I’m an impossibly proud mother. I have three wildly talented, kind, thoughtful, creative, interesting, funny and intelligent sons. Two of them are actors, and I have the privilege of directing them in The Wasting.
I always say this project is close to my heart. And it is, for many reasons: the complex story, the relatable characters, the scary parts, the understanding of the difficulties of the passage from childhood into adulthood, and the idea that it might start a conversation about anorexia that makes the world a better place, in some small way.
But of all those compelling reasons to care, it’s my boys that are the driving force that kept me writing countless unpaid drafts, shooting trailers out of my own pocket, and giving up paying TV work to focus on making The Wasting a reality.
My boys are Brendan Flynn, who plays Kai, and Sean Stevenson, who plays Liam. (Curious about the three different last names? Stevenson is their dad’s name, and Flynn is a stage name that Brendan picked up from our ancestral Flynns who came over in the potato famine)
Three years ago, on draft number eight bazillion, I realized the film needed a character like Kai, so I wrote it for Brendan. Why not? If your own mother won’t help you get a break in the cut-throat world of film, then she’s not much of a mother, if you ask me. He has all the skills I need for Kai – the ability to play a young man whose emotions control him, a gift with the fiddle and mandolin, and it doesn’t hurt that he looks like a movie star. Said the proud mom.
A year later, on draft number nine bazillion, I realized the rivalry between Kai and his friend Liam worked better as sibling rivalry. And in my house there happened to be a young actor who was a perfect physical match for playing his brother. Sean was in his last year at Toronto’s Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, tearing it up on his way to winning the school’s drama prize. He’s now at London’s Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, a drama school that’s insanely hard to get into (out of 4000 applicants, they chose 28) He’s gifted, intuitive and perfect.
My sons are more than actors in this film. They are its inspiration. Their lives, their own coming-of-age, and that of their friends, was played out before my eyes in the living room of our tiny house, where all the kids hung out and where we couldn’t get away from each other. I watched them, fed them cookies, listened to the way they talk and the things they talk about. By example and instruction, they helped me develop the characters of the four young leads, and to find their voices. That’s why there’s so much truth in the story and the characters of The Wasting.
We’ve been on this journey together for a long time. We’ve encouraged each other through the darkest of times. We’ve shared the excitement when good things happen and the film takes another step forward. Our family is part of The Wasting’s DNA, and you will see that love and chemistry in the finished film.
We posted a new video on the Indiegogo campaign site last night, in which Brendan talks about ghosts, goblins and six-legged creatures. Midway through, he tells us why The Wasting is so important to him. He says “Because it’s a family project.”
That was my favourite thing he said.
I'm the writer-director and more or less the mother of this film.