On the Set: Ricky Greenwood's Arresting Feature 'Dirty Cops'

On the Set: Ricky Greenwood's Arresting Feature 'Dirty Cops'

Digital Playground and director Ricky Greenwood are getting down and dirty with “Dirty Cops,” a police drama featuring Jennifer White as the corrupt Detective Harris, who is in cahoots with criminal baddie Gibbs, played by Scott Nails.

Working to take Harris down are good cop Bishop, portrayed by Nicole Kitt; her straight-laced colleague (Alex Jones); DA Hopkins (Isiah Maxwell); and Penny Barber as Police Captain Warren. Supporting cast members on both sides of the law include Connie Perignon, Xwife Karen and more.

XBIZ went on set for the penultimate shooting day, in a parking lot and multi-set warehouse. Several police cruisers and an ambulance were brought in, fully operational and ready for action, such as when Jones and Kitt tail White in their vehicle after she floors it leaving the station.

Between the vehicles and the costumes, Greenwood wanted to nail the gritty undertones and realism of a police drama, rather than the more parody-style look of typical cop-themed porn fare.

“There is so much attention to detail that goes into every aspect of the set,” Kitt offers, on a brief coffee break and decked out in her cop gear. “From the art department to the uniforms themselves, done by Inka Winters. Everything is very authentic.

“Working with those tools and under Ricky’s guidance has been absolutely amazing,” adds Kitt, who is the only performer ever to have earned the Best Actress laurel at both the XBIZ Europas in Amsterdam and the XBIZ Awards in LA.

“As you can tell, he has a vision in mind,” Kitt enthuses. “Even just being able to see what little I can from behind the camera, it is absolutely amazing. This is one of those experiences that I think will be a milestone in my career.”

Nearby, tending to the ensemble cast’s wardrobe, Inka Winter echoes Kitt’s assessment.

“Ricky and I wanted to emphasize the ‘authority figure’ that a cop represents, and evoke the fetish about women, cops and uniforms,” Winter says. “That only works if the uniforms are realistic.”

As the robust crew sets up for the next shot, with veterans like Billy Visual, David Lord and Matty on tap, XBIZ sits down with Greenwood, whose eyes are agleam with the light of editing screens.

“This film is a little bit different,” he says. “When we came in with Digital Playground, we wanted to do something with action — but we didn’t want to do the same thing over and over. So we tried to play with all the genres. We did a military and action flick, ‘Machine Gunner.’ And now we are doing a cop movie, but more about the drama inside the station, with corruption and detective work.”

Greenwood says he drew upon movies like “Pride and Glory” with Edward Norton for the more serious components and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for the more light-hearted fare, so the feature would have a balanced tone.

“It’s not really a buddy cop movie,” Greenwood underscores. “That was the obvious choice, and we tried to stay away from the expected. It’s more like suspense.”

Casting-wise, he simply chose people he wanted to work with. Greenwood has shot Alex Jones, Scott Nails and Isiah Maxwell before, but this was his first time doing a feature with Jennifer White and Nicole Kitt.

“It’s very fun working with them,” he says. “Nicole and Jennifer are really, really into their characters, and they really wanted to do a great job. Everybody cared. I think it was Jennifer’s first time with a big role in a feature, so she took it very seriously.”

Greenwood says he also appreciates working with parent company Aylo, noting that the Aylo team is very involved with the product and takes care of the people involved.

“Not just the actors, but the crew too,” he says. “They make sure everybody is OK and that we have what we need to do it: quality cast, crew and people. They really have a vision, and they’re capable of helping you take your project to another level. That’s what is fun with Aylo.”

Jones shoots a scene with Kitt, in which the two tail White in their police cruiser, wondering what she is up to. Afterward, Jones folds his arms and leans against a brick wall to offer his view on the film.

“It’s so much fun,” he says. “This is the thing I strive for the most in this industry: something that showcases my acting.

“My character is still a little bit of a rookie, but gunning for detective,” Jones explains. “I am Officer Bishop’s partner. We’re noticing some shady shit going on in the precinct, and we are following a lead on a dirty cop who’s working amongst us, played by Jennifer White.

“We were tailing her, and we’re coming up on Gibbs, the guy that she’s protecting,” he continues. “He is the big bad guy that we’ve been chasing this entire time. A fellow officer went missing while he was investigating Gibbs, so we know something happened with Gibbs.”

He reflects on the sex scenes they have shot during the past week, one of which involved him and Kitt in an interrogation room.

“That was me being a creep before going home, wanting to get some,” Jones says. “Another sex scene happened when we went to talk to the captain, played by Penny Barber, to convince her about this investigation. She needed some persuading too and the DA, Isiah Maxwell, got in on the action as well.”

Meanwhile back in the break room, the DA himself, Isiah Maxwell, has just finished getting dapper. With his signature Cheshire Cat smile, he describes his role.

“I have a hunch that there’s a little corruption going on, but I can’t figure it out,” he says. “And I’m just kind of navigating through who I can, to find out who the dirty cops are. Nicole Kitt is one of the good ones, so I go to her and Jones for help — and I find help in more ways than one, which was a real energetic scene between us and Penny Barber. We had to see if they were team players and make sure we were all on the same side. After, we were like, ‘OK, we can trust them.’ We weren’t checking for a wire or anything, we were playing the trust game.

“I like shooting for Ricky, because he always pays attention to details, and it’s good to see passion in action,” Maxwell adds. “I had a great time on the set.”

The other cast members express similar delight over the project and working for Greenwood.

“Shooting for Ricky is incredible and I love every second of it,” affirms White. “I love the script; I think it’s fantastic. The storyline is pretty awesome too, I’m really into it.”

With cuffs dangling on her hips, White practices lines with Nails as the nefarious Gibbs. He looks very much the part of a shady, most definitely up-to-no-good criminal. Once the two feel confident in their rehearsal, White steps aside to share her take on the shoot.

“I play Detective Harris and basically, I try to convince everybody that I’m a good cop,” she says. “But in reality, I’m a mole working for the criminal, Gibbs.

“To get in character, I just start off by going over the lines and memorizing those,” she explains. “After that, I kind of take it line by line and see: How would I say this? How would I emote this, exactly? Today is my only sex scene. It’s with Scott Nails, who plays Gibbs. We get to fuck in a cop car. Tomorrow there’s an action scene where I get shot and there’s fake blood!”

The set for that scene is already prepped, filled with boxes, guns and exactly the kind of “deal ready to go terribly wrong” vibe audiences would imagine for such a showdown.

Ready for another interview round, Kitt shares how she channeled her inner “good cop.”

“I got into the role by watching ‘Scandal,’” she reveals. “There is a character named Olivia Pope, played by Carrie Washington. She’s a white hat; she’s all for justice. She is a go-getter type of person, aggressive, but at the same time she has feminine charm. I also watched ‘SWAT’ and another series, ‘The Rookie,’ which I think is where my character’s name, Officer Bishop, came from. I studied her and how she behaved.”

Kitt describes the sex scene she shot with Jones, on her first day on the set, as “amazing.” Despite it taking place on top of a hard metal table in the interrogation room, she says, it got her excited.

“It’s hot, it’s a really sexy scene,” she shares. “But we get busted by Detective Harris, AKA Jennifer White, who catches us in the act and is trying to use it against us. And then I did a foursome yesterday with Alex Jones, myself, Isiah Maxwell and Penny Barber.”

Barber herself sidles up at that moment, channeling the dominatrix vibes she projects as Captain Warren — something that seems to come quite naturally to her.

“I am the really sweet, angelic, kind and gentle police chief who does a lot of outreach to at-risk kids,” she laughs.

“She’s actually horrible,” she then admits. “I’ve never yelled so much on set in my life! As far as the corruption being investigated for this movie, I’m definitely part of the problem, creating a safe haven for the dirty cops, even if I’m not directly involved in the crime. She’s probably not doing anything herself, but I wouldn’t want her in charge in real life.”

Barber says she especially enjoys the shooting process with Greenwood, with whom she has worked for a long time.

“He passed me this role because he knows I’m good at yelling!” she reveals. “I just go into full ‘Mom’ mode, let them know how it’s going to be.”

Soon it is time for the finale. It takes place after the fight being shot the next day, but needs to be shot today while they have the vehicles on set.

Extras, made up to look bloodied and bruised, are carried in on stretchers, lights shining every which way as the entire cast converges for the big ending scene. White is hauled off in cuffs as the DA and captain celebrate the heroics of Kitt and Jones, while Greenwood watches the camera monitor to ensure all the best angles are being captured.

“It’s very fun to see the investment the actors have in this movie,” the director says. “When I started in the business a few years ago, trying to do features, some people would take it seriously but some people were like, ‘Why are we doing this? Can’t we just do gonzo scenes?’ Now people are more and more interested in doing these fun movies.”

Indeed, based on the glimpses afforded by XBIZ’s set visit, “Dirty Cops” promises to be good, dirty fun — not to mention quite arresting.

Photos courtesy of MAD Creativity and Digital Playground.

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