The old axiom, ‘Art imitates life,’ is a prevailing theme throughout ‘MBF’ (Man’s Best Friend), the next feature film to be shot by award-winning Lansing-based production company, Collective Development Incorporated (CDI).
From the film’s start, in the killing fields of Afghanistan in 2007, to a courtroom in a small mid-Michigan town in 2017, the lines between good and evil, right and wrong, whether or not ‘you can go home again’ (especially as a wounded veteran with PTSD and traumatic brain injury), are continually blurred.
At the epicenter of the story is the ‘Sawyer’ family. Highly successful businessman and mayor, ‘Quinn,’ is also a recent widower with two teenage sons to rear on his own. Eighteen-year-old ‘Charlie’ is the local high school’s football quarterback, a collegiate prospect and the ‘All-American Boy.’ His brother, ‘Wyatt,’ loves his father and big brother, but is highly and typically impressionable
Casting for ‘MBF’ is ongoing and nationwide in anticipation of late March-April principal photography in Corunna and Owosso, Michigan. CDI’s CEO, DJ Perry (who also plays wounded Marine Corps veteran ‘Paul Landings’), announced today that Michigan actors Dean Teaster (‘Quinn’) and Walker Fairbanks (‘Wyatt’), as well as David Michael Reardon (‘Charlie’) of Branson, MO., have earned roles.
Mr. Teaster, a long-time collaborator with CDI, has nearly 40 film/TV credits on his resume. And while he’s taken a star turn (‘Figure In the Forest’, 2002), Dean is best known for his creative choices in supporting role characterizations.
From a fire and brimstone evangelist in 2005’s ‘Heaven’s Neighbors’ (a character he draws on for ‘Wild Faith,’ due out in 2018) and his own passion project, 2007’s ‘Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town’ (where he played ‘Digger,’ an 1870’s undertaker in a corrupt town, patterned after the character his father played at a theme park in NC), Dean leaves his mark.
His performances as the ‘Poor Man’ in ‘Forty Nights’ (2016) and ‘Felix’ in ‘The Christ Slayer’ (2018), two of ‘The Quest Trilogy’ films by CDI, are evocative.
Dean’s 2014 performance in the award-winning short film, ‘Standing Post’ (written/directed by his friend and ‘MBF’ director Anthony Hornus), as a Vietnam vet dying alone in a VA hospital, a role where he has one barely audible word of dialogue, is gut-wrenching. “We did three takes on a scene where the vet takes his last breath. But first, he drops a single tear down his cheek. That was all Dean – no menthol, no eye droppers, nothing. I don’t know where he was reaching, but it was brilliant,” said Mr. Hornus. “The whole crew was choked up.”
“It’s always a great compliment when a director sees a character in you,” explained Mr. Teaster. “The challenge to bring a character to life as the writer and director saw it in the early stages, is what I strive for as an actor.”
Finding actors just right – age, look, chemistry – to play the ‘Sawyer’ brothers was methodical, yet highly successful.
Detroit’s Walker Fairbanks (‘Wyatt’), even at his tender age, is an experienced actor, singer and musician (clarinet, guitar and self-taught pianist). He’s worked in TV commercials, been in school productions and has eight film/TV credits. Most notably ‘Age of Ice’ on the SyFy Channel and 2016’s ‘Garroter.’
Enthused Walker, “It’s not every day you get to be part of a terrific story and be in a film with lots of dogs!! The film and my role will help share a story about the hardships wounded veterans face and about how even one young boy can make a difference in another person’s life, for better or for worse. I’m really excited!”
Also excited to be cast, as ‘Charlie,’ and for several reasons, is 2016 high school graduate and former quarterback David Michael Reardon, who just turned 20.
While his acting resume and demo reel is limited (he’s been in one short, ‘Taneycomo,’ a TV series, ‘Ruby Unleashed,’ and one feature, ‘It’s Time’), the young man who passed on college and a chance to continue playing football, did a series of YouTube videos that caught the attention of CDI. And his video audition for ‘Charlie,’ one of many, clearly stood out.
“I come from a large family,” explained David, “and most of the men are veterans. I have a connection and respect for the men and women who serve.” And the three dogs in his family’s home – Jace, Sadie and BB – complete the other part of the equation.
“It’s an honor to be on a film like this,” he concluded. “You work hard and hope as an actor you get an opportunity like this. Not only will I be surrounded by a very talented cast, crew and director, I’ll also be part of telling a story that brings awareness to the battles of wounded veterans, as well as parallels in the treatment of animals, especially dogs.”
‘MBF’ is slated to be distributed by Bridgestone Multimedia Group.
Follow us on social media here at
Collective Development Inc.