The 56-year old filmmaker’s reasons for tackling a teenage drug addiction drama extend back to his mother, Carol Hedges, a former alcoholic who quit drinking when he was 15 years old. And after that point, life blossomed.
In fact, it was Julia Roberts, who plays a mother battling with her teenage son’s opiod addiction over the course of the Christmas holiday, who suggested that Lucas take on the role.
And getting the chance to work with Lucas, moved Peter: “It was impactful to me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I’m the son of Carol Hedges who was an alcoholic, who found recovery and saved a lot of lives. He’s her grandson. I wouldn’t have become writer, wouldn’t have had that path if my mother didn’t find sobriety.”
After nearly losing a relative to addiction and in the wake of friend Philip Seymour Hoffman’s deathly overdose, Peter decided that it was time to tackle a drama about the opiod crisis.
In our Crew Call podcast, Hedges expounds on getting Ben Is Back off the ground with his son and Roberts. Lucas was recently nominated at the Golden Globes for Boy Erased in the lead actor drama category. Peter first broke out on the independent film scene in 1993 when he received the rare opportunity to adapt his dysfunctional family novel What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? into a working screenplay. That film went on to earn a supporting actor Oscar nomination for a young Leonardo DiCaprio (Gilbert Grape director Lasse Hallstrom told Peter “If you adapt this book for me, I can be your film school.”). Previously, Peter Hedges shared an adapted screenplay Oscar nomination with Chris and Paul Weitz for 2002’s About a Boy.