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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

The Hero

by writer/director Brett Haley and writer Marc Basch

In our last film, I’ll See You In My Dreams, Sam Elliott played Bill, a handsome, mysterious man who comes into Carol Petersen's life and sweeps her off her feet. Carol was played by the incredible Blythe Danner, and our list of actors who could play the part of Bill was very short. Sam’s name was at the top of it. He read the script—and immediately said yes, to our great surprise. When our casting director told us the news I remember thinking: Holy smoke… Sam Elliott is in our movie. This movie is real.

Sam is everything you'd hope for in a person and an actor. He's a true gentleman, charming beyond belief, and he's one of the finest and hardest working actors I've ever had the pleasure of working with. What he brought to the role of Bill took Dreams to a new, unexpected level, and our experience of working with him—and befriending him, and talking about movies with him—was all it took to inspire us, in the truest sense of the word. We wanted to create a film just to have the satisfaction of watching Sam act in every scene, for 90 straight minutes. That was it.

Seeing a great performance by an actor is what we love most in movies. Throughout his decades-long career, Sam has never been less than memorable in every role he’s played. And the thing about a Sam Elliott performance is that you always want more of it. He truly can do anything—and we wanted to give Sam a vehicle in which he could do a little bit of everything, and show that he is, indeed, a true leading man.

The world already knows this, but now The Hero is all the evidence we need.