South­west World

Fort Worth is back­drop for Red­ford’s pos­si­ble last act­ing gig, “The Old Man & the Gun”

Variety - - Contents - By IAIN BLAIR WHEN WRITER- DI­REC­TOR

David Low­ery (“A Ghost Story,” “Pete’s Dragon”) set out to make his new film “The Old Man & the Gun,” a true- crime story star­ring Robert Red­ford and Sissy Spacek, he quickly chose Fort Worth, Texas, as a pri­mary lo­ca­tion.

Red­ford plays real-life pro­fes­sional crim­i­nal For­rest Tucker, who claimed to have suc­cess­fully es­caped from prison 18 times. The ac­tor, now 82, has said that this may well be the film that caps his long ca­reer.

Low­ery says shoot­ing in Fort Worth “made per­fect sense.” The ac­tion “all took place there, and the real For­rest Tucker was based there at the height of his bank-rob­bery ca­reer,” he says. “It also feels older than nearby Dal­las, and has that sense of the West, so aes­thet­i­cally it was just right. We didn’t even con­sider any­where else.”

Low­ery de­scribes Fort Worth as “a great re­source, if maybe a bit un­der the radar and un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated by film­mak­ers in gen­eral.” He says he would have shot the en­tire movie there, but fi­nan­cial con­sid­er­a­tions in­ter­vened. “The in­cen­tives in Texas are just not enough to lure big pro­duc­tions,” he notes, “which is a great shame,”

Ul­ti­mately roughly two-thirds of the shoot­ing took place in Ohio, but enough was shot in Fort Worth to make the movie feel “au­then­ti­cally Texan,” ac­cord­ing to Low­ery.

The di­rec­tor and his pro­duc­ing part­ners are now work­ing on a new film that they plan to shoot en­tirely in the Texas city. He has high praise for the Fort Worth Film Com­mis­sion and its head, Jes­sica Christo­pher­son.

“They def­i­nitely made it fi­nan­cially worth our while to fin­ish shoot­ing ‘The Old Man’ there,” he says, by help­ing find lo­ca­tions and mak­ing lo­cal re­sources avail­able. “I’d call Jes­sica with re­quests like ‘We need a wall that looks like a prison ex­te­rior by 4 p.m. to­day — can you help?’ And she’d drive around, find the per­fect spot, and we’d show up at four with a per­mit and crew.”

Low­ery adds that “The Old Man” wouldn’t have been able to film some of its more dif­fi­cult scenes with­out the help and in­put of Christo­pher­son. “All the ex­cit­ing se­quences, like the bank heists and the prison es­capes, were tech­ni­cally chal­leng­ing to shoot,” he ex­plains.

Since the Fort Worth Film Com­mis­sion was es­tab­lished three years ago, it has helped some 200 projects, from in­de­pen­dents to big­ger pro­duc­tions, film in the city. “We have a cou­ple of ma­jor indie films that are due to start shoot­ing this fall,” Christo­pher­son re­ports. “We also have three home-ren­o­va­tion shows that are shoot­ing pi­lots right now.”

She notes that Fort Worth, in ad­di­tion to its ex­pe­ri­enced crews, of­fers a base in­cen­tive that ranges be­tween 5% and 20%, and ad­di­tional bonuses once pro­duc­tions meet spe­cific cul­tural cri­te­ria and in­volve­ment of Texas res­i­dents. Plus, the city’s Worth Sav­ings Pro­gram pro­vides pro­duc­tions with dis­counts at lo­cal res­tau­rants and stores.

“The Old Man & the Gun” screened at Tel­luride. Fox Search­light will re­lease the pic­ture Sept. 28.

Farewell Film? Red­ford has sug­gested “The Old Man & the Gun” will be his fi­nal movie as an ac­tor.

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