Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 04/10/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
For movie producers, the prospect of filming a movie in Manitoba can be daunting, despite seasoned crews and aggressive tax incentives. The fly in the ointment is the absence of a direct flight from Winnipeg to and from Los Angeles or New York City. It tars the province with a reputation for "isolation."
Let it be known that actor Thomas Haden Church doesn't have a problem with isolation. The 53-year-old actor who has dabbled in TV sitcoms (Wings), acclaimed indie comedies (Sideways) and even superhero movies (Spider-Man 3) likes his privacy.
"I live in the middle of nowhere on a ranch," Church says, referring to an 800-hectare ranch in Bandera County, Texas.
"So isolation for me is synonymous with peace and contentment."
That made it a pleasure to shoot Heaven Is for Real in southern Manitoba last year, he says.
The film is based on the real-life experiences of Nebraska minister Todd Burpo and his son Colton. But in the role of Todd's best friend, bank manager Jay Wilkins, Church had no real-life corollary character to study.
"He's just sort of an aggregate character," Church says, adding that he has no shortage of role models for playing a guy who has his friend's back.
"That kind of guy is around me all the time whenever I'm home," Church says. "I would say most of my friends in Texas are like that dude. If I need them in an emergency, I know they'll be there."
Celebrating that kind of brotherly love is what drew Church to the adaptation of Burpo's book, which he only knew from its reputation in the Christian enclaves of small-town Texas.
"I wasn't looking to do a Christian film," he says. "But last year, when the script came to me and I read it, there was just something in me that said I need to explore this a little bit more.
"And I had such a great experience on it," he says. "Randall Wallace, the writer-director, just created this warm, honest open, positive set and everybody was pushing forward to be truthful and true to the book."
Off the set, Church got to indulge his penchant for solitary exploration.
"I lead a fairly lonesome existence," he says. "I have a ranch, there's a town about 40 miles away and I have a home there where my daughters live with their mother, so when I need daughterly companionship, it's available."
For that reason, Church says he wasn't any kind of social butterfly while shooting Heaven Is for Real.
"I spent a lot of time driving around in the country," he says. "I like driving around. I do that a lot when I'm in a city I'm not familiar with.
"Because I'm a rancher, I'm just fascinated with farming," he says. "I had never really experienced agricultural plains like that, the vast flatness of the farms. It's quite different from Texas."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 10, 2014 C6
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Review: 'Hercules' is schlocky but entertaining
Downey Jr.'s 'The Judge' will open TIFF
Intricate espionage plot is classic le Carré
Woody Allen on magic, movies, and life's meaning
Woody Allen back in spotlight, promoting new film
London critics fall for 'Shakespeare in Love'
Pacino, Dafoe set for Venice Film Festival
New on DVD/VOD
Review: 'Lucy' won't stretch your brain capacity
Michael Pitt on science, faith in 'I Origins'
'Sinister Six' spinoff to come next for Spider-Man
Filmmaker Michael Moore's divorce is finalized
4-day Comic Con festival kicks off in San Diego
Spike Lee helps a film student face his past
Thank Rob Reiner for world's best diner-orgasm performance
Review: Allen casts a limp spell in 'Magic'
Toronto Film Festival unveils lineup
Rob Reiner helped Meg Ryan with orgasm scene
Dafoe on Hoffman's 'tragic' death, final role
Working late in life, directors refuse to say cut
'X-Men' VR experience coming to Comic-Con
Reese Witherspoon films to debut at TIFF
Gimli Film Festival is a cinephile’s Emerald City
Box office top 20: 'Apes' holds reign with $36.3M
'The Proposal' short film headed to Comic-Con
Zach Braff on fatherhood in 'Wish I Was Here'
Terry Gilliam ponders the meaning of life
Charlie Hunnam talks about leaving 'Fifty Shades'
Court: Hoffman didn't want 'trust fund' kids
Zero Theorem comes soon to a theatre near you
'Apes' outmuscles 'The Purge' at box office
Found-footage flick launched a sub-genre
Locally shot doc to be shown on CBC
Going ape over motion capture
'Corner Gas' stars pumped to see each other
Keri Latimer runs a musical household, drawing in husband and two kids