Bloodworth, with an all star cast including Kris Kristofferson, Val Kilmer, Hilary Duff, Dwight Yoakam, W. Earl Brown, Frances Conroy, and Reece Thompson, will be in theaters May 20th, and a premier will be shown at the Robinson Film Center in Shreveport that evening.
The movie portrays a dysfunctional family in a poor, rural area of Tennessee. E.F. Bloodworth (Kristofferson), a honky tonk playing musician, returns home to a family that he walked out on forty years ago. Not many were pleased with his return; not his wife who was in the midst of dementia, (Frances Conroy), not the son, Warren, (Kilmer), who was a womanizing alcoholic, not the son, Brady, (Brown), the soothsayer, evil, angry, voodoo curse maker, and certainly not the insanely jealous son, Boyd, (Yoakam) who was off on a mission of his own to find his wife and the man she had run off with. Boyd’s son, Fleming, however, embraced his grandfather’s return. E.F. and Fleming, (Thompson) formed a bond that he never had with his own sons. The story is a saga of how Fleming meets and falls in love with Raven, the illegitimate daughter of a prostitute, and works to pull himself from the dredges of poverty to make a life absent of the Bloodworth curses. It laterally follows E.F. and his quest to come to terms with his own personal demons. Reminiscent of films like Fried Green Tomatoes, Driving Miss Daisy and The Bridges of Madison County, Bloodworth has some surprising twists to the story line, but a not so surprising ending. Still, it’s an engrossing piece of work and the music of T-Bone Burnett and Kristofferson is spirited and an enjoyable attribute to the film.
I had an opportunity to interview producer, writer, and actor, W. Earl Brown.
I noticed the film had some similarities to “There’s Something About Mary”. In that film, the character you played, Warren, was similar to the character you played in Bloodworth, Brady. Can you relate to that comparison?
“Actually, Toby Keith is a good friend of mine and he was the first to make that comparison. He said to me “ ‘Earl, Brady in Bloodworth is like Warren in “There’s Something about Mary”, except it’s the evil side of the personality;’ ” (and we all know Warren didn’t have an evil bone in his body). So, no, you’re not the first to make that comparison, oddly enough.”
What made you take on Bloodworth as a project?
“I could relate to the character, Fleming, as I grew up with similar thoughts and feelings as him. The teacher in the film was like a teacher I had in high school, Larry England, my speech and debate coach. He always said “there’s nothing in your life that you can’t achieve if you’re willing to work hard and make sacrifices.” My family was firmly middle class, but elements of my family lived that way (like the Bloodworths). Mom was nose to the grindstone and worked her ass off, (still does), and as a result, I was the first in my family to go to college. Our casting director, Mary Vernieu, put the task together for us. We became the producers by default; it was going out and looking for the money. When we got it together Kris Kristofferson was our first choice to play E.F. Bloodworth. We were in pre production three years earlier. One card tumbled and we all tumbled, but Kris was not available anyway. He was working on the “This Old Road” album. In the interim, Kris read the script and his agent contacted us about his interest, and we got the money together and did the film.”
On Kristofferson, he said:
“He’s one of my life long heroes.”
I read somewhere that Wes Craven was the first person that was really established in the business that took you under his wing. Have you taken anybody under your wing and given them opportunities they might not otherwise have?
“Molly Sims, supermodel, and actress is from my home town. There are several people in the business from my home town that have moved out here (Los Angeles), but I can’t say I was the one who gave them the break that put them where they are. I friend everybody on facebook and give them the best advice I can.”
I noticed that you played in “Justified”? What season and show? Would you like to play in it again?
“I played in episode 5 of season 1. I love Justified. In fact, I just finished watching season 2 this weekend, and season 3 will start in the fall. My character in Justified went to prison, and I’ve mentioned to the writers that they might want to release him so I can come back (laugh). I suppose it’s a possibility.”
Do you plan to continue being a writer and producer, or will you continue to pursue acting? Or both?
“The business side of producing is not my cup of tea but I enjoy the creative side. The writing, I love. And, problem solving as a producer. I’ve always been a writer, even as a kid. We have other projects in line. ”
Are you familiar with Shreveport as a community that is becoming deeply involved in the movie industry, and have you ever filmed in Louisiana?
“Louisiana is a great place to film since the state is offering the industry incentives to film. I filmed in New Orleans once, a long time ago, but never in Shreveport. It could happen, though. You never know.”
I would like to thank the Integrated Allied Marketing members, Ashley Stout and Tonya Polydoroff for the opportunity to review the film, as well as W. Earl Brown for his interview. Don’t take my word for it; go see Bloodworth.
Contact Mary at [email protected]