Loosely based on true events, Holy Rollers follows a young Hasidic man on his journey from budding rabbi to professional ecstasy smuggler in the late 1990s.
The film stars Jesse Eisenberg as Sam Gold, who is lured in to an illicit lifestyle by the promise of easy money and the affection of his boss’ girlfriend. Infused with both thriller elements and high-stakes drama, the film co-stars Justin Bartha as the unscrupulous Yosef, and Q-Tip as Ephraim, an Ethiopian ecstasy supplier.
While the role of Hasidic Jew might seem challenging, Eisenberg says he fell into it pretty easily — precisely because it was such a stretch: “If you’re playing something like yourself, your barometer for self-consciousness is so high, because you’re so aware, and it’s hard to get into roles like that. With this movie, the boundaries are a little wider to create a character.”
Jesse Eisenberg as Sam in Holy Rollers
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Sam Gold (Jesse Eisenberg), Yosef (Justin Bartha), and Leon (Jason Fuchs) in Holy Rollers
Yosef (Justin Bartha) and Sam (Jesse Eisenberg) in Holy Rollers
Jackie (Danny Abeckaser) and Rachel (Ari Graynor) in Holy Rollers
Scene from Holy Rollers
Sam (Jesse Eisenberg), Rachel (Ari Graynor), Jackie (Danny A. Abeckaser), Ephraim (Q-Tip), and Mr. Maxim (David Vadim) in Holy Rollers
Mendel (Mark Ivanir), Sam’s father in Holy Rollers
Sam (Jesse Eisenberg); Sam’s mother Elka (Elizabeth Marvel); Sam’s sister Ruth (Hallie Eisenberg); and Sam’s father Mendel (Mark Ivanir) in a scene from Holy Rollers