On location in Bayonne

'Crabs in a Bucket' was shot in town

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Can anyone recognize this bar? Let BCN know.
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Bruce Dern and director Paolo Pilladi
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Can anyone recognize this bar? Let BCN know.
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Bruce Dern and director Paolo Pilladi

At the end of September, production began for an independent comedy “Crabs in a Bucket.” The entire movie is being filmed in Bayonne.

The Bayonne Community News caught up with producer Greg Lingo to see how things have been going on the set.

“Bayonne has been great,” Lingo said. “Everyone has been incredibly welcoming, and we’ve met plenty of nice people. Everyone we’ve worked with has been really receptive, including the mayor’s office, the police department, and the various bars we’ve worked with.

He said that Bayonne served as an ideal stand-in for Upper Darby, a suburb that borders the west side of Philadelphia. Both are tight-knit communities with their own characters and identities, just outside big cities.

Stars in town

The film includes a cast of well-known stars, including Jeremy Piven, known for his role as Ari Gold in Entourage; Taryn Manning, of Orange is the New Black; Zach McGowan, of Shameless, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The 100; – Jamie Kennedy of the Scream film series; and Bruce Dern, known for his Oscar-nominated performance in Nebraska, among countless other starring roles over a career of several decades

This isn’t the only movie with ties to Bayonne that McGowan and Manning appeared in together. McGowan starred in the 2019 biopic The Brawler as Chuck Wepner, alongside Manning, who played the role of Chuck’s first wife, Phylis.

According to Lingo, the writers got the name Crabs in a Bucket from what’s known colloquially as “crab mentality.” When crabs are placed in a bucket, the ones at the top could easily climb out, if not for other crabs that cling to it and keep it trapped. The phenomenon ensures a collective demise for all the crabs in the bucket.

The human analogy is preventing one group member from outperforming the others, out of envy or spite. It can be summed up as, “if I can’t have it, neither can you.”

Bayonne residents can be on the lookout for their favorite watering hole making the big screen. Many of the scenes will be shot in Bayonne bars that will have makeovers to resemble those owned by Irish families in Upper Darby.

The scoop so far

The story centers around a real estate developer, Mick [Piven], who returns to his childhood neighborhood to attend his mother’s wake, only to discover that a bar was willed to him.

Mick’s hometown and the relatives he reunited with soon serve as the “bucket,” after a series of events.

Mick finds himself in a dilemma. His boss pressures him to demolish the watering hole that was passed onto him to gentrify the area.

Mick’s family members pressure him to give the bar at a higher priority than his boss’s wishes.

“We have a great story, and an even greater cast,” Lingo said. “This is a group that’s never worked together before, and they’ve all brought out the strengths in one another in an exceptional manner.”

Mayor Jimmy Davis said he was excited to see the town on the silver screen.

“We would like to welcome the production to Bayonne, and are happy that our city was able to provide authentic settings for ‘Crabs in a Bucket,’” he said.

The film is directed by Paolo Pilladi from a script he cowrote with Greg Lingo. It’s the second movie that Pilladi has directed.

The film is being produced by Future Proof Films, Cornell Ventures, and Jars Media Group. The producers are Rob Simmons, DJ Dodd, and Ante Novakovic.

Updates on the film will be available on social media, or at crabsinabucketfilm.com.

For updates on this and more stories check hudsonreporter.com or follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mike Montemarano can be reached at mikem@hudsonreporter.com.