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Four generations of men are suddenly brought together by the chance to uncover the truth about their family's past. It's a journey that takes them out on the road to a world full of surprises—some comic, some dramatic and all of them personal. Forced together by a deep loss, these very different men find a great deal along the way—devastating secrets, amazing discoveries and, just maybe…each other. Inspired by the relationship between writer/director Jordan Roberts and the absentee father he barely knew, the film stars Michael Caine, Christopher Walken, Josh Lucas, Jonah Bobo and Glenne Headly.

 Around The Bend

Around the Bend is probably closer to a true story than not. But to call it True would be inaccurate. The central story in the film—a Father’s meeting his adult Son, after a twenty-five year absence—is based on a true enough encounter: Mine, with my own estranged father. And the emotions with which those two characters waltz in the film—Anger, Grief, Longing, Inarticulateness, and finally, the remote and elusive possibility of Acceptance, if not Forgiveness—were also approached, denied and avoided like The Plague during my own journey with the strange man named Bob who showed up on my doorstep.

But Around the Bend veers sharply from my own history in a variety of ways, and for several reasons. In truth, the exact specifics of my particular family strife were not overwhelmingly interesting to me. No doubt my wife, who’s listened to me talk endlessly about my father shit for years, is laughing her ass off at the last sentence. But, honestly, in the film I was much more interested in the universal aspects of paternal estrangement.

Over the years I have met dozens of other men—both those who never knew their fathers, and surprisingly, those who did—who shared a kind of quiet, subtle (or not so subtle and not so quiet) disconnect in their relationship to and with their fathers. It is certainly not news that men have, for many years, perhaps always, felt a gap between themselves and their fathers. A gap of communication, certainly, but also another less easily identified gap as well. For some of us, there is no relationship as mercurial and frustrating as the one we have with our fathers. And again, this is frequently true whether they raised us or not.

This “gap” has always been of interest to me. There are some men who think the whole boring subject is a crock of shit, and I should just go fuck myself. Some of those men are my relatives and good friends. But, crock of shit or not, this idea of the Longing For Dad, is at the center of this film, and its screenplay. During the nearly ten years it took us to make the film, the script evolved, revolved and devolved many times over. But each draft eventually found itself poking around the same subject: The things Men and their Sons do—and do not—say to one another.

For me personally, this sense of paternal longing intensified greatly around the time I had a son of my own. But it wasn’t until my father’s last “reappearance,” on the verge of his death, that I finally felt the full weight of my desire to know him. And of course, at that point, there wasn’t much time left.

Once he passed away, I picked up the screenplay once more. And, as often happens in writing, in Draft Thirty-Two, what I’d been trying to say all along got said pretty quickly. The script was richer, shorter, funnier and oddly, a lot more honest. It was this draft, fraught with its embarrassingly overt articulations of Father Longing, that attracted Warner Independent Pictures, and ultimately the cast.

Turner, the character so exquisitely realized in the film by Christopher Walken, is not really my father. He’s both a better man and a worse one. And Josh Lucas, playing his son Jason with equal skill, is not really me. Turner and Jason are just a couple of men, like me, sniffing around for a tiny piece of their own fathers. And almost any piece would do.

That’s the True part.