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Jennifer Esposito mortgaged her house to fund ‘Fresh Kills'—a movie she's been trying to make for over 15 years: ‘I'm deeply proud of it'

Jamie Mccarthy | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Jennifer Esposito was so passionate about getting her latest film done that she mortgaged her house to help finance it.

The Hollywood star wrote, produced, directed and starred in "Fresh Kills," a film about growing up in 1980s Staten Island as women surrounded by the mafia. The film is in theaters now and features actors Annabella Sciorra, Domenick Lombardozzi, and Odessa A'zion.

In an interview with KTLA, Esposito spoke candidly about knowing the risks of mortgaging her house, but she did it because she believed in herself enough to get this film done—a project she wrote on and off for 10 years and spent over 15 years trying to get made.

"This town tells you what you can be and what you can't be for so many years. I was just so over that and I thought, 'Why am I asking the world to believe in me, I have to believe in me.' So I'm going to put my money down," Esposito says. "At the end of my life, am I going to be so happy that my house was paid off? Or am I going to be so happy that I gave myself the opportunity that I've been waiting for for far too long?"

While there are countless mob movies, Esposito says "Fresh Kills" is the first time the point of view of the women in the mafia is portrayed in a film.

"It's the first time that the point of view of the females in the mafia is seen and I'm the first female to step into the genre, which made this even so much more difficult," Esposito says. "But it was something that I thought needed to be told. Again, the movie takes place in the mafia but it's really about finding a voice in a world that tells you not to have one."

It's a film that Esposito said many people didn't believe in and even offered her money to step away from directing it.

"I was offered $5 million if a male would direct it instead of myself. I was offered a lot of money for stars to be in it," she says.

The film premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival and the Red Sea International Film Festival. It is the first time that Esposito has ever made a film.

"It's been a long road. I'm deeply proud of it," Esposito says.

Esposito isn't the first celebrity to mortgage their home for a film

Neilson Barnard | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Kevin Costner first revealed he mortgaged one of his properties to finance the "Horizon" film series in 2023.

In an effort to bring his "Horizon" film series to life, Kevin Costner revealed in a 2023 Deadline interview that he also took out a mortgage on a 10-acre plot of undeveloped coastline in California he purchased in 2006 for $28.5 million. The plan was to build his last family home on the land.

At the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival, Costner spoke to the Associated Press about the decision and why he doesn't regret it.

"It wasn't an easy decision, but it was the decision I needed to make," Costner told AP.

When asked if he thought investing his own money in the films was worth it, Costner said seeing his project come to life was more important than the fear of risking his own money.

"You can spend your life just trying to make your pile grow bigger and bigger. And I've not been really terribly great at that. I'm like anyone else, I'd like it to be big. But not at the expense of not doing what I feel like I've love to do," Costner said.

The New York Post reports that Costner personally raised about $50 million for the film's budget. The actor also told Deadline that to get the first two "Horizon" movies made, he deferred his writing, producing, and acting fees.

"I believe in the movies, the power of them, the longevity. By putting my own money in it, I will chase this movie with my partners the rest of our lives," Costner added.

Representatives for Esposito did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It's request for comment.

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