Lance Catania was one day into the Michigan production of his psychological thriller Cables last fall when he made what he calls “the toughest decision I’ve ever made.
“I shut my own movie down, so I could regroup and figure out what it would take to tell the story the way I envisioned it.”
The writer/director/DP had partnered with a Michigan production company for a microbudget shoot of his second feature as director. “I realized I just didn’t have the resources that I needed to tell the story the way I wanted,” he says.
So Catania called Noel Olken, a former Chicago location manager who produced Catania’s 2005 horror movie Cup of My Blood. Together they’re raising the $4 million budget from private investors and production companies, though they’re prepared to make the movie for $2.5 million if necessary.
Kip Pardue (Hostel: Part III) stars as an Afghanistan war vet with post-traumatic stress disorder, trying to rebuild his marriage and his cable business, haunted by dreams of a killer that he fears may be real.
“On the surface it’s a thriller,” Catania says. “But the beneath that level, it’s about the American military’s inability to provide assistance to those soldiers suffering from the debilitating physical and psychological effects from the longest running war in American history.”
Estella Warren (Planet of the Apes) plays Pardue’s wife. Antonio Jaramillo (Meet the Browns) plays a combat buddy whose reappearance unlocks suppressed memories. Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) plays TK
Sam Auster, director of The Return of Joe Rich, which Catania shot, put Catania in touch with L.A. casting director Donald Pemrick and Dean Fronk, who helped attach the four leads.
They intend to begin preproduction in late summer and wrap by late fall. While they plan to shoot in L.A., “financing and other state incentives may play a role in filming elsewhere,” Olken says. “Illinois is definitely being considered.”
JD Gregory is associate producer. They’re in talks with KNB EFX Group for special effects makeup, and military entertainment consultants MUSA.
Unlike most of his past work, Catania won’t be shooting Cables himself. “One of the major lessons from the Michigan experience was that even though I know exactly what I want the film to look like, I really need to be there to support the actors,” he says.