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This So-Called Disaster: Sam Shepard Directs the Late Henry Moss (2003)

R | | Documentary | 7 May 2003 (USA)
Director Michael Almereyda's documentary on the weeks just prior to Sam Shepard's stage production of his play "The Late Henry Moss."

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Ray
...
Earl
...
Esteban
Sheila Tousey ...
Chonchella
...
Himself (as T-Bone Burnett)
...
Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Himself
...
Taxi Driver
Ann Militello ...
Herself
Shona Mitchell ...
Assistant Stage Manager
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Storyline

After the American playwright and actor Sam Shepard had played the role of the ghost in Michael Almereyda's Hamlet, Shepard invited the filmmaker to document rehearsals for his The Late Henry Moss, that he staged with Nick Nolte and Sean Penn in leading roles. Almereyda and his crew filmed the last three weeks before the première. The film combines interviews with Shepard, his actors and staff with images of the rehearsals. The result is both a portrait and a unique glimpse of top actors seeking their way through the material. The film also offers a survey of the career of Shepard, including a report of his stormy relationship with his father, who died in 1984. Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

7 May 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Late Henry Moss  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$8,435 (USA) (23 April 2004)

Gross:

$45,195 (USA) (25 June 2004)
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Company Credits

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(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

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User Reviews

 
intriguing behind the scenes documentary
22 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The documentary "This So-Called Disaster" is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Sam Sheppard's semi-autobiographical play "The Late Henry Moss," which debuted in San Francisco in 2000. Being himself the son of an alcoholic father, Sheppard drew upon his own personal experience for this cathartic tale of two brothers' coming to terms with the death of their own alcoholic father. The actors in this production include Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Cheech Marin and Woody Harrelson. As Penn says at one point, Sheppard's plays often deal with the theme of men trying to forge their identities in a world with no clear-cut definition of what a man is supposed to be. This theme filters through in both the snippets of the play we see being worked on in the rehearsals and in the on-camera interviews with Sheppard and many of the principal performers in the production.

It's a tribute to both the power of Sheppard's writing and the talent of the actors playing the roles that we find ourselves wanting to see this play merely from the glimpses we get of it in rough-cut form. Anyone interested in playwriting and fine acting will be mesmerized by the nuts-and-bolts aspects of this film, as it shows us just how a theatrical work, involving some of the greatest talents in modern drama, ultimately comes to fruition.

It's no "Looking for Richard," but "This So-Called Disaster" has much to offer the serious theaterphile.


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