Dan Angel and Billy Brown
Q: How did you become involved with this project?
A: After watching the 20/20 special, we thought Porter's story was so amazing and touching. We agreed that we should seek the life rights.
Q: How did William H. Macy and Steven Schachter get involved?
A: While meeting with Shelly Brady and Bill Porter for the life rights, we were exposed to his sense of humor and how inspirational he is. The first person we both thought of was William H. Macy. We first spoke with his agent, Chris Schmidt. She thought the material sounded great and asked that we send her the materials. The next call came from Macy. He loved the story. We had also just seen A Slight Case of Murder and thought he and Schachter should be the ones to write the script. We are both writers but were swamped with a couple of television series we were working on at the time. They were able to capture the humor and the sense of community.
Q: Why did you think of Macy to play Porter?
A: We thought it would be nice to get the best actor around. We wanted someone who could bring the humor and realness to portraying this character. We wanted our "everyman" for this generation. Plus, we knew he wanted to write. It's a great advantage to have an actor who also writes well. We both thought of Macy as being the right choice, our first choice.
Were there any challenges in making this film?
A: When we first went out with the idea for the film, most of the reaction we got was that is was depressing. This movie is just the opposite, it's uplifting. The 20/20 piece received more responses than any other story in that program's history. The main challenge was being able to cover 50 years and make it believable. David Rosemont was great with the continuity, and Steven Schachter paid a great amount of attention to detail in this film. We had real artists involved: make-up artists, costume and set designers. All of this, plus a great script and fantastic cast, make you believe the story. If it didn't all come together, the film would not have worked.
Q: What do you hope the audience comes away with after seeing this picture?
A: We want the audience to be hugely entertained. We want this film to make you look around and realize how important people are in your life. We take people for granted a lot of the times. We also wanted to bring out the point that you shouldn't jump to conclusions regarding someone's abilities. This story is inspiring, and you will enjoy spending the time watching. This film shows an act of quiet heroism, and people will be able to identify with that.