The director had cast his friend Simon Hammerstein, grandson of Oscar and owner of The Box nightclub in Manhattan, but Hammerstein's wife balked after reading the script.
With just two weeks left before shooting began, Rubin thought of Jacobs.
If you've heard anything about "Disconnect," the new feature by "Murderball" director Henry Alex Rubin, it's probably one of two things: it offers a cautionary look at our modern methods of communication (or lack thereof) and it features the first on-screen acting performance by fashion designer Marc Jacobs.
Turns out, however, that Jacobs wasn't Rubin's first choice to play Harvey, the skeevy proprietor of an online-sex-show emporium who recruits teenagers to strip on camera.
But then when you get close up, you realize those tattoos are of M&M's and Sponge Bob Square Pants, and he's actually just a complete silly person who's very whimsical. It was hard to get him to hit Andrea Riseborough [who plays a journalist investigating Harvey's operation]. I've never done this before.'"Last month, Jacobs and Rubin sat down with the editor-in-chief of this site, Arianna Huffington, for a Q&A following a screening of the film in Manhattan.It was hard to get him to do these things, but in the end I think he comes off pretty well."Did Jacobs ever express any anxiety about playing such a shady character? He doesn't worry about what people think," Rubin says. Writing about the film a few days later, Huffington wrote, "'Disconnect' shows how easy it is to allow technology to lure us into a somnambulist life, gradually being pulled away from a sense of who we are and what really matters." Rubin agrees, while stressing he and the film's writer, Andrew Stern, "certainly didn't want to make a movie with a message or have it be preachy." Rather, they wanted to "explore the idea of how do we communicate with each other today, and the duality of the fact that the Internet can bring us joy and it can bring us danger."The film tells three intertwined stories, in a style reminiscent of Stephen Soderbergh's 2000 drug-war drama "Traffic." Each story line is built around a different Internet-era danger: cyberbullying, identity theft, the online sex trade.