Ethan Hawke has started production on Blaze, directing a drama based on the life story of late C&W songwriter Blaze Foley. Pic is an adaptation of Living In The Woods In A Tree, and Hawke wrote the script with author Sybil Rosen, Foley’s life long love. Newcomer Ben Dickey plays the title character and shooting is just getting underway in Louisiana and Mississippi. Who’s Foley? He is the unsung, hard-living songwriting legend of the Texas Outlaw Music movement that spawned the likes of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. Foley was born in a tree house, and was killed in a friend’s living room from a gunshot wound. He wrote hit tunes that included If I Could Only Fly and Election Day.
“I’ve loved Blaze’s music for a long while and like many have been moved by the events of his life, but after reading Sybil Rosen’s beautiful memoir, this project became a priority,” said Hawke. “Now we hope to bring his heartbreaking story and musical brilliance to a much larger audience.” Much of the film is the love story between Foley and Rosen, Hawke’s writing partner on the drama.
Dickey is an accomplished songwriter and musician in his own right. Alia Shawkat plays Rosen, and Rosen plays her own mother. Charlie Sexton plays Townes Van Zant and Josh Hamilton rounds out the principal cast. Hawke, who as an actor was last seen in Magnificent Seven, has completed the Luc Besson-directed Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets and the Brian Smyrz-directed 24 Hours to Live. He is producing Blaze with his wife, Ryan, for their Under The Influence banner, along with Jake Seal (who worked with Hawke on Born To Be Blue) and Cinetic Media’s John Sloss (who worked with Hawke on Boyhood).