When you are a producer, you get to do a lot of fun and interesting things. Today, I had the privilege of taking Tantoo Cardinal from her hotel to the set of Hope Bridge. Ms. Cardinal plays the role of Lana, a long lost grandmother of our lead character, Jackson (BooBoo Stewart). Tantoo Cardinal is a veteran actor, who has an impressive resume of film credits. She’s been featured in Dances with Wolves, Legends of the Fall, and, in one of my personal favorites, Smoke Signals.
Ms. Cardinal is from Canada’s First Nation. As we drove out to the set, she shared her personal experiences about being in the movies. It was really a treat to hear her share her story as we drove along the backroads of Kentucky. Her passion for film was very obvious. She also has a love and respect for the land. In recent years, she has directed her attention toward environmental issues and has become a spokesperson for the movement.
I couldn’t help but wonder what would draw her to come to Kentucky and be part of a low-budget, independent film. After all, she has never been here before and has not worked with anyone on the set of Hope Bridge. She said she was drawn to the character of Lana. It’s obviously a part she has played before. Without giving away too much of our story or plot, her character helped to bring healing and restoration to Jackson.
Watching her work was a pleasure. She obviously knows how to get into character and find the right mood. On the way back to the hotel, we had an opportunity to talk about today's work, and I asked her how she does that. She came in for only one day and had no opportunity to run lines with the other actors but somehow, magically, she finds the character. She said, “It’s a process. You develop techniques over time. You just kind of go into a place, and you find it.” Hope Bridge is fortunate in having actors like Tan too Cardinal, Kevin Sorbo, and Booboo Jackson. A lot of Hollywood films don’t have the impressive cast our little independent feature offers.
Here on Day 17, we shot at Robert Myles’ farmhouse in Shelby County. Ky. Robert is the city attorney for Lawrenceburg, KY. This guy deserves a medal. He has really helped make the production of Hope Bridge go smoothly. He knows everybody in Lawrenceburg and Anderson County. We shot most of our film in areas where Robert knows people in the community. Whenever we needed something to happen, he made it happen.
This farm was the perfect backdrop to serve as Lana’s farmhouse in Tennessee. It is extremely picturesque with rolling hills and plenty of cows. Hollywood couldn’t have scripted this any better. It’s without a doubt the most remote location we have shot at so far. If you want to know where the middle of nowhere is, we found it.
Robert was so gracious in letting us take over his house for the entire day. We shot a number of scenes both inside and outside of his house, which happens to have been built in 1820. Our thanks to Mr. Myles for all of his assistance and support.
One of the things I believe will make Hope Bridge a great movie is we have found “killer” locations. Every one of them has been a home run. I had said early on that, in my opinion, Hope Bridge is a “road movie”. That certainly has turned out to be true. That’s why our locations needed to be spot on.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but tomorrow is the last day of the movie shoot. So far, we’ve been on time and on budget. We’ve captured every shot we needed. I’ve checked with the Director, the Line Producer, and the Director of Photography. They are all pleased with the results.
To tell you the truth, most movies at this point could not say that. People are getting along. There’s been no personal conflict or any problems of any sort. I think it’s something everyone can be proud of. The cast and crew have done their job and have exhibited a “can do” attitude. Some people might accuse me of being overly positive. I’m not going to tell you that everything has been perfect; however, the positives have just been overwhelming and have outweighed the negatives.
More to come.