You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jarrett Schafer

10 Directors to Watch

Taking on the true story of a hero to millions is pressure enough for a first-time director. Getting inside the head of the man who killed him is a whole other story. But that’s the challenge Jarrett Schafer took on with his first feature, “Chapter 27,” a story of the days leading up to the 1980 assassination of John Lennon, told from the perspective of his killer, Mark David Chapman.

Born on an Air Force base in Germany but raised in the U.S., Schaefer studied filmic writing at USC. After graduating, he worked as an editor at Fade In magazine and as a videostore clerk while writing scripts and poetry in his spare time.

Like Chapman, Schaefer is an ardent fan of both the Beatles and J.D. Salinger’s novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” and says he began the script to try to understand “how someone could be inspired to kill anyone as a result of being exposed to this kind of beautiful art. It really bothered me, because Lennon and Salinger have always made me feel so much better, and so much less alone.”

The script took Schaefer four years to write, but once it was finished, the film came together quickly. With the help of producers Alexandra Milchan and Bob Salerno, Schaefer cast Jared Leto as Chapman and Lindsay Lohan as Jude, a fellow Lennon fanatic who befriends Chapman.

Says Salerno, “Writing the script and researching the events extensively gave Jarrett a deeper understanding of the material, and a comfort as a first time director to take more risks in the way he wanted to shoot this story.”

Pic was shot on location in New York last year. “I don’t have much to compare it to, but the challenges were daunting,” says Schaefer, who directed several sequences outside the Dakota, the site of Lennon’s assassination. “I had to go into a place that was very sensitive to our story, with trucks, a crew, and a limited amount of time. It wasn’t easy.”

“It was important to Jarrett that we didn’t glorify this event,” says Salerno. “He didn’t want to shoot any of the scenes with John Lennon at the Dakota out of respect for the residents that were there at the time John was killed, so all of that footage was shot separately at another location that we were able keep closed and controlled.”

Schaefer is currently developing several new feature ideas. His USC thesis script, “The Hidden Alice,” will be directed by helmer Bronwen Hughes (“Stander”).

“Jarrett is someone that I am sure will be most content to take on difficult subject matter in the future and find his own original way in,” adds Salerno.

Age: 27
Provenance: Landstuhl, Germany
Inspired by: “D.A. Pennebaker, because he makes great films about rock ‘n’ roll; ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ because it captured Beatlemania better than anything else; and ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ ”
Reps: Agent, Craig Kestel, William Morris; manager, Brand Mendelsohn, Industry Entertainment; attorney, Adam Kaller, Behr Abramson Kaller

More Film

  • Aquaman

    China Box Office: ‘Aquaman’ Sinks All Challengers With $94 Million Opening

    The decision to release “Aquaman” in China two weeks prior to its North American outing paid off handsomely. The DC Comics adaptation achieved a massive $94.1 million opening in three days, according to data from Asian entertainment consultancy Artisan Gateway. The early release meant that the film played against weak opposition – tired Hollywood and [...]

  • Alfonso Cuarón, Emmanuel Lubezki Discuss the

    Alfonso Cuarón Details 'Roma' Cinematography With 'Gravity' DP Emmanuel Lubezki

    As part of an overall push to bring Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” to awards season voters, Netflix’s “‘Roma’ Experience'” played host to guild and Academy members Sunday in Hollywood. The all-day event featured panels focused on the film’s crafts and an audio-visual installation akin to the streamer’s FYSee initiative for Emmy contenders, featuring costumes and art [...]

  • IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for

    IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for ‘On The Job’ Franchise

    Filipino director Erik Matti is known for his eclectic body of work that includes “Honor Thy Father” and “Seklusyon.” His 2013 effort, “On The Job” travelled widely and won several awards including two at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, and was nominated for an SACD Prize at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Matti is at [...]

  • Joan Chen attends the season premiere

    Joan Chen Talks Diversity in Hollywood, Welcomes #MeToo

    Chinese-American actress, writer and director Joan Chen says that she was flattered when Time magazine described her as the “Elizabeth Taylor of China.” When asked at an in-conversation event in Singapore on Saturday whether she paved the way for Chinese actresses to follow in Hollywood, Chen said, “We never go to work because we want [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • IFFAM Actress in Focus: Yao Chen

    IFFAM Actress in Focus: Yao Chen Talks Performing, Producing and Public Pressure

    Macao’s Actress in Focus is a woman who has trained as a boxer, likes British actors, especially Benedict Cumberbatch and Jeremy Irons, and is now setting out her stall as a producer. Yao Chen has built a career over 20 years thanks to TV shows including “My Own Swordsman,” and films including “If You Are [...]

  • Bradley Liew's 'Motel Acacia' Shoots After

    Cautionary Tale, 'Motel Acacia' Under Way After Four Years of Development

    Production has begun on Malaysian director Bradley Liew’s upscale horror film “Motel Acacia.” With a clearly topical message, the film features a hotel bed that eats immigrants. Actor, JC Santos called it: “A cautionary tale of what’s going to happen in the future.” Indonesian star, Nicholas Saputra said the he agreed to the role “because [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content