
Body Cam, starring Mary J. Blige, Nat Wolff, David Zayas, Anika Noni Rose, premieres on digital platforms (Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony PlayStation Video, FandangoNOW) for purchase on May 19th and is available for rent On Demand June 2nd from Paramount Home Entertainment. You can also check out Body Cam on DVD July 14th!