If Jesus’s apostles were from Brooklyn, the Bible would have been for mature audiences only. Then again, there would also be a lot more passages about friendship.
That’s the gist of Jason Cusato’s “Apostles of Park Slope,” the director’s latest film premiering next week at the Brooklyn Lyceum from Jan. 9-16.
Filmed almost entirely in his native Park Slope, Cusato’s Apostles could probably kick Peter, Paul, Matthew and Mark’s asses with a beer in one hand and a fifth of Scotch in the other. That’s because many of them are based on the pre-gentrification Brooklynites with whom Cusato grew up.
The tale behind “Apostles” is right out of Cusato’s life as well.
“A couple of years back, two friends of mine lost their mother and father within hours of each other,” Cusato remembered. “We banded together and took them out to dinner at Two Toms and had an awesome time. It was the first time that I saw my friend Mike smile.”
What made the night even more memorable was that the foul-mouthed free-for-all took place right in front of the Catholic priest who had presided over one of the funerals.
“He was laid back and drinking Scotch and he didn’t mind that we were ripping on him the whole night,” said Cusato, who has made seven movies with his production company, Park Slope Films. “I thought, ‘Imagine if this guy had been a straight holy roller?’”
That thought soon became the script for “Apostles,” which was written by Cusato and Jennifer Kalison.
In the film retelling, Mike loses his mother, so his pals Chief, Shorty, Magoo, Tiny, King-Filth, Moe and six others cheer him up with a night at Two Toms, the legendary Third Avenue pork chop house. Also accepting an invitation is a more straight-laced version of that priest, who is desperately trying to bring people back to his church.
Most of the filming took place at the restaurant — on Sunday and Monday nights when it’s closed.
After the eight-day run at the Lyceum, Cusato, a proud lapsed Catholic, said he’ll send his “Apostles” on to the film festival circuit to preach about his own view on friendship — something he learned a lot about during filming.
“There were so many passionate people that came on board and they worked their hearts out,” he said. “Sometimes you feel like you’re all alone in these projects then you meet people who are willing to sacrifice whatever they can to help you.”
If that’s not friendship, we don’t know what is.
“Apostles of Park Slope” at the Brooklyn Lyceum [227 Fourth Ave. between President and Union streets in Park Slope, (718) 857-4816], Jan. 9-16. Tickets are $10 in advance ($12 at the door). For info, visit www.apostlesofparkslope.com.