Much of this series has been about the past. This one is about the letting go of the past to move forward.
Writer/Director Ray DeFelitta talks about having a script "in the drawer." It is something his father, Frank, also a writer/director, told him.
For me, that script was my first screenplay, Never Waver. It was my first screenplay, and one that was close to my heart for many reasons.
It took me longer than any other screenplay, and I dd a great deal of research to finish it. My ex-wife, Maureen, was incredibly supportive, helping me with the typing and formatting before Final Draft was on the scene. It led me on a number of adventures to try and get it made.
The story was one I was passionate about; the story of a journalist involved in an ROTC bombing in the 1960s in which a woman was killed. It was now the Reagan 80s, and this journalist had run to Canada, hiding and working under a different name. The bomb was not supposed to be real, and the journalist - David - never knew who planted a real bomb. When as former political mentor - a professor and one-term liberal congressman from NY is killed, and one of the members of David's group is accused, David decides he must find out the truth, at risk to the life he now has.
If this plot sounds a little familiar, it is because it is very close to the plot of The Company We Keep, the new Robert Redford film. In his film, Redford plays a lawyer now living under the name Jim Grant in Albany, NY. When a member of the Weather Underground group (Susan Sarandon) he was a part of is arrested while trying to turn herself in, his life is turned upside down. In 1971, that group was involved in a bank robbery where a guard was killed. Jim, then Nick Sloan, has been named as an accomplice all these years, When a young journalist (Shia LaBeouf) finds him, he must find an old lover and member of the group (Julie Christie) to make sure the truth comes out.
You can look up more about the film at the link above, or the book it is based on at this link
I first noticed it because it was a return of Redford to the screen, and when I read the synopsis, I had mixed feelings. The plot, and more so the theme, were so close to the plot and theme of Never Waver. I tried a number of times over the years to get Never Waver made, and it never happened. It's not that I think someone stole my idea - clearly the author of the book did not see my script all these years later. It just makes me wonder if I would have gotten my script sold if I just kept at it.
The story of the lessons from the 1960s that are lost on people today (or, when I wrote it, the Reagan 80s) is an interesting one to me. The older you get, the more you realize we really are doomed to repeat mistakes of the past by forgetting the lessons - or so it seems sometimes. The parallels are everywhere.
It was with all of this on my mind that I went to see the movie, which did not bode well for what my reaction might be.I was even prepared to get up and leave if I found myself getting angry at any point.
That did not happen.
The script, and the movie, are good - really good. Besides the themes above, it is also a treatise on journalism in the age of social media, and in the aftermath of the disastrous coverage by both traditional and new media of the Boston Marathon bombing, it proves to be very prophetic.
This is also a big issue for me, as most of my best college friends went into journalism in some form, and I don't see a lot of the values we talked about in many journalists today.
The cast of veteran actors, from Sarandon and Redford to the too-rarely-seen Julie Christie, Nick Nolte Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins, Stanley Tucci and more, make you miss all the old pros who seem to be out of fashion (unless they are bringing them back for action movies to reprise themselves, such as Willis and Ah-nold)
The movie does a great job of showing the strain responding to big, passionate social issues takes on human beings and their personal lives.
The latter was also a theme of Never Waver, one that always haunted me from my days stage managing, and then stage directing, Hair, and the song "Easy to Be Hard"
Who care about strangers
care about the bleeding crowd?