In an alternate universe Ben Jorgensen’s debut co-starring role alongside the legends Martin Sheen and Valerie Perrine in the 1995 tennis drama entitled, “The Break” was a blockbuster that garnered universal acclaim; instead Jorgensen, who goes by the name Monk, recalls the review byline, “Gone with the Wind it ain’t.”
“I flew to Miami for the premiere with Rae Dawn Chong and the movie had limited distribution for one sad weekend,” he said. While “The Break” went on to air occasionally on Showtime, Jorgensen never had a screening with friends; his sweet redemption will take place with an upcoming screening of the film at Stuart Cinema (79 West St.) on Thursday, March 7th, at 8 p.m., where Jorgensen will read an excerpt from his autobiographical book that is in the works.
Stuart Cinema is the new affordable theater space near the Greenpoint waterfront for artists to screen their films at a fraction of the cost of many Manhattan theaters.
The synopsis from IMDB:
A depressed and destitute Nick Irons, a tennis pro banned from the tour for slugging a player during a TV match, agrees to coach a bookie’s “head case” son, Joel, who wants to turn pro. The bookie wants his son to get out of tennis and contracts Nick to discourage him. Nick begins to do that but after an episode with his old flame, Jennifer, and after seeing the kid’s determination he decides to teach him all the tricks, both physical and psychological, of the trade. The two battle the kids of a famous coach, unfair refs., injuries, travel all over the southern US, while Nick tries to woo his love back, finally to reach the big championship tennis match where all is resolved in dramatic fashion.
Full disclosure: I met Jorgensen three years ago when he moved into my Greenpoint apartment for a few months and we’ve since become friends; our mutual friends in the neighborhood have learned of “The Break” through Jorgensen but have never watched the movie, so we ordered a copy for the screening,
When Jorgensen moved to New York City in 1977 from Australia with his mother Tina Date, they lived in an artist loft on Wooster Street in SoHo where his godfather Stephen MacLean would often visit. As a Greenpoint resident today, Jorgensen is right at home: “I feel that I’ve returned to the 70s in Greenpoint, it reminds me of the artistic vibe with a local flavor that used to be in SoHo,” he said.
Jorgensen began acting as a teen when he landed the starring role in a Calvin Klein “Obsession” ad campaign (which was parodied on Saturday Night Live) and went to study under Bill Hickey, Austin Pendleton and Reed Birney. He worked on the soap opera “All My Children” in the 90s as the day-time television pioneering gay teenager Kevin Sheffield, during a season that went on to win two GLAAD awards and an Emmy. Jorgensen is currently preparing his for his role as a gay mafioso in the queer play, “Death of a Mobster,” while putting the finishing touches on his autobiographical book “Name Dropping.”