One of the films making its world premiere at South By Southwest next week is director Chris Eyre's "A Year in Mooring," which stars Josh Lucas as a mournful drifter who takes refuge aboard a dilapidated sailboat that he purchases near the small town of Mooring. Eyre and Lucas both took some time out recently to chat with MTV about the film and give you a little SXSW sneak preview.
Lucas' Young Mariner spends a year on his boat, fixing it up while the harbor restaurant's Waitress (Ayelet Zurer) and an Ancient Mariner (James Cromwell) observe. It is a quiet tale, and a reflective one, Eyre said, with the Young Mariner's emotional evolution over the course of the year mirroring the changing weather.
"The course of the seasons really speak for the atmosphere of the movie which... really speaks volumes about his emotional state," the director revealed. "The water is a desert. [For the Young Mariner] it's this abyss of hope... of something being out there. It's a very emotional, dramatic, intimate look at a guy's year in a harbor."
The movie is ultimately about the relationships this young man forms with the people in town who are observing his arrival, the strong bonds of friendship that form between them, which is what attracted Eyre to Peter Vanderwall's script. "Ironically, the Ancient Mariner and the Waitress never ask him what happened to him," Eyre said. "They're companions to him. They know that he's suffered a loss, or losses. I'm just taken by that atmosphere."
Lucas appreciated the role of the Young Mariner for offering him the opportunity to really test himself as an actor. "It's a really unique film because it's almost like a solo performance piece in a way," he said. "You could say it's a little bit like 'Into the Wild' in that way where you watch this man buy this boat and the mystery that ensues. [You're always asking the question] 'What is he doing?' because it's quite silent in a way."
It was also a very physical test, with the movie coming together over the course of a quick 15-day shoot in Michigan that was rife with unpredictable weather conditions. "The reality was we had a production with a passionate group of filmmakers... and about 6, 7 days into shooting we got slammed by this massive blizzard," Lucas said. "So we really tried to figure out how to use it, how to incorporate it into the story."
"As [the Young Mariner] goes deeper into his own darkness... is right when this blizzard hits," he continued. "It was pretty magical... in the sense that the elements were sort of dictating [what we should do] but also firing us up to use it, as he goes deeper into his own soul, deeper into his own white winter."
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