A new movie opening this weekend at the IFC Center is a film-festival favorite called "Shotgun Stories" and I am happy to see my old friend Mike Abbott playing a major part and wanted to help spread the word about this film. It's slated for a Nashville screening at the Belcourt in June.
I met Mike waaaay back in the early 1990s when he was just a young teen actor and performer living here in Morristown with his parents and going to high school, and since he began his career in earnest, he has found terrific success. I'm not surprised - he was a most energetic and inventive performer, somewhat fearless, and very talented. "Shotgun Stories" had a write-up today in the NYTimes, calling the movie: "The film is a here-and-now American potboiler and a stripped-down parable that can be appreciated by any culture."
The story is set in modern-day Arkansas and focuses on two clans of warring brothers, both fathered by the same man - once a raging alcoholic who did not even give his sons proper names, he abandons them, finds his way to sobriety and then starts another family. At his funeral, the two families, one stuck in poverty, the other more affluent, and immediately clash and begin a brutal feud. Mike plays the the role of a son named Cleaman.
The official website of the movie is here, complete with a very compelling trailer. The movie has earned very high praise from Roger Ebert, Variety (which called the acting here "pitch-perfect"), and has earned awards at numerous U.S and foreign festivals. Fine work by a first time director, Jeff Nichols.
And poor Mike says in his recent email he's had to travel to Italy for a screening at a Festival in Alba, saying "The cheese was good. The wine was even better." Yeah, I'm sure you're suffering, bucko. He also just got engaged (a moment captured by a NY television station as he popped the question in Times Square on New Year's Eve).
His alumni notes from the North Carolina School of the Arts has more on Mike's work:
Michael will be playing Brick in a '08 National tour of "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" with Montana Repertory. Michael has appeared Off Broadway in productions of; "Othello", "Taming of the Shrew", and "Pudd'nhead Wilson"(Lucille Lortel). His regional theatre credits include; "Bat Boy:The Musical"(Portland Center Stage), "Dearly Departed"(Tennessee Repertory Theatre), and the World Premiere production of "BROTHER WOLF"(Traid Stage), among others. He has appeared in numerous workshop productions (including "The Duke & The Duchess" starring two-time Academy Award Nominee, Sylvia Miles), is a member of John Houseman's acclaimed 'Acting Company', and has appeared nationally as Elvis Presley (including The Kennedy Center and the HBO & BRAVO Networks).
Still, congrats go to the boy - sorry, Mike, you'll always be younger than me and thus a boy. He's been most successful on the stage in New York and I'm sure the movies will welcome his work. Keep your eye out for him. Oh hey - I did find this picture. He looks mean, doesn't he?