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Director Chris Eska has a history of working with non-professionals, so in searching for someone to play the role of the boy Will, the filmmakers looked extensively at every school within 200 miles of their base in Gonzales, Texas, and auditioned four to five hundred kids locally (at 0:35:50 in the DVD commentary). Regardless, they found Ashton Sanders in "the most boring way possible, which was through a regular casting call" in Los Angeles. Ashton's agent submitted him and he came to at least two callbacks (at 0:48:00 in the DVD 'SAG Foundation Conversations'). See more »
At 1:04:30 when Will and Nate are returning, Will wakes up and there is no Nate. Behind him there is a tree with water bottle hanging.
When Nate shows up on the tree there is a white bag hanging in the same place. See more »
I saw you talkin to tat gal back there. Ever ad a gal o your own?
Don't. They trouble.
Not all o em.
Yeaa, all o em
[5 second pause]
But they werth it.
See more »
It's 1864. Burrell is the harsh leader of a gang of bounty hunters tracking down runaway slaves. Will is a 13-year-old negro who is used as bait and spy to uncover the underground railroad. He relies on his uncle Marcus who is Burrell's slave. Burrell is looking for Nate who is digging graves for the Federals near Petersburg. Marcus and Will set off across the lines and trick Nate by telling him that his brother is dying. He agrees reluctantly to join them back across the lines but he doesn't really trust the two strangers.
This starts with a compelling, murky, complicated relationship between Burrell, Marcus and Will. I would have loved to stay with the three of them together. The road trip offers some interesting complications of its own. However, it's not as great as the opening fifteen minutes. Nevertheless, it's an unusual compelling journey.
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