or How Chris Makes The Pivotal Moment Count
….. by TeeJay
A politically-savvy fifteen-year-old learns the true nature of politics after accepting the position as youth campaign spokesman for a determined congressman in the feature directorial debut of twenty-year-old actor-turned-director Lucas Elliot. When Congressman Lawrence Connor (Steven Weber) speaks before an assembly of high school students during his run for the Senate, the enthusiastic and well-informed response that he gets from fifteen-year-old student Owen (Alex D. Linz) results in an invitation to join the campaign as Connor’s youth spokesman. Subsequently exploited in a tireless campaign that includes television commercials, posters, radio advertisements, and speaking engagements, Owen growing distaste for the cut-throat world of politics prompts him to reconsider his career or risk losing his innocence. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
This coming of age drama by 20-year-old writer-director Lucas Elliott follows a young boy who becomes the poster child for a Congressman’s run for Senate and learns what really goes on behind closed doors in the political world.
Having always been interested in politics, Elliott penned the script three years ago and says the research he put into the project is what makes it stand out. “I found some incredible stuff and I was like ‘wow,’ this is what the story needs to be about,” referring to the two years he spent doing what he calls “undercover investigative research” in the political arena. But that’s the most he’ll say. “I shouldn’t talk about it or I’ll get some people pretty angry.”
The film follows 15-year-old Owen (Alex D. Linz) who meets Congressman Lawrence Connor (Steven Weber) at a school event and after dazzling the Congressman with his political knowledge is asked to come aboard his campaign as his youth spokesman. As Owen is put on TV commercials, radio ads and posters, his innocence is tested by the cut-throat political machine he’s now a part of.
Elliott admits his age and those of producers Karuna Eberl, Andrew McFarlane and Aaron Himelstein (all in their early 20s), did have drawbacks, but their vision for the film was impressive. There was also another advantage. “When trying to get stuff together a lot of your work is done over the phone and over email so people didn’t know how old I was,” Elliott says. Along with Linz (“Max Keeble’s Big Move”) and Weber, they also attached character actors like Diane Delano, Erick Avari and Don McManus.
Shot on Super 16mm by Jim Timperman around Los Angles in June, Elliott is currently editing back home in Boulder, Colorado. The film is produced through Blue Cactus Pictures. Executive Producer is Chris Lux.
Fifteen-year-old Owen Norris is at the top of his graduating middle-school class, and wants to know how the world works. He has no friends, spends almost of his time studying, and has an almost nonexistent relationship with his white-collar parents, whom he sees for ten minutes a day. But his boring suburban life changes when, he meets Congressman Lawrence Connor and his young nephew Caleb. Connor is immediately taken with Owen’s intelligence and wit, and Caleb is immediately taken with Owen. As Caleb and Owen become close friends, Connor offers Owen a chance to learn how the world of politics really works by acting as his “youth campaign spokesman” for the upcoming Senate primaries. What starts as a fun way to make some extra summer cash takes a dark turn as Owen learns the frightening truth about the deranged secret world of politics in which he is now involved in.
Tony Blake. He’s one of the victims of the “deranged secret world of politics”. We all have a pretty good idea what that’s about since the Mark Foley scandal, don’t we?
Chris only has one scene in the movie, but it’s a pivotal moment in the movie and very important to the story. And it’s very intense, possibly the most intense thing I’ve seen him playing since the breakdown in American Gun.
There’s a whole lot of people listed on IMDb, but the only name that strikes me as familiar is Michael Welch, a.k.a. Chris’s co-star in Joan of Arcadia, playing Joan’s geek brother Luke. The third time Chris is working alongside him, next to JoA and The Beautiful Ordinary. Unfortunately, all of Michael’s scenes were cut from the movie, Michael is not in the final cut.
Also, this movie was written and directed by Luke Eberl (a.k.a. Lucas Elliot) and produced by Aaron Himelstein, both good friends of Chris’s whom he’s worked with before (Joan of Arcadia, Sugar Mountain, Fellowship).
The only special feature is the theatrical trailer that isn’t even worth mentioning.
Here’s something from an LA Weekly article named “Cool Times” that mentions the movie and Chris:
This afternoon, a number of regulars will drop by the girl’s small round table: “Mitch,” a “writer” who used to live in Maui and now lives in his van with his dog; “Mark,” who last week pitched the girls a celebrity cooking show idea that featured Ricky Martin; and Luke, Frankie Muniz and a leggy Canadian named Jessica who had a bit part in Muniz’s film Agent Cody Banks. One of Luke’s other best friends, 18-year-old Chris Marquette, who plays Linderman in Freddy vs. Jason, and who looks eerily like a mini–John Cusack, will also do a swing-by.
One of the other aspects of life at the Oakwood that can add to its Peyton Placeness, or worse yet, Survivor-like quality, is that everyone doesn’t always achieve the same level of success at the same time. For example, two of Luke’s best friends, Chris and Frankie, both of whom Hallee has known since she was a little kid, have been working nonstop recently, whereas Luke hasn’t booked an acting gig in a while.
“I’m so happy for them,” says Luke, sincerely. “It’s wonderful. But when all my good friends are working and stuff, it’s difficult. It’s true, to some extent it’s trashed my self-esteem. But, obviously, I have enough faith in myself to be out here doing what I’m doing. It’s sort of that spine-of-steel mentality.” Luke admits there is also an art to dealing with those who have achieved less than yourself professionally.
“You try to help all the people you care about as much as you can, definitely. But at the same time you gotta be careful that you don’t burn out the connections for yourself.”
Read the whole article, a very inside look at kid acting in Hollywood from the kids’ perspective: http://www.read24seven.com/cooltimes.html
To explain the different titles, the movie was released in 2008 under the name “Choose Connor” and also published on DVD in the US with that title. In the process of an international release, the title was changed to “The Politician” in late 2009.