Parallel Lives

In Anders Anderson’s Stolen, Josh Lucas and Jon Hamm each play a father struggling to deal with the disappearance of a son. Though their losses are separated by half a century, their stories converge when Hamm’s character, a detective, devotes himself to solving a case that had long gone cold. We spoke to Lucas, who also acted as a producer, about the film:

INTERVIEW: What drew you to this project?

JOSH LUCAS: I particularly responded to the character that I played, partly because my grandfather was–not a migrant construction worker–but to an extent, he was a man who lived during that period of time, and worked, and raised a family without any money, and I felt a real connection to him, and a connection to my grandfather through him, and so I immediately responded to the script.

INTERVIEW: What was filming like?

LUCAS: We proceeded with, you know, a tiny, tiny budget. It kind of doesn’t get a lot harder in terms of independent film, but I think we made the most of it in many ways, particularly considering it was definitely a very difficult shoot. I mean we had a lot of things go down. There were the fires in Los Angeles that burned down some of our locations–all the different things that can happen on a low-budget shoot that make a movie more difficult kind of happened and, in the end, I still think there’s a really lovely, gentle, interesting story there.

INTERVIEW: You’re in one scene with Jon briefly, but you guys don’t really appear much on camera together.

LUCAS: No we didn’t at all–we were really just passing ships in the night. Part of it is that, when you’re an actor or producer, sometimes it’s the best-case scenario to stay away from the other section of the movie, where there’s another actor in that position. So, I really wanted to let him and the director do their thing, when it came to what they were doing, but we did have a couple little scenes together here and there, and we’ve obviously run into each other over the years.

INTERVIEW: Do you feel like you have a drastically different relationship to movies that you’ve produced as opposed to just movies that you’ve acted in?

LUCAS: Well yeah, personally, I always care deeply about the movies that I make, no matter what, even if I’ve had a bad experience. But, if you’re helping put something together and you’re asking friends to be a part of it, or asking actors that you know to come be a part of it, the relationship you have to the movie increases tremendously. Because the people that make the movie–the crew and the production staff and all that–are together for a much longer time than the actors. I mean, actors can come and work on the movie for five or six days and seem like they have a big, huge part in the movie, but in reality they’ve just done a short period of time. It really is a much more family experience when you’ve been involved in the whole process, particularly when you help set something up and you start it that early.

INTERVIEW: Can you tell me about Little Murder, the film you have coming up?

LUCAS: It’s a larger film with myself and Terrence Howard. It’s a very interesting dynamic between those two men, where Terrence is a suspect in a pretty serious crime, and I’m a cop who’s done something very bad during Hurricane Katrina. [My character] has been put on leave, and the first job he gets is to do surveillance on the suspect, the Terrence Howard character, and he and I actually oddly become friends. It’s a really interesting story.

INTERVIEW: And that was filmed in New Orleans?

LUCAS: Well we filmed it both in New Orleans and in Detroit, Michigan. We’re using Detroit for New Orleans these days because, as many people know, some of the sections of Detroit are as blown out and blasted as New Orleans was after Katrina. And New Orleans has sort of rebounded in a way that certain areas of Detroit have not yet.
INTERVIEW: So, New Orleans is looking better than Detroit these days?

Yeah, it’s true, in certain sections. It’s interesting, because they’re both wildly vibrant cities, I think, partly because of the pain and destruction that they’ve both gone through. It’s an odd thing, there’s great beauty too–and that’s something in that movie. The kind of beauty of these places– the sort of blasted beauty of it–and the spirit of these two places that they’re fighting so hard to rejuvenate.