A Bronx native is trying to subtly change the negative stereotype of the Bronx through film. The results: Good N’ Screwed.
Screenwriter and actress, Joanna Bonaro, who is known for her roles in Law and Order: SVU among other flicks, wrote the comedy series in 2015 and dedicated it to her mother, Grace, who passed away in 2016.
After she passed away, Bonaro started filming the show’s pilot.
“We (my sister and I) had just come from the cemetery for the first time, St. Raymond’s Cemetery,” said Bonaro. “We were going to go to Patricia’s, and we were walking around looking at my old neighborhood, so to speak, and we passed a cigar store (Avenue Cigar Lounge).”
“We had a cigar store scene and we were looking for a cigar store to film in,” Bonaro continued. “The owner said come inside and we started to talk and it was like being home. Dominick Principato (the owner) he offered the store for free and I just thought it was mom coming down and helping us.”
The pilot for the show debuted in New York City on Friday, December 8 in the American Filmatic Awards at St. Francis College.
Some of the main scenes in the show takes place in locations Joanna was familiar with growing up, like the cigar shop on Morris Park Avenue.
While not all of the scenes are in the Bronx and the show is not about the Bronx or even about New York City, the subtle exposure of the borough was included for good reason.
“I’m very proud of coming from the Bronx but sometimes it wasn’t easy saying I grew up in the Bronx because people have this rather tainted viewpoint about it sometimes,” Bonaro explained.
“For me to represent what I consider my borough, for me to be able to show locations around the Bronx, and just tell the story about how I got the site just shows what wonderful people live there.”
The plot of the show revolves around the main character, Nina, who is also played by Bonaro, trying to find love after filing for divorce.
Nina is a middle aged woman who soon realizes the ‘love game’ is not the same as it was when she was younger.
The show features different love scenarios that play out through other middle aged woman, and even through Nina’s teenage daughter, Mia Monte, who shows the disparity of love and relationships at a younger age.
Bonaro is not the only member of the ensemble with ties to the Bronx, however.
Anna Whitty, who plays Mia Monte, is actually the daughter of Bonaro’s best friend from Christopher Columbus High School.
Another actor, Warren Bub, who plays Father Anthony, the priest Nina develops a crush on, is also a Throggs Neck native.
“A lot of times the Bronx gets a bad rap and is forgotten about,” remarked Bub about filming in the area. “Everything is either done in Queens, Manhattan or Brooklyn and the Bronx seems to get pushed out. I love that more stuff is coming back to the Bronx.”
The pilot has been pitched to various streaming websites like Netflix and Hulu. Bonaro could only confirm there was interest in the piece.