Before their final “True Blood” season, Anna Paquin and her costar (real-life husband) Stephen Moyer have teamed up for a different sort of project. Their new film, “Free Ride”, is the first time the two have collaborated on a feature and it is the first project they have released from their production company, Casm Films.
For this drama, 31-year-old Paquin portrays a protagonist called Christina – a single mom who escapes with her two daughters from an abusive relationship and ultimately takes extreme measures to make ends meet. Set in 1970’s Florida, the movie follows the main character who takes a perilous financial out provided by her friend (Drea de Matteo) when she goes from mansion cleaning to marijuana smuggling.
In a CBS interview, Paquin says of the character, “Christina is unconventionally trying to be a good mother,” adding, “She’s just this incredible survivor.”
“She didn’t feel what she was doing was specifically awful for her children,” Moyer agreed while adding, “She was just trying to provide.”
Many actors make it their duty to get emotionally involved with a fictional character for the sake of a better performance. However, Moyer and Paquin had a legitimate reason to empathize with the Christina character here; this isn't an artificial tale.
Based on actual experiences, the story stems from the life of the film’s screenwriter and director, Shana Betz. As the account comes from a retrospective of her childhood, 8-year-old actress Ava Acres fills the role of a young Betz, while Paquin plays her mom.
In an interview with Examiner, Betz recalled, “When mom went to jail, I was 11 and went to live with my grandmother. Up until that, my mom continued partying." She went on to say, “She wasn’t running drugs anymore but she still drank and took hard drugs.”
Despite a youth spent watching her mother take hard drugs, Betz was able to somehow emerge gracefully – without resentments or the need for therapy. Thus, what’s most compelling here is the story behind the story: a woman who transformed her negative childhood experience into art.
"Free Ride" opens today, Jan. 10. as a limited release.
Images via Youtube