Photos and Video
Billy (Troy Garity) and his son Clayton are on the run from his estranged wife's (Drea de Matteo) drug dealer (Dave Matthews) after she stiffs him and disappears. With nowhere else to go, Billy returns to his mother's (Sissy Spacek) house in the Virginia countryside to hide out. As he searches for his missing wife, he reconnects with his childhood friend, now a local police officer (Rebecca Romijn), and begins to confront his troubled past. Billy and his mother cautiously try to rebuild the relationship they had years ago, but the wounds are still open. However, there is little time left to reconnect, and to ensure the safety of their family from escalating threats, the long-buried truth must be exposed. In their impressive debut, Perry Moore and Hunter Hill delicately mold an affecting family drama, infusing it with the uneasiness of the characters' haunted history. Shot in vivid colors with an air of nostalgia and a slight reminiscence of Robert Redford's Oscar®-winning Ordinary People (1980), Lake City highlights the turmoil and complexity of a reasonable family facing unreasonable events. Family secrets and the pressure of impending danger cause emotions to percolate, which makes for memorable performances from Spacek and Garity, who beautifully flesh out this multilayered drama.
Behind the Screens: The April 26th screening will be followed by a discussion between actress Sissy Spacek and Variety's Dade Hayes.
Director's Statement Collapse
Lake City burned a hole through us: It was a story we had to tell. We’re both New Yorkers, but we grew up in the South, with its rich tradition of strong women who stand against all adversity to keep their families together. Our own mothers reflect that tradition, and Sissy’s character, Maggie, embodies it. At bottom, this movie was made to honor the bond between mothers and sons. The story itself is an amalgam of some deeply emotional experiences we went through growing up in the South. The love of family, the longing for acceptance, the challenge of reconciling past pain with the present need, are all strands we pull together to weave the tapestry of the story. The strength of family, the bonds of mother and child, are tested to the utmost as harrowing events converge in the climax of the film.
At times, since the movie is so personal to both of us, it was a great challenge for us as writer-directors not to flinch from the emotional intensity we wanted to create with the cast and crew. But ultimately we really went where we needed to go and pulled no punches. As a result, we believe Lake City joins the ranks of inspiring Southern movies ranging from To Kill a Mockingbird to Sling Blade to One False Move to Tender Mercies to The Last Picture Show. We believe there are enduring truths to these stories that the movie industry more and more tends to overlook in a time when CGI franchises often overshadow genuine human emotion. We believe that real stories, truly told, always have the power to connect with audiences, and we’re very proud to have created a film that returns to this great movie tradition.
It’s so rare in this business that you get your first choice, but we worked on this story for years with a picture of Sissy Spacek taped to our living room wall. We went to her first; in our minds, there was no one else who could play Maggie. When we first met with her in Charlottesville, we learned that she already felt a deep connection to the story. Her older brother died of leukemia when she was in high school, and how she dealt with that family tragedy largely shaped who she is today. The terrible pain of that experience helped her connect to Maggie’s story in a profound way. Her commitment to the film was so personal that she loaded up a moving truck with all of her childhood furniture from Texas and drove it to the house where we shot the movie. She would tell us stories about the various pieces of furniture we were filming. For instance, she described to us how as a child she used to walk across the footboard of the bed where you see Troy sleeping, pretending it was a balance beam.
Troy Garity’s research and devotion to the part of Billy was nothing short of impeccable. He drew on much of his own connection with his real-life mother (Jane Fonda) to bring life to his role. The intensity and complexity of his relationship with Sissy as his mother was so real that at times it was hard for those of us watching to believe that they weren’t really mother and son.
Drea De Matteo blew into the movie in such an explosive way that it was almost hard to recover when she left. Colin Ford, one of the most talented young actors we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, held his own with Sissy, a remarkable feat for an actor of any age. Their intimate scenes are among the most powerful in the movie. Dave Matthews, primarily known for his musical talents, will be viewed in a whole new light after this movie. He brings a distinctly different take to his villain role. He turns it on its ear in a way only he could. And Rebecca Romijn, well---this is something no one would ever expect from her. She stripped away all the make-up, she brought all her own wardrobe, and she was fearless in approaching this role of a small-town recovering alcoholic who has worked to find peace with a life in which many people would feel trapped. She demonstrates a powerfully dynamic range that we don’t think the world has ever seen from Rebecca. She blew us away.
These actors—and this is an actor’s piece with powerhouse performances—created a world that is so real and so moving that we can’t imagine a better group of people to have brought this story to life. The intense emotional experience that this movie delivers would never have existed without this unbelievable cast.
We really wanted to emphasize the connection of the characters with the place—with the family home, the land, and the sky. These characters are haunted by this devastating tragedy in their past, and the tragedy is rooted in the place. It was a terrible happening that we allow to unfurl at its own pace, until it literally explodes into the present. And we wanted to create a Terrence Malick-style look that reminds the audience that we are all part of a greater universe. There’s a shot of Sissy on the porch, reflecting on her past, present, and future as the sun sets on the farm. That says it all.
We also strove for complete authenticity in every aspect of the movie, from location to performance to accent to production design. [Production designer] David Crank, a native Virginian, hit it out of the park. We shot the diner scenes in the very same place he went to drink limeades as a child, and it looked no different than when he first went there. As Southerners, we couldn’t bear to make a movie that fakes what we grew up in and know as the real South. And the feeling we wanted to convey that there is a greater soul, a common humanity that moves through all of us, is delivered by a pitch-perfect score from our composer, Aaron Zigman. He has provided his talents to much bigger movies, such as The Notebook, and we felt blessed to work with him, someone who understood perfectly how to tell the story through music.
Our sincerest wish is that people will come away from this movie with a sense that the bonds of love that hold us together are the greatest bonds of all. And nothing, not even the most overpowering tragedy, can completely sever those bonds.
Film Information Collapse
Cast & Credits Collapse
Principal Cast Sissy Spacek, Troy Garity, Rebecca Romijn, Dave Matthews, Drea de Matteo, Keith Carradine
Screenwriters Perry Moore, Hunter Hill
Producers Allison Sarofim, Mike Ryan, Donna Bascom
Executive Producers Mark Johnson, Sally Pope, Weiman Seid
About the Director(s)Collapse
Perry Moore a New Yorker by way of the South, is the executive producer who put together the blockbuster The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, which premieres worldwide May 16. Moore is also a New York Times bestselling author whose latest novel, Hero, is being adapted for film with Stan Lee as producer. Hunter Hill also a New Yorker from the South, is the longtime executive director of PAPER Magazine. Lake City, Hill's first feature, is a deeply personal story based on a real-life incident. Currently, he's codirecting a documentary on legendary children's author and illustrator Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) with Perry Moore and Spike Jonze.