Harry Dean Stanton may be gone, but the well-respected character actor has left a quirky, unsentimentally touching and rather delightful tribute to himself, a movie called “Lucky.”
“It was certainly a movie inspired by Harry Dean Stanton, and then Harry Dean Stanton played the part inspired by him,” explains John Carroll Lynch, a character actor almost as admired as Stanton, who made his directing debut with “Lucky.” “That’s a weird set of circumstances for an actor. He was obviously working with things in the movie that were familiar to him, but in a different context. And context is everything to an actor.”
RELATED: Harry Dean Stanton dies at age 91
Written by two of Stanton’s numerous Hollywood buddies, Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja, with many of the actor’s personal habits (watching game shows, working crossword puzzles, doing a half hour of yoga every morning, singing in Spanish) worked into the title character’s daily routine, “Lucky” is about a 90-year-old loner who, despite his solitary inclinations, is quite well-liked by the eccentric denizens of his tiny desert town.
Those folks are played by an eclectic ensemble that includes Stanton’s longtime pal Ed Begley Jr., his co-star from the 1979 “Alien” Tom Skerritt, 1950s teen idol James Darren and director David Lynch, for whom Stanton often acted, most recently in the cable revival of the “Twin Peaks” series.
It was all supposed to be a celebration of Stanton’s life and art, which numbered nearly 200 film and TV jobs since the mid-1950s. The dour-faced Kentuckian could always be counted on to lend indelible touches of soulfulness, menace or dry wit – sometimes all at once – to whatever project he took on. Everyone has their favorite Harry Dean performance , and a rewarding Stanton retrospective would have to include “Cool Hand Luke,” “Two-Lane Blacktop,” “Straight Time,” “Escape from New York,” “Repo Man,” “Paris, Texas,” “Pretty in Pink,” “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “Alpha Dog” and any given episode of “Big Love,” among dozens of others.
And, of course, now “Lucky.”
Stanton passed away at age 91 on Sept. 15, two weeks before “Lucky’s” scheduled opening. When the film was being made on a tight, 18-day schedule in the early summer of 2016, the actor showed no evidence of failing health – much like his character in the movie, who’s concerned about a fainting episode but otherwise amazes his…