Former Nikiski resident making it in Hollywood

Nikiski High School graduate, J.R. Cox, is currently producing a short film in Hollywood, Calif.


“I am living my dream in the best sense,” Cox said.

Cox’s film, “Thursday the 12th,” stars his former classmate Joshua Ball and brings a Alaskan humor to Hollywood, Cox said.

“Alaska just has this great sense of being the last frontier,” he said.

Cox, 25, grew up in Nikiski so he takes for granted many of the unique Alaskan qualities and characters his movie portrays — but Hollywood does not, he said.

“The characters seem really common to them while also being outrageous and larger than life,” he said.

Cox, who now lives in Los Angeles, got the idea for the film when at work one day in Nikiski.

“I saw on the calendar Thursday the 12th ... and it only happens to me on that day, and I thought, ‘Oh no, tomorrow is Friday the 13th,” he said.

Since that day he said the idea for a silly superstitious movie had been on his mind.

Now in pre-production, the film plays on that superstition, following a small-town bully who beats up a former classmate the day before Friday the 13th. Josh Ball will play the role of the bully.

“It’s definitely a silly comedy,” Cox said.

Cox’s film has a $10,000 budget and up to 25 people on set at once, he said.

From a month-long KickStart campaign, he raised $10,200. KickStart is a website that allows people to post projects or ideas for public funding.

“Most of the funding came from people that I know that wanted me to succeed,” he said.

While the KickStart-raised money covered the initial costs, the movie now requires additional crew. He is taking some funds out of his savings to cover the difference, he said.

Although Cox does not like the Hollywood politics — networking at parties, marketing for better opportunities — he said he does like Hollywood.

“I actually think Hollywood gets a bad rap,” he said.

More bad than good is known about Hollywood, he said. Most people he has met are nice and he has had no problems with crime, he said.

“I like it,” he said about the lifestyle.

“Thursday the 12th” is one of several films Cox has been involved with since graduating from Montana State University with a degree in film studies.

The first film he worked on he considers a success is called “Robobot.” It is a several-minute long, stop-motion, animated film and played at the High Desert Shorts International Film, Art, Wine and Music Festival.

“Cat and Mouse” is the second film he said is a success. It is a seven minute film about three hikers lost in the desert who find a man burying a body.

“That wound up being a bigger success than anyone anticipated,” he said.

The film was accepted to the Los Angeles Film Festival and received a page on

After graduating from college, Cox worked on larger movie sets as a production assistant, but that was too stressful, he said. He is now happier on set producing movies like “Thursday the 12th,” he said.

“This is exactly the dream,” he said. “I’m making the movies that I want to make.”

Cox’s film premiers Sept. 12.


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