JERSEY’S GIRL ON FILM
Byline: Marcy Medina
LOS ANGELES — “Sometimes I think I must be a 70-year-old woman trapped in a 27-year-old’s body,” laughs Pam Abdy, senior vice president of Jersey Films, the production company responsible for films such as “Reality Bites,” “Get Shorty,” “L.A. Confidential” and “Erin Brockovich.”
While perched on a couch in her West L.A. office during a rare break from the set, Abdy, who has already worked with Matt Damon, Russell Crowe and Jim Carrey during her six-year career, bubbles over her latest project, the comedy “How High,” starring hip-hop artists-cum-actors Method Man and Red Man.
“It’s ‘Animal House’ meets ‘Up In Smoke,”‘ says Abdy, who most recently co-produced the Samuel L. Jackson thriller “Caveman’s Valentine.”
So how did a girl from New Jersey end up a senior vice president in one of the hottest production companies in Hollywood?
“She’s just a force of nature,” said Stacey Sher, a partner, along with Danny DeVito and Michael Shamberg, at Jersey Films.
“Pammy is one of those who’s going to go all the way. She’s feisty, smart and doesn’t take no for an answer — all important qualities in a producer,” added Shamberg.
Abdy actually arrived in the industry by way of a broken foot. After training as a dancer throughout her childhood, a college injury forced her out of her point shoes and into film classes.
Following a semester-long internship in Los Angeles with Jersey Films, Abdy accepted a position as its receptionist.
“I went back to Boston for four days to graduate and came right back here and been working nonstop ever since,” she recalled.
After 10 months at the switchboard, Abdy went on to become DeVito’s assistant. “Sure, I was freaked out. I was 21 and working for Danny DeVito,” says Abdy. “But it just felt like home.”
From there, she moved on to associate producer and was then promoted to senior vice president in January 2000, just after Jersey Films released “Man on the Moon.”
“It’s a little overwhelming,” admits Abdy. “But I don’t think of myself as some young hotshot. I’m just doing my job.”
But Hollywood tends to remind Abdy of her not-so-distant youth. “It’s such a small world, it’s like being in high school again,” she sighed.
“Everyone goes to lunch at the same places.”
Industry grievances aside, Abdy hasn’t forgotten why she came to Hollywood in the first place.
“You know that feeling you get when you sit in a movie theater and the lights go out and the music starts?” she asked. “I can’t believe I still get that after learning exactly how a movie is made, but I do. It’s an escape. If you make someone laugh, or cry, or feel something they don’t normally feel for a few hours, then you’ve done your job well.”
As for Sher’s prediction?
“We’ll all be working for Pam one day.”