when a gorgeous artist named Shelley Niro stuffed a book into my hand. Said book absorbed me, gripped me and punched me in the face with love. Who is this Richard Van Camp? How could he write something so dark, painful, hilarious, sweet and raw all at the same time? When uberproducer Christina Piovesan and I embarked on our seven year journey to make the film, we were both single and fresh out of filmish studies. Now we have kids and husbands and movies galore in our hobo bags (well I’m the hobo, Christina is a much more refined woman). Truth is, as I got lost in the writing and dreaming and all sorts of pom-pom clouds of The Lesser Blessed, blasting death metal into my crumbling ears, it was Christina who refused to take no fucking no for an answer and never lost faith in the need for this movie to be made.
With her first triumph of financing accomplished (and she had a babe by her side… a babe named Lalonde) we were joined by a stellar crew I don’t really deserve. God knows why, for a modest pay, these people surrendered their immeasurable talents and subjected themselves to the most brutal production of their life to date. They boarded shaky helicopters in snowstorms. They faced hungry wolves, trying to coax loopy jumps out of them. They spent hours removing droplets of water trapped inside an elaborate periscope. They set themselves on fire. Repeatedly.
And then the cast… I could write about them till my fingers disintegrate. The blithe creature to treasure… The Hualapai Berliner who came packing the most legitimate dose of danger. The Saint Ralph who, saint no more, quietly turned into one of the most powerful actors of our country. The dudes who made everything flawlessly funny. The superstar who has full doses of eloquence, generosity and the greatest scent humanly possible. The woman whose face displays ten thousand emotions, all flickering. And my discovery… The guy plucked from a high school corridor, preferring to forego our auditions in favour of readying himself for a casual math test. The nerve! Joel Evans, you’ve surpassed all my hopes and wishes for The Lesser Blessed ultimate lead character and you gave everything that’s in you. And there is a bottomless well, my friend. I am deeply, deeply proud of you.
I cannot wait for the curious to see what we’ve made. It is brutally honest.
On a very personal note, I could not have done any of this without the love of my life, J. Adam Huggins.