Walker Payne (2006)
Andrew Klavan will write Crescendo, based on a story by Matt Williams. The story centers on a world-class concert violinist, consumed by visions of her dead father, who struggles to maintain her sanity as she is forced to confront her past.
Klavan, a novelist whose books include Don't Say a Word, which was turned into a thriller starring Michael Douglas and Brittany Murphy, has penned the upcoming thriller One Missed Call with Ed Burns. He is repped by UTA and Evolution.
Alex Paraskevas will write House of War, a political thriller about a burned-out medical student who discovers a piece of classical music connected to a planned political assassination. Paraskevas wrote Walker Payne, starring Jason Patric, Sam Shepard and Drea De Matteo.
Wind Dancer also is developing Motel Galileo, a family comedy to be penned by Joe D'Ambrosio and Tom Teves. Galileo follows the adventures of Jimmy, a teenager sent to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle at their motel.
McFadzean, a veteran writer-producer, is involved with three projects for Wind Dancer, including Hello, I Love You, The Fulton Street Gang and The Motel Galileo. He plans to develop four to five additional projects over the next year.
"I'm thrilled to put my energies into family comedies. After eight years of Home Improvement, I know there is a substantial audience out there," McFadzean said. "My goal is to keep production costs down while delivering the highest quality entertainment."
McFadzean's previous film producer credits include What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt; Where The Heart Is, starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd; Firelight, starring Sophie Marceau; and Walker Payne, with Jason Patric and Sam Shepherd.
He has been a partner in Wind Dancer since its inception.
NEW YORK -- There is little in Matt Williams' television resume (Different World, Roseanne, The Cosby Show) that would signal the style or subject of Walker Payne. This low-key drama, set in the 1950s Midwest, deals with the world of illegal dog fighting.
While Payne offers a compelling performance by Sam Shepard, who seems to become a more iconic cinematic presence with each passing year, the film lacks the thematic resonance necessary to help audiences get past its unsavory subject matter. It recently had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Jason Patric stars as the titular, "Hud"-like figure, a down-on-his-luck quarry worker who has just been laid off. He recently has gone through a nasty divorce from his wife, Lou Ann (Drea de Matteo), and when he is unable to come up with child-custody payments, she offers him a deal: Give her $5,000, and she will give up their two young daughters and leave town.
The problem is, there is no way he can come up with the money. That is, until he is approached by Syrus (Shepard), a mysterious stranger who shows a strong interest in Walker's beloved pit bull, Brute. Eventually, the desperate Walker agrees to let his dog compete in the brutal contests, with inevitably tragic results.
Despite the novelty of its subject matter, there is little that is compelling here in terms of characterizations or situations. Although he well fulfills the physical demands of his role as a small-town Lothario, Patric is unable to infuse his turn with the charisma necessary for us to truly empathize with Walker's situation. The same is true of the thinly drawn supporting figures, from de Matteo's shrewish ex-wife to Kadee Strickland's sympathetic girlfriend.
Only Shepard as the quietly ominous Syrus truly compels. Wearing his tightly tailored suits and speaking in his high reedy voice, the actor cuts a quietly Mephistophelean figure who seems the very essence of American capitalism at its worst.
Screenwriter-director Williams does a strong job of creating a vivid sense of the film's period setting, and he has rendered the dog-fighting scenes with a powerful intensity. But ultimately, Payne seems like too much effort expended for too little result.
Wind Dancer Films/Persistent Entertainment
Director: Matt Williams
Screenwriters: Matt Williams, Alex Paraskevas
Producers: Judd Payne, Matthew Rhodes, Matt Williams
Executive producers: David McFadzean, Dete Meserve
Cinematographer: James L. Carter
Editor: Ian Crafford
Production designer: Paul Peters
Costume designer: Kristin M. Burke
Walker Payne: Jason Patric
Audrey: Kadee Strickland
Lou Ann: Drea de Matteo
Chester: Bruce Dern
Syrus: Sam Shepard
Running time -- 113 minutes
No MPAA rating
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