Richmond Arquette talks about Sundance award-winner This Is Martin Bonner.
Richmond Arquette, who is one of the leads in Chad Hartigan’s This Is Martin Bonner, says he didn’t always plan on following his brothers and sisters into the family business. “I come from this acting family, so for me growing up it made me decide I didn’t want to be involved in acting. I’m more of an introvert.”
After a joke from an ex-girlfriend about his siblings’ successes, he said he secretly took acting classes “and it fed something in me.”
His sister Patricia took him to Roy London’s acting classes and that’s when he really got the bug. “I started hearing there was a way to do acting that I could relate to,” he says of London’s lessons. “There was a way to put yourself in that situation so you’re working connecting something in yourself.”
He was immediately drawn to Hartigan’s script, about an older man, Martin Bonner, who relocates to Reno, Nevada to find work helping released prisoners; Arguette plays Travis Holloway, a man who faces the challenges of free life after 12 years in prison. “The first time I read it, I saw this was a guy trying despearately to get through life. I’ve always been lost in life so I identified with that.” The film’s subtle and moody story about this unlikely friendship is driven by the note-perfect performances by Arquette as well as Paul Eenhorn in the title role.
Hartigan notes the production schedule was so tight that he never got to do any rehearsals with his actors. “They are incredibly talented,” he noted of his cast.
Arguette added: “He’s the ideal director for an actor because he has an exact vision of what he wants bu the’s also open to collaboration.”
After winning the audience award in the NEXT programme at Sundance, the film’s screening this week at the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, marks something of a homecoming for Hartigan. He was born in Cyprus and attended the North Carolina School of the Arts (where he met Martin Bonner DoP Sean McElwee). Hartigan’s proud mother was in attendance as the film screened in a cinema at his old alma mater.