Exclusive Video Interviews – GRACE IS GONE

     December 6, 2007

Opening in limited release tomorrow is “Grace is Gone,” the first mainstream movie that deals with the war in Iraq that hit me emotionally. Yeah, a few studios and movies have tried to target the war on terror and they’ve had big stars with big ideas. Unfortunately, none of them had an emotional core that I connected with.

But at last years Sundance Film Festival I saw “Grace is Gone,” and by the end of the movie people were in tears all around me. I’ll admit I had a few myself.

Here’s the synopsis:

John Cusack plays a man named Stanley Phillips and he could see his entire life clearly. He dreamed of patriotic service and was destined for a military career. He came close to that dream until it was cut short simply because of his poor eyesight. Now he’s serving customers at a home supply store while his Sergeant wife is fighting in Iraq.

Equally as awkward at home as he is at work, he’s raising Heidi, their twelve-year-old daughter and her 8-year-old sister Dawn. Although a loving father, Stanley is unable to conform to a more affectionate role and the girls miss their mother deeply.

While tolerating his job and stumbling through parenting he is abruptly awakened when tragedy strikes. Ill prepared to deal with it himself, he is at a complete loss contemplating how to tell his children. Desperate to delay telling the children they embark on a spontaneous road trip. Grasping to give them their last moments of innocence, Stanley reveals a softer side as they travel to Dawn’s chosen destination – Enchanted Gardens Theme Park. The farther they drive the closer they become yet Stanley knows he must face the inevitable task of changing their lives forever.

“Grace is Gone” won the Audience Award and Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival and it won the International Critics Award at The Deauville Film Festival.

While it’s not easy to watch a film that tackles what it’s like to lose a loved one, I absolutely recommend “Grace is Gone” not only to see John Cusack give one of his finest performances, but to see what the war in Iraq is doing to countless lives all around our country. And to those who think the movie will be anti-war or pro-war…that’s the best part. The film doesn’t take a side… it just presents the info without pandering to the audience.

So to help promote the film, I recently got to site down with the stars and with writer/director James Strouse. I hope you enjoy them.

John Cusack

  • After he asks about my beard, I asked him how hard was it to get out of character when he wasn’t filming.

  • He produced and starred in the movie, and the film won the audience award at Sundance. I ask what the entire process has been like.

  • I ask about War Inc. which is one of his next movies.

  • Shanghai movie talk.

James Strouse

  • It’s been a year since winning at Sundance. What’s the year been like and what was Sundance like?

  • I ask about the writing process and how difficult was it to not pander to the audience

  • Clint Eastwood does the score. How did that happen?

  • Was he working on anything before the writers strike?

Shelan O’Keefe and Gracie Bednarc

  • I ask how the press day has been going

  • What was the most challenging part of making the movie

  • Did they get the acting bug from working on the film

  • Had they seen any John Cusack movies before filming

  • How was it working with John

  • What was Sundance like

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