Prolific helmsman based in Oklahoma Mickey Reece – Now to Fancy with “Country Gold” – will partner with producer “It Follows” David Kaplan on his next feature film “The Cool Tenor”, Variety discovered exclusively.
The film, set in a vaguely dystopian future and co-written by John Selvidge, sees a retired widow who marries an unstable jazz enthusiast but becomes obsessed with avenging her late husband’s death.
“It’s more of a thriller, but it’s still funny. You’ll never have to worry about me making a serious movie,” Reece assures, intending to keep his trademark sense of humor intact.
“I didn’t know I had a unique sense of humor until people told me. Basically, I try to turn every film into a comedy. It’s always been pretty much the same for me: ‘What can we do for fun?’” he says.
Currently in cast and looking to shoot later this fall, “The Cool Tenor” will be filmed by Samuel Calvin and produced by TIFF Midnight Madness programmer Peter Kuplowsky. Producer Kassie Gann will reunite with Reece after “Country Gold.”
Reece, who started making films in 2008, has already directed 29 feature films. Her 2021 horror “Agnes” set in a convent, premiered in Tribeca and received international attention. But while his next title will be an even bigger undertaking, he doesn’t plan on changing his DIY habits anytime soon.
“People will have to calm down about some weird bullshit real quick so I can get into [A-list] festivals”, he gets carried away.
“I don’t plan to suddenly develop a project for a few years. I’m pretty addicted [to making movies quickly], so it would be difficult. But I’m getting old, so we’ll see.
“Every movie I made was exactly what I wanted it to be. There was no compromise, and I think that’s because we kept that low profile and made some trucking here in Oklahoma. I sure don’t want to get sucked into this machine of being a director for hire. I love where I am.
Courtesy of Mickey Reece
“Country Gold”, about country star Troyal Brux (played by Reece himself) who “sold more records than Michael Jackson and Madonna” and finally meets his hero George Jones (Ben Hall) in 1994 in Nashville, echoes some of these conflicts.
“It’s a very personal story. As much as I can be personal, given my style,” he says.
Although he didn’t initially intend to play the role, he quickly saw parallels between his path and the conflicted entertainer who is also “just a boy from Oklahoma.” While lovingly referencing country record artist (Troyal) Garth Brooks.
“I’ll never reach the heights of Garth Brooks, but my work is getting more attention than ever. It’s inspired a lot of soul-searching,” admits Reece.
“I always try to approach it the same way, though. I like to dip my toes into all genres and I have five ideas a day about movies I want to do. But it’s a much more process. complicated than before.
Thinking of country music films, from “Coal Miner’s Daughter” – starring Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn – to Altman’s “Tender Mercies” and “Nashville”, Reece also saw his new film as a “spiritual successor at 2017’s “Mickey Reece’s Alien” about Elvis Presley.
“I have this fascination with American iconography,” he says, praising Baz Luhrmann’s recent take on the singer’s enduring appeal.
“I loved it. It’s fantastic! But a lot of people, when they do a biopic of an artist, they try to do it exactly, even if it’s still their own interpretation. I went a bit further: it doesn’t have to be true. It wasn’t supposed to happen at all. So let’s see what these characters would do in this situation.
Despite riffs on the lives of recognizable stars – George Jones died in 2013 – Reece describes his story as an “alternate universe”, where reality and fantasy regularly collide.
“I this, it is clear that it is a satire. Besides, I doubt Garth Brooks will ever watch this movie. But I think he would like it.
Courtesy of Mickey Reece
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