THE HERO – Interview with Director Brett Haley

THE HERO marks the second feature film from Writer/Director Brett Haley.  The powerful and heartfelt film reteams Brett with legendary actor Sam Elliott who gives a jarring performance.  Brett brought the film to the Dallas International Film Festival a few months ago and shared with us his thoughts on the film.  Click through for our chat with Director Brett Haley.

THE HERO stars the legendary Sam Elliott as an aging actor confronting mortality in the moving new film from writer/director Brett Haley (I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS). Lee Hayden (Elliott) is a Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories and smoking too much weed with his former-co-star-turned-dealer, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy. THE HERO is a beautiful and poignant celebration of life and the legacies we all leave behind.  From THE HERO website.

The Coen Bros understood what it meant to open a film with the gravely voice of Sam Elliott beginning a story and Director Brett Haley didn't shy away from this wonderful treat of a start to his second feature film.  From Lonestar BBQ sauces to our hearts THE HERO takes us on a moving ride that allows us to see Lee Hayden (Elliott) discover the importance of fighting on for love.  Like Brett's previous feature film debut, I'll See You In My Dreams, we see an aged actor discovering themselves.  Oh also like his last film Brett doesn't shy away from showing veteran actors smoking, drinking and sexing it up!  Add in the greatness of Nick Offerman and the quality of Laura Prepon and you have a really well done film that is out now in theaters.  Brett and I had a lengthy chat about his two feature films, his love of the iconic actors in our industry and so much more!

The tremendous cast delivers on a subtle, but real script from Brett and his co-writer Mark Basch.  The two gents truly capture the way people hide the realities that impact them on a daily basis and have made a really heartfelt take of a man coming to terms with his fate.  But the life force in the young actors (and the writers themselves) breathes new life just as the waves of the ocean continue to push forth new movement for our earth.  Sam Elliott has a role that allows him to fully embrace all elements of being a veteran actor in a business that doesn't cater to the aged icons.  Overall Brett Haley has become a becon for actors wanting to have a moving and powerful voice, especially the legendary ones that may not get the lead role treatment that they deserve.  First Blythe Danner and her gal pals (June Squibb, Rhea Perlman, and Mary Kay Place) in I'll See You In My Dreams and now with Sam in The Hero.

Brett and his DP Rob Givens also have created a lovely look into the "other" side of LA.  As Brett mentioned in the interview he wanted to show parts of LA most folks don't necessarily see in films.  The locations and the beauty of the ocean are poivotal characters in their own right and help enhance the film from moving film into moving film that is utterly beautiful.  One particular scene between father and daughter overlooking the crashing waves is one of the amazing finds in THE HERO.  Bravo to The Orchard for scooping up this visually moving film at Sundance.  And for another last treat Brett jumped back onto the red carpet the night of his premiere at DIFF 2017 and gave a little more insight into his film.

THE HERO is out in theaters now and for us Dallasites it's at The Magnolia and Angelika Film Center in Plano.