The original fake news story! Orson Welles’ famous 1938 “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast has resurfaced — with a twist. The comedy Brave New Jersey recreates the hoax and, like in real life, the small town community actually believe that aliens are invading the U.S.
Sam Jaeger, who plays Paul Davison in the Jody Lambert-directed film, listened to the original audio before shooting began.
“It’s interesting — there’s so much information out there now that it’s so hard to avoid,” Jaeger, 40, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “And what I like about the movie is that it’s a simpler time. And I mean that in the best sense. Not that it was an easier time, but I like a movie that takes its time, slows us down, transports us in a way. Because what we really want right now, at least for myself, is I want to be transported from all the complications of today — politically and how much we work in society today. Going into a theater and watching something like Brave New Jersey helps to slow us down.”
Paul and his neighbors all react differently to the fear that extraterrestrial life is taking over. Some act carelessly while others rediscover their faith or show courage.
For Jaeger, he knows exactly how he’d spend his last night on Earth. “If I had one more night to live I’d eat nothing but Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, drink a good Whiskey and sit on the back porch and watch my kids just go crazy in the backyard. That would probably be it,” the Parenthood alum adds to Us. “And that’s what’s so sweet about Brave New Jersey. Watching people at the actual end of their lives and seeing what’s important. It really comes down to what people regret the most is not spending time with their loved ones. Their work [isn’t] nearly as important as the relationships they build. So, yeah, I think I’d spend my last moments with as much family as possible laughing and crying and celebrating as much as we could.”
For more, read the rest of his Q&A below:
US: How would you describe your character?
SJ: He’s the most successful man in town, which is funny because it’s a pretty small town so it doesn’t take much to have a lot of money here. I think he carries himself as kind of a savior. He’s a little smug, a little self-centered and what’s amazing about this story is that we see all these people unravel and their true natures show when the whole community believe that there are aliens attacking this small town in New Jersey.
US: Did any of your family members actually listen to the broadcast in real time?
SJ: I don’t think so. I think what is interesting about Brave New Jersey is that the reason people were so paranoid is that they used the name of a real town in New Jersey. And so communities around that town were really on edge that night.
US: Are you more drawn to stories that are based on real events?
SJ: Yeah, what I like about events like Brave New Jersey is that you can’t write this stuff. Even a lot of the stories in Brave New Jersey is taken from real accounts of the event and truth is stranger than fiction. You get to see all of these people react in ways that are hard to believe but the fact that a lot of it really happened just makes it all the more interesting.
It’s the nuances of those stories that are so fascinating. And the more detail and the more we can bring to life as a team when we are making movies the better. And thankfully Brave New Jersey really rests on the characters and how these people behave in this set of strange, bizarre and extraordinary circumstances.
Brave New Jersey also stars Anna Camp, Tony Hale and Heather Burns. It’s in theaters and on demand now.