Rudderless was released in theaters around the world in October. The Oklahoma Film and Music Office invited us to play music at the premier in Tulsa’s Circle Cinema. It was packed, and we got to see it a second time!
You can watch it on YouTube, Starz, Amazon, and more. Billy Crudup shines! Musicians and Oklahomans, this movie will resonate for you especially. But Rudderless will pull on everyone's heartstrings; get ready to feel all the emotions, in the best of ways.
Here's our big scene!
Recommended reading: the Whole Rudderless Story!
Eight months have passed since our last Rudderless blog. We wondered and hoped, would we make the final cut? Rudderless made its debut on the closing night of the Sundance Film Festival in January. Friend and co-star Chelsey Cope ventured up to the festival in snowy Park City, Utah to see Rudderless for the first time. She brought back good news. We made the cut, and the film had received a standing ovation! We were excited. People really liked the movie, and we were in it.
The Hollywood movie Oklahoma had been buzzing about was just a few steps away, in a hallowed out shell of a hundred year old shopping mall. Bare brick walls, high tin ceilings, and timeworn wooden floors were brimming with camera gear, and people. It was organized chaos stumbling towards magic.
Extras were corralled along the back wall, sitting on folding chairs, finishing their boxed lunches. Everybody wondered who everybody else was.
In the time between the callback and the shoot, Casey’s beard and hair had reached a larger-than-life fierceness I had never before witnessed. Friends were heckling him on Face Book. It was a conundrum. He was afraid to trim up, since the Rudderless people had loved his look, but was growing more desperate to use the buzz clippers everyday. It was spring turning to summer, the day before we headed to Guthrie, and Casey figured out a compromise. He buzzed the beard, but left his noggin undomesticated.
We also fretted about our clothes. We were supposed to bring three or four choices for the wardrobe people. We were given no direction except that we couldn’t wear red, white, or logos. The morning of the filming we bucked up, picked out some clothes, loaded our instruments, and set out north for Guthrie.
Thirty-five minutes later we were meandering around old town Guthrie, trying to locate the fictitious Trill Tavern. Instead we found a parking lot brimming with sparkling clean motor homes and trailers: the Rudderless camp! It was the first hot day of the year. Gas powered generators clamored and air conditioners hummed.
We checked in and both received a clipboard full of papers to sign. It was surprising to be assigned dressing rooms. On two doors, black stars were emblazoned with the words ‘Violinist’ and ‘Bass Player.’
Wasting no time, a young woman from wardrobe rummaged through our clothes, and settled on what we would wear. She commanded Casey to roll up his sleeves and tuck in his shirt, something I had never seen him do before.
Late one Friday night, Casey and I were taking a break from busking, having a beer downstairs at JJ’s Alley. Jeff Rodgers, owner and fellow musician, had just finished his set and sat down beside us. We discussed many topics in a friendly exchange.
Our thoughts turned to ‘Rudderless.’ Jeff told us Macy and his crew had visited JJ’s Saloon recently. He was a little star-struck, like many in OKC, and hopeful that they would shoot some scenes there.
He was crestfallen to learn that the bar where we were filming a scene was in Guthrie, and that it was built from scratch for the movie. We had heard that many technical aspects made shooting in a genuine working bar problematic, from beer labels and brand signs, to composing a scene spatially. Still, Jeff was hopeful he could somehow be a part of the movie, maybe as a bartender or an extra.
If you live in Oklahoma, you may have heard about the movie recently filmed here called ‘Rudderless.’ This is the story of how Casey and I got to play a part in this movie:
It was early April. I had the day off, and was still in bed, while a few feet away Casey was at his desk logged into FaceBook. Kari Hirst Starkey, who once ran a place called the Yippee Yi Yo Café, had posted a link on Casey’s timeline. It said something like, “Want to make your friend famous? If you know a bass player or tuba player, please share this opportunity with them: Auditions today at Freihofer Casting for the movie
‘Rudderless’ produced by William H. Macy!”