I don’t know that we’ve ever had a premiere movie at the 7th Street Theatre. But, this weekend, we get to show the 2011 film The Last Ride, a story of the last three days of Hank Williams’ life. We’re the first theatre in the state to show this film. We found out about it though an email that went out to the LHAT (League of Historic American Theatres) group on April 19th. We talked it over and decided we could handle another movie this year, and squeeze it in before the 7th Street Kids move in. Since it’s about Hank Williams, we figure it should do well. It’s going to be released to the major movie theaters on June 22nd. It’s been a lot of fun so far. We didn’t have time to get any sponsors, however, we were fortunate to get Bigfoot 93.7 to step up and co-sponsor it with us. This has been a huge help and we thank them. Also, Marisa Salzer from The Montesano Vidette wrote up a great article in their May 31st Edition here. Thank you for the well-done research Marisa!
After the article went to press, Marisa received a return phone call from Henry Thomas who stars as Hank Williams in the film. Here’s a transcript of Marisa’s phone conversation with him:
When the story about the film, “The Last Ride” went to press Wednesday, the star of the show, Henry Thomas, called me back — just as I was reading it — hot off of the press. Thomas apologized for missing my deadline, but while I had him on the line, I asked if I could ask him a few questions about the film, and proceeded to have a really nice conversation about the story and the filming from his perspective.
The film tells the story about final three days of Hank Williams Sr.’s life before he died at the age of 29, alone, in the backseat of his car. It is directed by Harry Thomason, written by Howie Klausner and stars Henry Thomas, Jesse James, Fred Dalton Thompson and Kaley Cuoco.
Thomas has had an active career in the performance arts since his first movie at the age of 10. He is well known for starring in the blockbuster, E.T. (he played the character Elliott). In addition to films and T.V., he is a musician. Thomas spoke a little bit about his music, he writes songs and plays the guitar. He might have been a little bit modest because his director said that he also has a band and does tours around the country.
When approached by Harry Thomason, the director of “The Last Ride,” to be a part of the film, Thomas was already familiar with Hank Williams’ work. He grew up in Texas and his dad’s family is from Alabama.
“What was special about it (the story) was that it showed Hank as a wounded guy … I mean, he died in the back seat of his car,” Thomas added with an incredulous laugh.
Thomas said one of the reasons he agreed to do the film, was because the story portrayed Hank as a person instead of a superstar, an idea he can personally relate to. For example, he said, when there’s a car accident, everyone always sees what happened, but not who the people were in the accident.
When asked about how he expects moviegoers to react to the film, he said, “it was really interesting to me to see the reactions.” In particular are those die-hard Hank fans. As the film continues to reach a broader spectrum of viewers, he is anxious to see how people interpret it. “It is a story, no one really knows what happened” to Williams in those final days, he explained.