• Boston Culture

Hollywood film-maker & actor discusses his roots in Charlestown and ambitions

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

His films are violent, real, and gritty, portraying America's drug epidemic from various dark perspectives. Johnny Hickey talks about his roots, Boston movie industry and more.

Boston Culture: Where you grow up?

Johnny: I grew up in Charlestown in the BunkerHill Projects section. Honestly, there was allot of crazy fucking shit going on and at the time seemed "kinda" normal.


Boston Culture: When did you know you wanted to get into film?

Johnny: At nine I was cast for a mini-series "Common Ground," a show about forced bussing and the racism of Boston in the 70's.

Boston Culture: How did you get your following across New England and LA?

Johnny: I'd imagine being a real deal street kid who survived some crazy shit earned me some respect, I went from being on the local news for robbing pharmacies and escaping from jail, to appearing on national TV as a celebrated filmmaker and anti-opiated crusader. My success in Boston got deeper once I made it in Hollywood, I think anyone who can make out of the streets of Boston to anything successful earns the cult respect of New England.

Boston Culture: Your website states that your films are violent, real, and gritty, portraying America's drug epidemic from various dark perspectives.

Johnny: Oxy Morons is semi-autobiographical, so nothing in the film is something didn't  personally experienced or known someone that did. The movie is brutal and hard to watch. It’s difficult to watch the raw violence, the gritty underbelly of high strength narcotics, and their effects on those who use and abuse them. It’s not an easy watch, but I would recommend it to anyone who thinks they can stomach it. For Habitual I dove much deeper into horror territory in order to capture the nightmare of the current fentanyl scourge. I wanted his second feature to be in the world of the drug epidemic, but he didn’t want it to be a true event movie like" Oxy Morons.” The real underlying message in "Habitual" is that drugs are always going to be here whether you like it or not, and more than ever young people around the world need to think twice before taking them. But Anti-drug bona fides aside, “Habitual” is no after-school special. This film is a bloodbath highlighted with intense special effects and some seriously horrifying backdrops. We filmed at the abandoned Westborough Mass State Hospital (once known as the Westborough Asylum), as well as Tewksbury State Hospital's old asylum for the criminally insane. While the film targets the horror genre, it's a psychological thriller that taps into the collateral damage done by drug abuse.

Favorite Movie: OxyMorons and Habitual of course lol.

Favorite Food to cook: Bison Burgers 

Favorite Food for take out: Thai Food 

Favorite Camera for filming: Red Dragon

Favorite Actor: Tom Hardy, but proud of Marky Mark.

Any new hobbies: Making face masks 

Favorite part of quarantine: The extra time to a be able to write new content and banging on my heavy bag all day.

Vacation spot after quarantine: Malibu.


Boston Culture: Tell me about your vision for the next year.

Johnny: Making More movies living back in Hollywood. I miss the West Coast weather and the vibe is where my head works best. 

Boston Culture:What you think about the film community in Boston? How does it have to change to make it more appealing for artists  

Johnny: Man that’s just the thing, everyone out there thinks cuz they own a cannon 5,6,7 D that they’re a filmmaker.  More than half the camera guys running around  don’t know the difference from being a director vs being a DP/ Cinematographer, honestly a lot of shifting to do, but once you do there's some really talented people around here!


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