On Sunday, March 3 at 2pm, Imagine Magazine will present a Live Reading performance of the upcoming Fort Point Media/H9 Films thriller Franconia Notch before a live audience at the 5-star Mandarin Oriental, Boston (Ballroom).
The script written by Casey Sherman (THE FINEST HOURS, PATRIOTS DAY) and John Stimpson (GHOST LIGHT, THE LEGEND OF LUCY KEYES) was inspired by Sherman’s 2009 #1 true crime best-seller Bad Blood: Freedom and Death in the White Mountains. Sherman, Stimpson and Dave Wedge will co-produce the film with production expected to begin in Massachusetts in late 2019 under their Fort Point Media & H9 Film banners. Many of New England’s most versatile actors have been selected by Slate Casting to read the primary roles in what is being described as a immersive experience for the audience.
About Bad Blood: Freedom & Death in the White Mountains:
the shadow of the fallen Old Man of the Mountain, on a lonely stretch
of mountain road, two men lay dead. A spasm of violence that took only a
few minutes to play out leaves a community divided and searching for
the author of newly released Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph Over
Tragedy, about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Bad Blood is the
riveting account of the long-standing feud between Franconia, New
Hampshire, police officer Bruce McKay, 48, and Liko Kenney, 24. In May
2007, Kenney shot and killed Officer McKay, following a dramatic chase
that began with a routine traffic stop. Kenney, cousin of ski legend
Bode Miller, was then shot and killed by a shadowy passerby.
immediately, the tragic incident revealed deep tensions within this
otherwise quiet community in the White Mountains with charges that
Kenney was a hell-raiser and mentally unstable and counter-charges that
Officer McKay was a rogue cop who dispensed justice as a way to settle
personal scores. Striving to get at the truth of the story, the author
uncovers a complicated mix of personalities and motivations. Local and
statewide interests clash while regional and national media― and even
YouTube viewers― supply ready stereotypes to fit their agendas. Amid
larger questions of the meaning of individual freedom we are,
ultimately, helpless witnesses to an inevitable clash of characters.
About Fort Point Media
Fort Point Media is owned by New York Times Bestselling Authors Casey Sherman & Dave Wedge. Casey Sherman is the author of ten books including two New York Times Bestsellers The Finest Hours & 12: The InsideStory of Tom Brady’s Fight for Redemption (co-authored by Dave Wedge). The Finest Hours
was adapted into a major motion picture for and distributed by Walt
Disney Studios Motion Pictures starring Chris Pine, Oscar winner Casey
Affleck and Ben Foster in 2016. Sherman and Wedge also wrote the 2015
acclaimed true crime novel Boston Strong, which inspired the 2016 CBS Films feature Patriots Day starring Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon and John Goodman.
About H9 Films
H9 Films founder John Stimpson is one of the most prolific filmmakers working in the Boston area today. Stimpson’s interest in film and television began at Harvard where he was President of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. He spent five years as a professional actor in Los Angeles before returning to the East Coast and refocusing his talent on the other side of the lens.
As a result, Stimpson approaches directing from an actor’s perspective, truly believing that motion pictures are the ultimate collaborative creative medium. His 15 years of experience as an editor inform, color, and streamline his shot choices and storytelling making his set as innovative and efficient as possible. For Stimpson the filmmaking process is about capturing the magic – on the page, within the performance and ultimately on the screen – that moves an audience. There is nothing more powerful than human emotion.
John is a member of the Mass Production Coalition and on the board of FILMA (Film it Locally in MA), actively promoting and lobbying for the Film and Television Industry in Massachusetts and Commonwealth’s Film Tax Incentive which has been vital to the recent surge of production activity.
The much-anticipated theatrical release for THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT is happening on February 8th. and at the same time, the film is being released to VOD services. Shot in western Massachusetts in and around Turner Falls, the home of director Robert Krzykowski, the film is a character study with some pulp genre elements in the vein of a Hal Ashby or Robert Altman. It also features incredible talent in all aspects of the production, including Executive Producer Douglas Trumbull, Music Composer Joe Kraemer and special effects guru Richard Yuricich.
Below are some photos from IMAGINE’s exclusive New England premiere screening which was held on November 15th, 2018 and featured appearances by director, Robert D. Krzykowski, Douglas Trumbull (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, BLADERUNNER), Visual Effects Supervisor Richard Yuricich (STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, BLADE RUNNER) and Composer Joe Kraemer (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION) as well as Silas Archer Gustav who plays the young Calvin Barr’s dog in the film.
Genre: Coming of Age Drama dealing with the loss of innocence
This is the story of two brothers. Tragedy drove them apart. Now the Brennan brothers must patch things up and prove there is nothing more important than family. Can they overcome the past?
Can they learn to be brothers again?
It’s the summer of 1994. O.J. Simpson is chased in his white Bronco, the Beastie Boys have just released Ill Communication, and the Major League Baseball strike is looming.
For nineteen year-old Colin Brennan living in Silver Shores Cape Cod, summertime should be one of the best times of his young life. But the beautiful scenery is instead a constant reminder of what happened the previous year.
Colin is haunted by the memory of a tragic accident that took the lives of his two best friends.
Life is spiraling out of control for Colin, a former lifeguard once headed to college on a swimming scholarship, but now works as a shoe salesman. He started drinking so he could remember his friends – now he drinks to forget them.
Colin’s 23-year-old brother Dermot wants to help his little brother, but he can’t even help himself. He’s dealing with his own loss – a breakup with the girl he thought was “the one.”
After spending the winter in Ireland writing for a newspaper and trying to forget Francesca, Dermot returns to “The Shores” to work at the Island Ferry parking lot. He talks a lot about becoming a writer, but will he ever write?
The Brennan brothers were raised by loving parents who stressed the motto “Love one another and stick together”. But they are quickly drifting apart.
Where are these brothers going?
With mixed tapes representing the soundtrack of the Brennan brothers’ lives, and humor used to mask their problems, THE RUNNING WAVES is a story about unresolved grief, substance abuse, break-ups, young love, baseball, movies, brotherly relationships, and the thorny road to redemption.
Ted (T.M.) Murphy told Imagine Magazine, “In 2008, My brother Seton approached me after not having a drink for four years and said, ‘I want to write a book that will help people especially men. I don’t want it to be preachy or toned down. It has to be authentic in how men can be. How we mask what is really going on with humor and booze. I want it to be a story that doesn’t focus on a tragedy but what happens after a tragedy to the people left behind’.”
”Well, I could relate to all of that considering I had lost one of my friends in a car accident and did all of those things Seton had just described…. I suggested adding another kind of loss into the mix, the loss of a relationship. Breaking up with that first love can also be difficult and as young men we are told to just move on. I wanted to explore that as well. Of course, that could be because I grew up on John Hughes movies.
“Anyway, we wrote the book and it was released in 2010. It really spoke to people and we were constantly told that we should make it into a movie. We thought that was funny because we first began writing it as a screenplay before going the book route. Now here we are, in association with Good Natural Dog Productions, planning to film in our hometown of Falmouth, Cape Cod in the spring of 2019.
Casey Sherman, bestselling author of “The Finest Hours” and “Boston Strong,” both made into major motion pictures, had this to say about the book:
“Finally – a novel that captures the tone and tenor of the place where I grew up. The Running Waves shows us what lies beneath the beautiful imagery of Cape Cod where villagers are often torn between their own aspirations and a stubborn loyalty to the place they call home. The Murphy Brothers have found a big fan in me.” (Read about Casey’s new project with John Stimpson in this issue on page 10).
Boston comedian, Lenny Clarke, has signed to play the part of Molloy, the parking lot attendant at the Island Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. “Man, this really is great! It was funny. It was sad. It was real. I called Teddy up and after we talked about the Patriots win that happened the night before I said, ‘I’m in!’“
“Lenny is New England and for us to get him on board is honestly a dream come true.” Seton Murphy said.
“He’s not just a legendary comedian. He’s an unbelievable actor and we’ve been fans of his since his days on Rescue Me and he’s going to be in our movie. Wow!” Ted Murphy added.
Jordan Tofalo came in to read for a part and when she was done Seton turned to me and said, ‘she’d be perfect for the part of Tabitha (a girl with a promising future but gets in with the wrong crowd) in THE RUNNING WAVES….”
“I am so thrilled to be a part of THE RUNNING WAVES! It’s beautifully written by the Murphy Brothers, takes place in the 90’s, and touches upon extremely relevant topics in our current society…” said Jordan said after doing a photo shoot for her character Tabitha.
“Things definitely happen for a reason,” Ted Murphy continued, “Jordan had just worked with Dennis Serpone on SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY and suggested we talk to him about coming on board as an Executive Producer. We hit it off with Dennis immediately, and not only did he join the team but he suggested talking with his nephew Brian Serpone who with Billy Dufresne manages Nicole Michelle whose career is taking off as a singer. Two of her songs will be on the BERNIE THE DOLPHIN soundtrack.
“1994 was all about mixed tapes that captured the moment you were feeling so we plan to have a diverse soundtrack with established as well as up-and-coming acts. Nicole is currently blowing up on the scene. She’s dropping an album soon with Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees producing it so it was natural to ask her to contribute to our soundtrack. We set up a meeting and we all hit it off. But something else happened she reminded Seton and me so much of Natalie, the young love interest in our movie, that we asked Nicole to read for it.”
“I’m honored to be part of telling such a touching story like THE RUNNING WAVES,” Nicole said backstage during a rehearsal for an upcoming tour.
Other actors attached are Patty O’Neil (STONGER) as Mrs. Sweeney. “I loved the role of Mrs. Sweeney the moment I read it…. Plus, supporting a wonderful local story and the talents of the writers is a dominant drive for any actor.”
Alexa Serowik has been cast as Francesca, the girl who broke Dermot’s heart; she says “I am excited to be cast as Francesca because there is a lot more to her than may appear at face value. Francesca is a bit of a bad girl but with a soul and seems to me wise beyond her years.
Nate Richman (STRONGER) will play the Tommy Keating Role. When he met writer T.M. Murphy they found out that they had more in common than they thought.
“I am thrilled to be part of The Running Waves production,” Nate Richman said, “I grew up reading T.M. Murphy’s kids’ books the Belltown Mystery Series, so I have been a fan of his for a long time. Ted and Seton do an excellent job telling an incredible story. The Running Waves is the type of book that you’ll be crying on page 100 and cracking up by page 102….”
THE RUNNING WAVES is seeking additional funding, some key casting, executive producers, collaborating production companies and distribution. This passionate group is shooting in Massachusetts, entitles the production to a 25% transferable tax credit.
For more information please visit RunningWavesMovie.com or contact T.M. Murphy at email@example.com.
John Stimpson and his H9 Films has joined forces with Casey Sherman and his Fort Point Media, a film and television production company he founded with partner Dave Wedge. Their script Franconia Notch is loosely based on Sherman’s book Bad Blood that chronicles the real-life murders of Liko Kenney and Bruce McKay in Franconia, New Hampshire in 2007.
Set in the shadow of the fallen Old Man of the Mountain, two men lay dead on a lonely stretch of mountain road, while a third man remains standing with a smoking pistol. It was a spasm of violence that took only a few minutes to play out but left a community divided and searching for answers.
Franconia Notch is the riveting account of Cassidy Barnes, a reporter who must risk her life and face the demons of her past to expose the startling truth of the longstanding feud between Lt. Bruce Caughlin and a rebellious teen, Arlo Manning.
As officers rush to the scene, one of their own is mortally wounded, shot seven times and gruesomely lodged under the front wheels of a car. The driver of the car is dead with two gunshot wounds to the head and neck. And a third man, a shirtless ex-Marine, holds the passenger of the car at gunpoint.
When the press originally reported it, Arlo Manning was portrayed as a wild kid who shot Lt. Bruce Caughlin in cold blood during a routine traffic stop in Franconia and then tried to run him over. Lloyd Thurman, who witnessed Caughlin’s murder and subsequently shot and killed Arlo, was a hailed a hero. And Caughlin was a loving father and a model law enforcement officer who was tragically killed in the line of duty. But that was far from the truth….
Returning to her hometown and her childhood demons to unravel the case is Boston based investigative reporter Cassidy Barnes who exposes the underbelly of the real Franconia, where right is wrong, good is evil, and the truth is hardly black and white. With the help of Everett Brown, a first responder the night of the shootings, and Arlo Manning’s former girlfriend Jennifer Ward, Cassidy digs into the pasts of the three principals in this explosion of violence and uncovers a long running feud between Arlo – a troubled teen with a famous cousin, Olympic ski racer Keifer Gale – and an overzealous police officer, Bruce Caughlin, who ran rough-shod over the young people of Franconia. She also discovers a violent, drug induced and delusional “good Samaritan” in Lloyd Thurman, with a dubious military record.
Meanwhile, Cassidy comes face to face with the horrors of her own childhood that are inexorably tied to this place – Franconia Notch. Cassidy turns the story that was originally presented to the public on its head and exposes the real corruption and deception that was manufactured for political gain. In doing so, she allows the process of healing to truly begin for the people of Franconia.
Casey Sherman is an award winning journalist and New York Times Bestselling Author of ten books including “The Finest Hours” (now a major motion picture for Walt Disney Studios starring Chris Pine and Oscar winner Casey Affleck), “Boston Strong” (adapted into CBS Films’ acclaimed movie PATRIOTS DAY starring Mark Wahlberg), “Animal” (soon to be a major motion picture for 20th Century FOX) “The Ice Bucket Challenge” (soon to be a major motion picture for Netflix), “Bad Blood,” “Search for the Strangler,” “Black Irish,” “Black Dragon” and his blockbuster 2018 novels “12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady’s Fight for Redemption” and “Above & Beyond: JFK and the Cold War’s Most Dangerous Spy Mission.”
John Stimpson is a Massachusetts-based writer/director who is responsible for over a dozen feature films that have been sold and seen all over the world. Best known for THE LEGEND OF LUCY KEYES, A CHRISTMAS KISS, THE WRONG CAR and his latest comedy, GHOST LIGHT, which recently was recently awarded Best Narrative Feature at the prestigious Austin Film Festival, Casey and John are excited about their
collaboration look forward to bringing Franconia Notch to the big screen. “In a time when brutal policing tactics by rogue cops have led to tragedies across America, it’s a story that needs to be told,” said Sherman. “The place, The North country of New Hampshire, is really a character in this story… as rugged and colorful as the people who call it home,” says Stimpson.
The team is currently seeking funding and/or production partners.
Stimpson can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org and Sherman is at email@example.com.
Frequent IMAGINE contributor Hartley Pleshaw recently interviewed THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT’s director Robert D. Krzykowski and the film’s composer Joe Kraemer about their ties to the New England area and how their film came to be.
Over the nearly hour-long conversation originally broadcast on WCAP Radio 980, they discuss the mood of the film which director Krzykowski says is more Robert Altman than Troma Entertainment (though not without some pulp elements). The title drove the concept of the film towards its eventual plot and the story of that journey is fascinating to hear.
There’s a special guest call-in from our publisher, Carol Patton who gives an impromptu promo for the screening and VIP pre-screening party. There’s also a concise history of the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit!
Kraemer and Krzykowski bonded over their shared love of orchestral soundtracks from the 80s and 70s and Joe provides some great insight into the film composer’s creative process. Joe discusses how the soundtrack for THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT came into being through many artistic paths.
Robert Krzykowski then goes on to tell the story of how the film’s epic production team (John Sayles, Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich to name a few) coalesced around their love of Robert’s cult comic strip Elsie Hooper. It’s a fascinating story in and of itself how some of the best independent filmmakers of today brought their talents together to create a story of true American grit with pulp fiction elements.
Definitely a fun and fascinating listen! And don’t forget to get your tickets for the screening happening on November 15th!
We have an extraordinary cover for this issue. You will also see that it relates to our back page and our cover story. Hartley Pleshaw interviewed both the star and director of THE MAN WHO SHOT HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT.
We’re excited about this film because IMAGINE will present a special East Coast Premiere at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square on November 15th and much of the crew will be special guests.
The screening will be at 8 pm. Those tickets are $15 each and will include a lively Q& A afterwards with the Director Robert D. Kryzkowski, Academy Award winning “Imaginnaire” Executive Producer Douglas Trumbull (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, BLADE RUNNER, A CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF A THIRD KIND), Composer Joe Kraemer (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION) and special effects guru Richard Yuricich.
There will be a preliminary VIP Reception at 6:30 with the cast and crew members that are available for the evening. We will be taking photographs and our co-hosts Jan and Mikhaila Waldman will be with us along with their canine actor Silas Archer Gustav for photo taking and such. Silas plays the role of the young (played by Aidan Turner) Calvin Barr’s dog. The cost is $75 for the reception and the opportunity to meet the aforementioned stellar filmmakers.
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT has sold out at every venue it’s been screened including Montreal, London, Strasbourg, and Barcelona. And we hope to fill the Somerville Theatre to the brim.
Buy your tickets now on our info page because this will sell out here.
You can’t tell a book by its cover, and, in that same spirit, it’s probably unwise to make assumptions about a film by its title.
A case in point would appear to be the new film THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT. For most people, a cursory glance at that title would lead to assumptions that the attendant offering would be an exploitation film, a likely product of a cinematic schlock house.
But looks can be deceiving. And to make any assumptions about this particular film based on its title would be a grave self-deception indeed.
The film is in fact a deep character study, accompanied by frightening and alarmingly relevant metaphors. It is indeed a horror film, but as much about the horror within as without.
Two of the people who created it explain what THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT is about.
The Director: Robert Krzykowski
This may be his first film as a director. But Robert Krzykowski came to the project—an original idea of his—with an enormous portfolio of experience. Robert was born in Albany, NY, but has spent most of his life (excepting periods in Hollywood as a screenwriter) in western Massachusetts, where he still lives. (And, at least in the case, works; THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT was filmed in the Connecticut River Valley town of Turners Falls, Massachusetts).
He began to attend UMass, Amherst, but early recognition of his talent, and demands for it, led him to become a professional in film before he had a chance to graduate.
But now, with this film, Robert has earned the ultimate degree accomplishment in filmmaking: the graduation to Director.
So, what does the curious-sounding title mean?
“It says so much, that it must be about something else. It can’t just be about that title! I thought that it was a clue to the audience that they could expect to discover another layer in this film.
“The initial theme that got me writing this was, I wrote the opening ten pages kind of the way you would start a James Bond movie. At the end of those ten pages, the hero killed Hitler. And then I realized, well, I have nowhere to go from here. That’s about as big as the script can get!
“But then I started thinking, well, Hitler was a monster; maybe (his killer) could go on to another monster. And who would that be?
“I got to thinking about Bigfoot: this kind of mythic, American notion of this fantastic creature against a human monster, in Hitler. I went back to the beginning, and typed ‘The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot.’ That became my mission, to kind of work my way towards justifying that title. And in doing that, discovering this really sweet, awful, melancholy character at the heart of this story, and exploring his life, and everything he’s been through.
“So, it’s really about the man in that title: The man who killed Hitler, and then the Bigfoot.”
A man who, if one can at least temporarily disbelieve the agreed-upon history that Adolf Hitler killed himself in his underground bunker, committed a supremely heroic act, but was and remains unknown to history. A hero who wasn’t merely forgotten, but was never recognized to begin with—until, of course, he was needed again. A character very much in the tradition of another movie genre.
“He’s a classic, American mythic hero. Not unlike a Western (hero), or even a (character in a) Japanese samurai movie. A lonely, singular hero, tasked to do something that only he is capable of doing. And in doing that thing, it isolates him even further. There’s something very romantic about that kind of character.
“The movie seeks to also break down and analyze that. Both in the way that we romanticize this type of hero, and try to make him all the more human in studying him.
“At its heart, (this is) a character study.”
The film also employs a metaphor.
“Hitler is spreading a plague of ideas throughout World War II. That plague reached a lot of people. And that plague in some ways continues today. And I thought, this other monster in the movie, the Bigfoot, he’s spreading a plague as well. He’s spreading a literal plague. The Bigfoot spreading a literal plague brings our hero back into the picture, to try to stop it.
“The present and the past echo each other throughout the film.”
And so, Robert Krzykowski had his idea for a film. Now he had to make it a reality. This was no small task, particularly for a first-time director making an independent film. It wasn’t easy.
“The project was twelve years in the making. We hit a lot of walls in the process. I was told ‘NO’ many, many times. I got used to hearing ‘NO’ a lot more than I got to hear ‘YES.’
“But, one of about twenty people would say ‘YES,’ and become part of the project. And usually those people were incredibly special. Sometimes, they were all-time heroes of mine. Those included John Sayles, Lucky McKee, Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and Sam Elliott. There was a realization that this was worth fighting for. It wasn’t going to be easy, but we were going to try to stick to the script and make the thing that we set out to make.
“As I realized that this was going to happen, that this production was going to get underway in the summer of 2017, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt very intimidated. I felt that no matter how much preparation I was doing, I could never be prepared enough.
“I knew the caliber of talent that was coming to Massachusetts to make this film. It made me work really, really hard. Once we got into production, it was really a matter of trusting all these great people who came around. And day by day, the pressure seemed to release a little bit. I could do more and more directing. I was a producer on the film as well.”
When it came time to cast the reluctant hero, Robert’s choice met his criteria.
“Our Casting Director Kellie Roy and I spent a considerable amount of time discussing who would be the right person to embody this character who has kind of this noble quality about him. I wanted somebody who could have stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. (Executive Producer) John Sayles and I talked quite a bit about whom that might be. He came out of a meeting one day, and said, ‘I think that Sam Elliott might be a really great choice for that part.’ Sam’s name had been mentioned before, but it really clicked that day. We reached out to Sam about two years ago, right around Thanksgiving. He got in touch with me, we had a long phone call, and at the end of the call Sam said, ‘I want to do this movie. I want to be a part of it.’
Sam Elliott had just finished work on what has turned out to be the most acclaimed film of 2018, A STAR IS BORN. Thus, for the second film in a row, he would be working for a first-time director.
But unlike that film’s rookie director, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliot would now be working for a director who wasn’t an established figure in contemporary film.
“I think that showed a lot of courage on Sam’s part. It also shows that he does things because they speak to him, and because he wants to (do them). Sam explained to me that he never takes a project for the money, and never has. Through his entire career he’s done projects because they say something to him. He’s looking for something true in each project. And I know that that was something he discovered here.”
The Lead Actor: Sam Elliott
The face. The eyes. The mustache. And, perhaps, above all, the voice. In a world of increasingly
indistinguishable “celebrities,” you KNOW Sam Elliott.
And in 2018, you are likely more aware of him than ever. Now in his mid-seventies, Sam’s career has never been hotter. A STAR IS BORN is no doubt one reason. But that he could go from a very Hollywood project like that to an indie like THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT—with a first-time director, no less—says much about his versatility, integrity and fearlessness.
Such being the case, he appears to have been a perfect choice to play the part of the film’s reluctant hero, Calvin Barr.
“I certainly was taken in by the script at the very beginning, because what’s in the film is really all on the page. There was no way that I could NOT do this film. In terms of Calvin’s character, it spoke to me on many, many levels.
“The whole thing that he was in the military. That speaks to me. The generation that he comes from speaks to me. Love lost, unrequited love, speaks to me.
“This man who killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot. To me there’s such goodness in Calvin Barr. There’s not a lot of it in the movies today. We’re beset by all this murder and mayhem, in the real world and on film. There’s was something about Calvin’s goodness that spoke to me.
“And his sadness—the sadness that he’s plagued by now.”
Like Robert Krzykowski, Sam Elliott sees something of the classic Western hero in Calvin Barr. The hero who saves the day, but neither gets nor wants the credit for his heroism.
“It’s clear that when the FBI guys come, and he has the conversation at the dining table with them that this was never something that he banked on or looked for. Being in the military, it’s what came to him. He was one of those guys who just stepped up. There are a lot of those people out there today. They join the military, and they’re there to answer the call.
“That’s what Calvin did. But he paid a dear price for it. He never reckoned, I don’t think, on killing
people. He was never comfortable with that. I have no doubt that he killed numerous people, being in the war that he was in. I can’t imagine that it was just Hitler.
“He lost the love of his life because he went off to war. He just didn’t bank on any of that.
“It’s the stuff that so many of us, I think, take for granted. The sacrifice that men and women make when they join the military. The cost that comes with it. Today, they call it PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Back in Calvin’s day, I don’t know what they would have called it. It’s as real today as it was back then, and it’s as real as it was in the film. It’s something to reckon with.”
Sam Elliott thinks that independent films do reckon with such issues, unlike much of today’s Hollywood
“The independent film world is a wonderful world to investigate real life in some ways. It just seems
to go so much deeper. There’s not a lot of money involved, not a lot of people in suits involved, trying to control the game.”
Robert Krzykowski kept control of HIS game, his film. According to Sam Elliott, as filming progressed,
the first-time director became increasingly skilled at his craft.
“I think that on some level, Bob might have been timid at the very beginning. A little overwhelmed by
it all, by the sheer fact that it had been such a long gestation period for his project. And then he had these incredible people behind him, the guys who stepped up. (Co-producers) John Sayles. Douglas
Trumbull. But after that, he just fell right into it. He was so specific. He knew what he wanted, and he knew how to go about getting it.
“He’s a collaborator, which to me is one of the things that puts him in the same field with Bradley
Cooper. Bradley is an incredible collaborator. And that’s the ideal situation for all of the creative
forces to be in.
“When you have a director who’s open, and who wants to communicate, and has a vision, and knows how to bring all the creative forces to achieve that vision together, then that’s the ideal situation.
By the time Sam Elliott had finished his work in both A STAR IS BORN and the Netflix TV series THE RANCH, his own situation was less than ideal. He was physically exhausted from his previous work, and wanted to rest. But Robert Krzykowski inspired Sam to take on the new project.
“I told Robert, ‘I want to come, but I just can’t make it now. I’m not up to it, physically or mentally. I’m not going to give you what I want to give you.’
And I pulled out of it. And he said, ‘it’s okay, I understand.’ We let it go.
“And then he wrote a letter to my agent. On an emotional level, it still gets me. This letter to my agent thanked him for all the time he put into it and for supporting the film, and trying to make it
work out. He wrote what a great representative he was for me, and that someday, we’ll be able to do something together. It was a long letter and well composed. Robert is a brilliant writer and speaker. He is a really smart, smart man.
“My agent forwarded me that letter. I read it, I thought about it most of that night. The next night I called Robert and said, ‘Hey, man, I’m comin’ up!’ I’ll do this movie with you.’
“It spoke volumes to me that Robert would thank my agent like that. I said to myself, ‘I just can’t let this kid down. If this guy really wants me to do this movie, I’ve GOT to do it!’ And I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I did.”
Sam Elliott is also very thankful that this film was shot in Massachusetts.
“For one, I was totally captivated by the countryside. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in more beautiful country, and I’ve seen some beautiful country.
“That rolling farmland and that valley right there in Deerfield was the most incredible country that
I’ve been in in a long time. And all those little towns! It’s mind-boggling to go through that country, and see all that breathtaking farmland and woodlands, and how beautiful it is. And this was in the spring and summer. It wasn’t in the fall, that everyone talks about.
“And the people were just as incredible. They were so friendly, and so welcoming.
“I loved it there. I want to stay at the Deerfield Inn again. I want to come back and bring my wife and spend some time.”
IMAGINE is sponsoring, hosting and presenting THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT at the Somerville Theatre on November 15th.