Trini cashes in on a little piece of Hollywood

Trinidadian-born Nestor Jasper poses outside his home in Canarsie, Brooklyn where three seasons of the critically acclaimed movie, "The Godfather of Harlem" was filmed.
Trinidadian-born Nestor Jasper poses outside his home in Canarsie, Brooklyn where three seasons of the critically acclaimed movie, “The Godfather of Harlem” was filmed.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

A chance knock on the front door of Trinidad-born Nestor Jasper’s Canarsie home in Brooklyn almost two years ago, is the tale of a retiree cashing-in on a little piece of Hollywood.

The former diesel mechanic who worked at National Grid, on Long Island for 21 years, can now call himself a movie star extra since he and his house have been featured in elements of three seasons of the hit series “The Godfather of Harlem,” starring award-winning actor Forest Whitaker.

Jasper told Caribbean Life on Sept. 14 outside his 95th Street resident during the filming of the 10-episode season 3, critically acclaimed drama, that he had signed a contract for the crew to use the façade of his house that is the best resemblance of a structure in the sixties where late civil rights leader Malcolm X, once lived.

“The Godfather of Harlem” series, produced by ABC Signature, a part of Disney Television Studios, and premiered on Epix in 2019, tells a story inspired by infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Whitaker), who in the early 1960s returned from eleven years in prison to find the neighborhood he once ruled in shambles.

The series features segments of the life of late Malcolm X, and according to Jasper, the façade of the house was re-painted to an aged brown color, to replicate the home of the civil rights leader.

He added that, the crew eventually moved into the living area of the house where some of the scenes were filmed. His backyard and surrounding areas were used as a corridor to facilitate the filming.

Jasper, who has lived in the small flat with his wife and two grown children, his daughter a physical therapist and his son an entrepreneur, for more than 15 years, did not seem too starstruck about the whole idea that a Hollywood series was using his home as a movie location. As a matter of fact, he was more pleased that his house was the recipient of movie dollars.

Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker second from left, (wearing winter coat) starring as Bumpy Johnson, in the critically acclaimed movie, "The Godfather of Harlem," outside the home of Trinidadian-born Nestor Jasper in Canarsie, Brooklyn.
Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker second from left, (wearing winter coat) starring as Bumpy Johnson, in the critically acclaimed movie, “The Godfather of Harlem,” outside the home of Trinidadian-born Nestor Jasper in Canarsie, Brooklyn.

After the first filming that began some 18 months ago, he said the process was smooth. The crew would call two weeks in advance to alert him that they would be returning to film another episode, which he readily accommodated. He noted that last week was the fourth time that the street was abuzz with dozens of movie crews, cameras, big trucks, and curious residents.

Jasper who migrated some 40 years ago, from the oil-rich village of Palo Seco in Saint Patrick, of the twin-island said lead actor, Forest Whitaker who was seen acting out his role as crime boss Bumpy Johnson graciously posed for a picture with him (Jasper).

Whitaker, an incredibly, talented actor who have been featured in scores of movies, said in an Internet news outlet. “I’m thrilled to be returning to my show, working alongside our truly incredible cast, crew, and writers, as we tell this unique and powerful story. I can’t wait to get back to set, he said and thank Michael Wright, Epix, ABC Signature, and dedicated fans for their support.

According to ‘Deadline News” online, “’Godfather of Harlem’ is that rare show that is both addictively entertaining, and deeply relevant,” said Michael Wright, president of Epix. “Forest Whitaker, Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein have crafted a series that deserves all the acclaim it has received, and it grows more compelling every season.”

Season 3 will find Bumpy Johnson continuing to battle for control of Harlem, with other aspirants to the throne, namely the Cuban Mafia from neighboring Spanish Harlem. Taking on the Cuban mob will put Bumpy, his loved ones, and his community in the crosshairs of not only the rival Italians, but ruthless Latin assassins and, ultimately, the CIA.

Godfather of Harlem is a collision of the criminal underworld and the civil rights movement during one of the most tumultuous times in American history, according to the internet news outlet.

Catch Forest Whitaker in “Godfather of Harlem” acting outside Nestor Jasper’s home. The series is streaming on Epix via Amazon Prime Video Channels.

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