TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – In just a couple of days a Terre Haute audience will get a first look at ‘The Drunk’ – a movie set in Terre Haute with producers, directors and many of the actors local. A movie that will be seen around the globe has a red carpet premier Saturday night, right in the heart of Terre Haute.
VIDEO | Extended interview with Fleschner
PHOTO | Photo gallery
The quest to make the film and the film’s message are deeper than a typical movie preview.
Frames and flashes: They show a struggle at its core.
A man at war with himself is enough to draw you and then you realize this story, is told on screen.
In fact, one may say it’s just a movie.
“This screenplay which was about a young, apathetic, drunk, who was arrested by the corrupt Prosecutor and they both have some family history and they both wind up running for Indiana governor.”
It’s a plot that immediately catches the ear.
Paul Fleschner definitely thought so and, in fact, his name, face and time, are all married to his film.
He is the director, producer, and actor and so much more.
“And I felt a connection to the script on a personal level,” Fleschner said. “Because I’ve struggled with alcohol. I think lots of people have there own demons and that particular form of substance abuse is one of mine and I thought he was really honest.”
You could call it a soul tie to the film from the very beginning. That beginning took shape years ago.
It started with an idea, from a buddy, the would be film ‘The Drunk.’
“I mean it was really compelling, that he’d written a draft in his 20s about a guy struggling with drinking too much alcohol,” Fleschner explained.
William Tanoos and Paul Fleschner: These friends go way back.
They’ve both dabbled in film-making and their schooling has sharpened their skills.
But when Tanoos wanted to write a script that would get Hollywood’s attention, the challenge was set.
“At some point, we just sat down and started working on it together. It was kind of an organic thing. We didn’t really say, ‘on that day, Paul’s going to become the co-writer, it just happened,” he said.
So the two Terre Haute men decided to go on the odyssey of making a movie, together.
Rondrell Moore: “This is a process, to bring a film from an idea stage to an execution stage, to a premier. Walk me through that…”
“Well, you just nailed it. It is concept and execution,” Fleschner said. “There are I think two sides to the coin, and it’s concept and execution.”
The drunk is a movie about the fictional grandchild of Eugene V. Debs.
The film’s main players are from Terre Haute.
Concept and execution, two crucial elements to any film and Paul Fleschner and William Tanoos had their concept.
“A young, apathetic, drunk, running for Indiana governor, ” Fleschner said.
But the execution would take a bit more time.
Script revisions, crew additions, money, money, and more money.
“A lot of the things were just amazingly donated by talented people. But still it wasn’t totally free,” Fleschner added.
So, they hustled and talked to the right people.
Suddenly things started clicking.
Even Hollywood stardom got on board, Tom Sizemore, and the Body Himself
“So, Jesse The Governor Ventura was a pleasure to work with. He showed up and was ready to act, “according to Fleschner
One element of the film was crucial.
“The film doesn’t take place in a vacuum; it takes place in Terre Haute. There’s no doubt about that.”
The sites, the sounds, the people, the town.
“Also, there’s a Terre Haute pride thing. You know, how can we show this place has interesting locations, beautiful locations. It has an attitude. It has a personality,” Fleschner says.
Then the production started, they worked for months, and finally the prize.
Their film will be distributed nationally, and most likely all over the world.
And then it becomes clear this project for Paul was never just a movie.
“I think to back track a second, the whole personal element. I think i was inspired by, i read somewhere that Martin Scorcese said, the more personal a film is, the more you know it’s cinema,” according to Fleschner
The man who himself had struggled with alcohol in the past had a life event on screen.
But as these Terre haute movie makers show an honest interpretation, and a lot of work, can do a lot.
Even for a drunk.
The premiere is this Saturday.