Chevy was the “family” movie of 2014’s Mississippi 48 Hour Film Festival. The crew drove three hours to pull their category and after drawing comedy opted to pick a second time. On the drive back to the coast the general outline and script was worked out as I narrated and described scenes while Elijah Muller, the audio and script supervisor, wrote everything down. Upon reaching the coast it was decided to spend the first night doing more writing, planning, and get some rest. Knowing that most films used only a small number of locations, Chevy was an attempt to break the mold by using multiple locations, multiple actors, and being entirely set at night. When production did get started one of the main actors had an issue with a scene and a replacement had to be found. Filming continued all the way until sunrise, where the final scene was shot and then a pickup to get certain required dialogue. Roughly one third of the movie was unshot that would’ve made up the middle of the film and offer a lot of explanation of what was happening.
The original concept was to do an alternative spin on the family category and shoot it more of like a mob family story. The family element, although not revealed until the end of the submitted film, was loosely based on the Mormom belief of Jesus & Lucifer being brothers-in a spiritual sense. The movie opens with God having a meeting with one of his angels, Chevy, discussing old times and giving him a task. Before Chevy leaves Louise (Lucifer as a female) comes up asking about information on what her father wanted. After Chevy takes his leave he contacts a driver, as Chevy neither has a vehicle and there being an unexplained rule requiring mortal assistance for tasks.
Jerred picks Chevy up from the train depot and takes him to the apartment of Grace where an off screen confrontation takes place and Chevy runs to the car pushing Grace in and telling Jerred to drive. From this point dialogue would reveal that Grace was carrying the second coming, but due to the sun coming up and time constraints, none of this was shot. After arriving to a parking garage the three protagonists are cornered by goons and Lou (Lucifer as a male) shows up to fight Chevy and claim the girl. God shows up to intervene and the story wraps, but unfortunately due to scene cutting and time constraints the ending left a lot of people confused. With two thirds of the movie shot the first cut was 45 minutes long, which then had to be reduced to the required 7 minute mark. The submitted film was almost like an extended trailer to the actual story.
Douglas Hadley as Chevy was perfect. The character of Chevy was an inquisitive one with a general like ability on the surface, but with his own set of demons figuratively speaking for an Angel. Chevy had been on Earth for quite sometime, but in a previous existence he’d dangerously strayed as were to be shown in flashbacks during a cut train depot scene.
Walter Malone had to quickly fill the role of Jerred, a man struggling to support his family digging ditches for the county during the day and acting as a driver for nights. Again, due to time restraints much of Jerred’s history and development were cut. One of the elements that was still mentioned was at the end where God tells Jerred to go watch his daughter’s first sunrise with her, eluding to the removed element that he had a young daughter who’d been blind since birth. The character of Jerred was slated for a younger actor, but Walter came through at the end and saved the production. At the screening the character of Jerred was well recieved, but instead of being a developed character the audience was suppose to feel for, many of the lines delivered seemed out of place and were received with laughter.
Abby Harrison was a fantastic part of the team. Our original pick for the character of Kristin had to back out early on so we were allowed the time to contact an agency and find someone who fit the part even better. The character of Kristin was supposed to be of a young woman frustrated with the turmoil her unexpected pregnancy was about to put her through, but she would have no idea of the conflict that would soon follow. The movie opens with her in a distressed state and then later she is reintroduced as Chevy rescues her from Lou’s goons at her apartment. Her character is initially very outspoken, but then taken back by the revelation as the night unfolds.
James Donald has always been a big advocated for film in Mississippi and willing to put his best foot forward taking time to work on short films. When the question came to who would play God in the film, James was the instant pick during the brainstorming process. We wanted the character to appear humble, but the fashion choices were intentional. We wanted him in the few scenes he’d be featured, the beginning/Alpha and end/Omega, to be wearing a Saints jersey and later an American flag pattern.
Dallas Lloyd was initially slated to play the antagonist no matter which category was drawn. He even went so far as to grow a “bad guy scruff” in preparation for the role. When writing for the character Lou, it was known Dallas could pull the villain angle well. The antagonist is first presented as a woman who approaches Chevy and a sweet fashion, but then later as a man to assualt him. The character was meant to be jump back and forth during the middle of the film to hint at this and give some explanation of what was happening. Instead, Lou’s big reveal was towards the end of the film. Enough can’t be said by the help offered by Dallas and his friend Jason acting as PA’s, stunt drivers, henchmen, fight choreographers, and delivering the final product to Jackson, MS, a six hour round trip.
Crew & Supporters
Chevy was a group effort brought together by many people who remained on standby to offer assistance on set, script writing, transportation, and at home base. A portion of the film’s funds were raised by contributors on Kickstarter. Between the crew and supporters special thanks go to Anthony Eakes, Cassidy Logue, Brian Held, Lance Malia, Diana Sue, and Russ Clement.