Amid the hoopla surrounding the release of the blockbuster “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” last weekend, one local resident had cause to be especially excited, even though she had already seen the film — which grossed $92 million in its first three days.
Jackie Xerri was going to be part of the action. Xerri, a junior at Oceanside High School and a filmmaker herself, had been tapped by Sony Pictures to prescreen the movie, interview the stars and offer her review for WABC-TV. She appeared on “Eyewitness News” last Friday, the day the movie was officially released.
“It was crazy,” she said. “It was such a big opportunity.”
In the clip, Xerri (pronounced zerry) chatted with Emma Stone, who plays Gwen Stacy. Xerri commented on Stone’s ever-changing hairstyles and asked whether it’s true that “blondes have more fun.” WABC-TV Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon commented on how relaxed Xerri was with the spotlight on her. “She really brought it,” Kenyon said.
“I may have looked relaxed, but I was very nervous,” Xerri said.
In addition to Stone, Xerri interviewed all of the movie’s main players, including Andrew Garfield, who plays Spider-Man, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan, as well as director Marc Webb.
In her online review, which can be found at abclocal.go.com, Xerri gave the film 4½ out of 5 stars. She commented on everything from the length of the movie (142 minutes) to the love scenes to the visuals.
“I got a rush from the fantastic duo of Harry and Electro,” she wrote. “I actually may have liked them more than Peter and Gwen. Their evilness bounced off of each other, and their vibe was exciting. The music chosen also went very well with all of the dark and violent parts of the movie.”
Xerri was chosen to do the review after meeting Kenyon at the Locust Valley Film Festival in March, where Xerri, who has been making movies since she was in third grade, won awards for filmmaking for “Mint Chip” and “Victim of the Industry.” Kenyon was one of the festival’s judges and took a liking to Xerri. After he complimented her work, Xerri struck up a conversation and handed him her card.
“I actually chased him down outside the building,” she admitted.
Kenyon was impressed, and soon called Xerri to invite her to attend a private prescreening of “Spider-Man 2” in Manhattan and to return two days later to interview the stars. Xerri agreed immediately, and had second thoughts only briefly on the day she did the interviews.
“There were supposed to be two chairs, one for me and one for Sandy Kenyon,” she said. “But there was one chair, and Sandy said, “Go ahead.’ Then I heard Emma Smith’s voice from the other room.”
Xerri pulled herself together like a professional. “She did so well,” Kenyon wrote to her mother, Holly. “I really feel she has a very bright future in whatever she chooses to pursue.”
Jackie’s first love is making films, not reviewing them. She recruited her Oceanside friends to act in her early efforts. “We used to make music videos to Taylor Swift songs in my house,” she recalled. “My friends all kind of outgrew that, but I’m still making movies.”
She attended the New York Film Academy two summers ago, interned for the Long Island International Film Expo — which MovieMaker magazine called “one of the top 25 coolest film festivals in the world” — and was one of 10 New York students selected to take part in a prestigious program at Hofstra University called “Documenting Diversity” and funded by the executive producer/creator Phillip Rosenthal, best known for “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
She recently started her own little film business called JSX Films. But she isn’t closing any doors. “I hope to get another opportunity like this,” she said.