EXCLUSIVE: Here’s an exclusive first look at Shot, a drama about three lives forever changed by gun violence that hits theaters September 22. The film stars Noah Wyle and Sharon Leal with a great performance by one heck of a newcomer in Jorge Lendeborg, Jr.Paladin acquired domestic theatrical rights to Shot, which was directed and produced by veteran filmmaker Jeremy Paul Kagan (The Chosen, Roswell, Conspiracy).
Deadline talked with Wyle and Kagan about why they wanted to do this film. Based on an original story by Kagan and a screenplay by Anneke Campbell and Will Lamborn, Shot is about Mark Newman (Wyle), a movie sound mixer who is pumping up the volume on a bloody shootout in a Western film and just hours later out is felled by a random bullet while talking to his wife Phoebe (Leal) on the street. While she tries desperately to stop the bleeding, they wait agonizingly for an ambulance to arrive as Mark frantically fights for his life. Meanwhile, hidden behind a fence across the street, teenager Miguel (Lendeborg) watches in horror while holding the still-smoking gun he accidentally misfired.
From the moment the shot rings out, Kagan’s camera daringly follows Mark in real time from street to stretcher to gurney to examining table as we watch the paramedics and medical teams in full life-saving mode. The idea is to share the total shock, physical pain, anger, fear, gallows humor and guilt and how all this effects his relationship with his estranged wife. Shot was a passion project for Kagan, who said, “I think this film wanted me to make it.”
Kagan said he had the same feeling when he directed the 1981 drama The Chosen, a film based on a bestselling book. The film starred Robby Benson and the late greats Rod Steiger and Maximilian Schell in a story about two Jewish boys — oneHassidic and the other a Zionist — who come to find common ground despite their differences. That film was widely praised by critics.
Kagan told Deadline that for Shot, he thought it was important for the viewer to see what it’s like in real time for the person who gets shot. He said that over his long career he filmed scenes where a lot of people would get shot on screen. In fact, the very first TV series he filmed, 1973’s Nichols starring James Garner, was about a cowboy sheriff who didn’t have a gun and at the end got shot and killed. Then his twin brother (also played by Garner) sought revenge. So audiences got to know the sheriff and fall in love with the character before he died.
Shot is unflinching in its depiction of real gun violence and the physical and mental struggles of its victims. The scenes are visceral and bloody at times. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is one of the best portrayals of what actually happens (Fruitvale Station comes to mind). It is a powerful film. It shows how relationships are affected and even how those in wheelchairs are treated by others with awkward, sideways glances.
Lendeborg — cast in this film before landing the role in Spider-Man: Homecoming — is definitely one to watch and easily could become one of the film industry’s leading men.
Kagan won an Emmy for Chicago Hope for the episode Leave of Absence where one of the doctors Alan Birch (portrayed by Peter MacNicol) was shot down by street thugs and how doctors then struggled to save his life. “I’ve spent time in ER rooms as gunshot wound victims came in. I have seen this. I have seen how the doctors interact and the EMT guys that are there,” said Kagan. He also filmed an episode of Taken (for Steven Spielberg) where a young father gets shot but is later cured by his alien daughter.
“In a way, this theme in terms of moviemaking has been constantly around me. About seven years ago is when this started, and I came to realize what an incredible epidemic we have. What occurred to me is that we don’t know what it really means in real time to get shot. Maybe it’s naive arrogance, but I hope this movie saves a life. And I feel that maybe if someone sees this and was going to get a gun, take their life by suicide, give a gun to someone else, that maybe they would think twice.”
Noah Wyle spent 22 days on his back and then in a wheelchair for the role. “I have known Jeremy a long time and have always admired his activist streak and ability to develop great material,” Wyle told Deadline. He said he was finishing up the final season of DreamWorks/TNT’s Falling Skies in Vancouver and was looking for something that would challenge him as an actor — the kind of role that would “strip your house down. To take your house down to the studs and then you have to build it back up again. I thought the best way to do that was to self-flagellate for 22 days.”
He said what interested him about the character was he was a guy who was always conscious of time and juggling many balls in the air during the course of his day, “and then in an instant, none of that matters” when he is hit by a stray bullet. Wyle said that he hopes, the film “could be a validating experience — to see this movie might make it feel more universally understood and make people feel less alone. To know that someone else has also walked this path before them.”
Shot releases into ten U.S. cities theatrically on Sept. 22 before being distributed on other platforms.