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Oklahoma-made drama "Rudderless" to make debut as 2014 Sundance Film Festival's closing-night film

by Brandy McDonnell Modified: December 10, 2013 at 11:00 am •  Published: December 9, 2013
Actor/filmmaker William H. Macy scouts locations at JJ's Alley in Oklahoma City for his Oklahoma-made musical drama "Rudderless," which is Macy's feature film directorial debut.
Actor/filmmaker William H. Macy scouts locations at JJ's Alley in Oklahoma City for his Oklahoma-made musical drama "Rudderless," which is Macy's feature film directorial debut.

The Oklahoma-made musical drama “Rudderless” will be the closing-night film at next month’s Sundance Film Festival.

The Sundance Institute announced today the films selected to screen in the out-of-competition premieres and documentary premieres sections of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, set for Jan. 16-26 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

“Rudderless,” the directorial debut for Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy, will be among the premieres at the festival.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014, the acclaimed Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “An Education,” “sex, lies, and videotape,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Precious” and “Napoleon Dynamite.”

Trevor Groth, director of programming for the Sundance Film Festival, said in today’s news release, “In many of the films selected for our 2014 Sundance Film Festival, we see fascinating characters and subjects throughout. Whether portrayed by recognized actors taking on more challenging and diverse roles, or in the stranger-than-fiction reality of our documentaries, we look forward to sharing these incredible stories with audiences at our festival.”

“Rudderless” stars Billy Crudup (“Big Fish”) as a grieving father who discovers a box of his deceased son’s original music and forms a rock ‘n’ roll band hoping to find peace in the aftermath of tragedy. The cast also includes Macy’s Academy Award-nominated wife Felicity Huffman, Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne and up-and-comers Selena Gomez, Anton Yelchin and Jamie Chung.

As previously reported, Edmond filmmakers Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison wrote the screenplay.

In fall 2008, the writer/producer pals spent about five months honing the script for “Rudderless” and then contacted Creative Artists Agency, one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies. They happened to get Macy’s agent on the phone, and within a week, he sent them an email about their story. A week after that, they were on the phone with the esteemed actor.

It then took about four years to get to principal photography.

“It’s really hard to get a big film off the ground. A lot of them take six years, eight years. I’ve read where people are like ‘We started this process 15 years ago,’” Twenter told me in a spring interview. “There’s ups and downs … especially when we’re trying to do something lofty like ‘Rudderless.’”

The movie was filmed April 21-May 27 in Oklahoma City and Guthrie using the state’s 35 percent Film Enhancement Rebate.

“Everyone associated with the movie is hoping we’ll get accepted to Sundance. That would be a dream come true,” Robinson said.

It looks like the dream is coming true.


by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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