The Story Behind The Hank Hopkins Chronicles
Like me, Tony Germinario is a father of three daughters.
His are all in their teenage years – 17, 15 and 13 – while mine are 10, eight and six respectively.
It means I can live in denial for a little while longer yet – while Tony lives in the eye of the hurricane.
It’s from this glorious reality that propelled Tony, a New Jersey-based filmmaker, to create The Hank Hopkins Chronicles, a darkly humorous take on teen-years fatherhood loosely based on his own experiences.
“Hank is a low-key guy with an overactive imagination, so we see what’s going on in his head verses reality,” Tony says.
“I’m a very easygoing, pretty happy guy but my films tend to be on the darker side; I guess because that’s where I explore my imagination,” Tony says. “So I started thinking about all the things that are in my head that no one knows about. I thought it would be funny to show the juxtaposition between those two things and how they could manifest on film.”
The first episode (“No Dating”) – starring Jeff Burnet, whom Tony met while promoting his 2017 film Bad Frank, as Hank – was shot last August. The plan was to film additional episodes around about now and release them all later this year – but, of course, everything changed with COVID-19.
“We figured, let’s release the first episode now because we think everyone can use a laugh or a break. We quickly pivoted with the quarantine situation in that we’ve written a few episodes that will come out over the next month or two tailored around social distancing and what’s happening with Hank and his family. Hopefully it will help lighten the load a little bit when people are stuck in their homes.”
Burnet aside, the cast comprises people who have worked with Tony over the years: Lynn Mancinelli, who plays the mother, Carol, has been alongside Tony on every project he’s done and co-directed “No Dating”; while Dan Robertson, who plays Tommy the boyfriend, has been a PA to Tony on previous films. Grace, the daughter, is played by Sofia Solimando who also happens to be Dan’s girlfriend.
Hopefully it will help lighten the load a little bit when people are stuck in their homes…
“No Dating” was shot entirely in one day – “Although months later I was still finding blood splatter in interesting places in my kitchen” – and was edited for a month or so afterwards while Tony, who still holds down a regular job, could fit it in.
Tony says the series is reflective of what being a dad means to him. “I would do anything to protect my daughters which is why Hank is a little psycho at times in how he thinks about things. But also, just in filming it as with my other films, I’m hoping to set a path for my kids that you should never let anything stand in your way. If you want something bad enough and work hard enough, you can always accomplish your goals.
“I really enjoy entertaining people and making people think, so if I can set an example for my girls, then it’s a good day.”