News / Arts & Entertainment

Aging Man Plans Unusual Personal Funeral in 'Get Low'

Robert Duvall as Felix Bush
Robert Duvall as Felix Bush

Multimedia

Audio

Oscar winner Robert Duvall could be up for that top film award again for his portrayal of a crusty recluse in a quirky drama set in the American south during the Great Economic Depression of the 1930s. Here's a look at Get Low.



With his wildly overgrown beard and driving his mule-drawn wagon, Felix Bush is certainly noticed when, for the first time in decades, he comes to town and books a date at the local funeral parlor.

"You want to be at your funeral party alive?"

"Yes sir."

"But you can't have a funeral if you're not deceased."

"Hold on now. It's a detail. We can look at it."

Robert Duvall as Felix Bush
Robert Duvall as Felix Bush

The subject of much gossip and many whispered secrets, he has lived a solitary life on his farm; now, sensing he may soon Get Low (a old expression for dying), he wants to hear some of those legends before he reveals the true story.

"I want everybody to come who has got a story to tell about me."

"That probably covers about four counties."

"Then I want four counties' worth of people at the party."

"It's like a mystery in the town. People all have a different opinion of him," explains Robert Duvall, who stars as the mysterious hermit. The 79-year-old actor admits the character got under his skin.

"I like him a lot. You've got to like the people you play," he notes, "[and] I like Felix Bush. He's an interesting man and I thought about it a lot. I worked on it by thinking about it… ruminating, daydreaming - day and night - about him. Usually I just forget something when it's over, but it really stayed with me."

Left to Right: Robert Duvall as Felix Bush and Bill Murray as Frank Quinn.
Left to Right: Robert Duvall as Felix Bush and Bill Murray as Frank Quinn.

Bill Murray plays the funeral director anxious to keep the cantankerous customer satisfied. Well known for his broad comedy, Murray says this character's wry humor and somewhat shady past lets him give audiences something unexpected.

"You always want to try to surprise people with your rhythm," explains Murray,  "so you speak a certain way and then when people think something is going to happen you leave them enough time to become available for an answer that may not be the one they're expecting."

Left to Right: Sissy Spacek as Mattie Darrow and Robert Duvall as Felix Bush.
Left to Right: Sissy Spacek as Mattie Darrow and Robert Duvall as Felix Bush.

The cast also features Oscar winner Sissy Spacek as a woman from Felix's past.

"Oh for heaven's sake! A thousand years ago he was the most interesting man I'd ever met."


"There is a lot in the details in this movie," Spacek says. "It's about not so much what people are doing, but how they are doing it and their behavior."

Left to Right: Robert Duvall and Aaron Schneider
Left to Right: Robert Duvall and Aaron Schneider

Those details come from the seven-year effort that it took director Aaron Schneider to get his feature film debut before the cameras - a project that began with a true story from Tennessee.

"What actually did occur is this hermit in the mid-1930s rode into town on his mule - his only companion - and put together a funeral party while he was still alive," explains Schneider. "We did a little research. I actually went out to Tennessee and started asking questions like 'Why? Why do you think he would do this?' Just about everyone asked really didn't know. They ventured guesses, but nobody really knew: maybe vanity, maybe he had some secret… but nobody knew. So it started to become a mystery. The biggest part of development was the question why… why would somebody do something like this… and that is what we built the fiction on."

Get Low is the kind of smaller scale, independent film often described as "character-driven" (as opposed to the action-packed spectacles that dominate the box office charts). Schneider says the emphasis on character made the casting of screen veterans like Spacek and Duvall essential.

Left to Right: Robert Duvall as Felix Bush, Lucas Black as Buddy and Bill Cobbs as Rev. Charlie Jackson.
Left to Right: Robert Duvall as Felix Bush, Lucas Black as Buddy and Bill Cobbs as Rev. Charlie Jackson.

"It's a gentle page-turner," he says. "I like to call it the kind of story your grandfather would tell you around the fire or something and you have to cozy up to it. Before you can cozy up to any movie, you have to really feel for the people on screen. You have to get to know them as people. They have to be fully fleshed-out characters that are interesting to watch. So that's what we strived to create in the development of the screenplay. Then it was about making sure that we had actors that could do that, because not all of them can."

"It sounded like you said you want me to preach at your funeral party with you sitting there."

"Yes, sir."

"I've talked to God a lot about you over the years. He said he broke the mold when he made you. He said you sure are entertaining to watch, but way too much trouble."


Get Low also features character actor Bill Cobbs as a minister and life-long friend of the old recluse; and Lucas Black plays the young funeral home assistant who becomes personally involved in the search for the true story. The film was shot on location in rural Georgia, outside of Atlanta.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."