Indie filmmakers have a history of tackling tough subjects that big studios won’t touch. In “Here Awhile” that subject involves death with dignity.
The film stars Anna Camp (“Perfect Harmony” “Pitch Perfect”) as Anna, a terminally ill woman who returns to Oregon to reconnect with her estranged brother Michael (Steven Strait) while simultaneously making the heart-wrenching choice to end her life – putting to use the unique "Death with Dignity Act" in Oregon. From here we watch as they navigate repairing their relationship, and struggling with the big decision Anna proposes to Michael: to help her end her life on her terms.
If the subject matter sounds pretty heavy, that’s because it is. Director Tim True shows us a very raw, scaled back look at what life might look like for someone in this situation. Camp says this role was a welcome change from the roles she usually plays.
“I usually get typecast as the singing, happy, Type A blonde bubbly whatever kind of gal,” Camp says. “I read this script and was weeping by the end of it.”
Camp says she was shocked the filmmakers wanted her in this role but was excited for the challenge. She says she hopes the story will draw viewers in while everyone is spending more time at home these days.
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“There’s something so beautiful about a story that has a very clear meaning,” Camp says. “I’m hoping this will be a movie that will reach a lot of people and that you’ll want to see in your home, on your couch so that you can grab a tissue next to you.”
The film also stars Joe Lo Truglio (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) playing against type as well. Lo Truglio plays Gary, a tech expert with Asperger's Syndrome. He describes taking on the role as “terrifying” but says True helped him navigate the nuances of the role and credits research for his portrayal.
“Tim was the perfect director because he’s an actor as well. And he understands how insecure we can be especially with roles that are well outside our comfort zone,” Lo Truglio explains. “He was able to set up a lot of interviews with people with Asperger's and I read a lot of books. So I felt like I had some ground underneath me.”
For actors, stepping into roles other than what they’re known for can be scary. They never know if audiences will accept or reject their creative pursuits. In “Here Awhile” both Camp and Lo Truglio gracefully ease into their characters and audiences will enjoy seeing them immersed into this very real world. Lo Truglio is known for his hilarious take on Boyle in NBC’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and hopes fans of that show follow him to this film.
“I hope so because this movie will kind of bring out some important topics,” Lo Truglio says. “I hope that anyone who comes to see this movie, regardless of which side they land on in terms of this issue, that they try to come at it with compassion. And they try to acknowledge the courage of the person who is asking them for help.”
“Here Awhile” is available on VOD now. It stars Anna Camp, Steven Strait, and Joe Lo Truglio. It’s directed by Tim True and was co-written by True and Csaba Mera.