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Was any part of the movie inspired by your own experiences?
The ideas came from people we’ve met. I always base characters on people I know to a certain extent because you write what you know. With the exception of Deb Lovejoy, the characters were made up.
There’s an adoption story line. Was that fabricated?
Marc and I adopted Trevor, so I’m interested in adoption on that level. I actually read about women who’ve given up babies for adoption and what they go through. That’s where the character of Tammy came from.
What will it be like to screen the movie in front of the cast in the town where the film was made?
It’s going to be fun. We’re expecting to have a full audience at the new performing arts center, which has 750 seats. Everyone is excited to see it. Even before we started shooting, people were asking when they’d be able to see it. A lot of people will be there who were involved in the film. Hopefully the whole cast will be able to make it, too.
What should people know about the film?
People always ask if it’s a documentary. It’s not a documentary. My goal is for people to have a good time and enjoy it. I call it a dramedy – it’s part comedy and part drama. I hope people leave the theater feeling good.
What’s next for the film?
Our ultimate goal is to get distribution. We’ll try by taking the movie to film festivals and to distributors directly. However we can get distribution, that’s what we’ll do. Now the real work starts – making the movie is the easy part.
Lt. Dan Band: Gary Sinise
The name Gary Sinise might be synonymous with Det. Mac Taylor of CSI: NY or Lt. Dan of Forrest Gump, but these days, to thousands of men and women serving in the military, Gary Sinise is the bass player in the Lt. Dan Band. The musicians travel the world, playing concerts for soldiers and their families. A new documentary, Lt. Dan Band directed by Jonathan Flora, chronicles Gary’s activism, which dates back to the late 1970s but really picked up steam after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. (He’s actually been playing guitar since he was a child and well before he became interested in acting.) Gary spent time talking to Sedona Monthly about the film and his support for our military.
Sedona Monthly: Your family has a background in the military. Did you ever consider enlisting?
Gary Sinise: When I graduated from high school, it was at the end of the Vietnam War. I was part of the last group that had to register for the draft. I graduated in 1973 – that was the last year they had registration for the draft. No, I didn’t want to go into the service. I never considered it. As time went on, I met various Vietnam veterans, and I met my future wife whose brothers served in the Army. I discovered that a lot was going on that I wasn’t aware of in regards to our service members and how they were treated. It was a very difficult time for our country and our military. I devoted whatever time I could to help our Vietnam veterans back in the early 1980s. I can honestly say after I got to know a bunch of our Vietnam veterans, I felt rather guilty that at the time they were serving, I was not paying attention and assumed, the way the rest of the country did, that our Vietnam veterans were on the wrong side of history. That was not the case. I wanted to make up for that by helping various groups.
Jonathan Flora said 9-11 was the impetus for your activism, but it goes back much further.
Part of having been connected to so many Vietnam veterans and empathizing with what they’d gone through coupled with the fact that our country was attacked and our service members were going off to war to fight this enemy – those two things drove me to get more involved. We’d been attacked, 3,000 people were killed on our soil by a bunch of guys with box cutters and we have an all-volunteer service that knows they are being shipped off to war. We don’t want them to come home to a nation that’s not grateful they way our Vietnam veterans did. After 9-11, I felt there was something else I could do as an American to help support our soldiers. I dove in, and as a result, I encountered so many people along the way who needed help that I’ve become very, very active.