'Kyle XY' Star Matt Dallas, 'Twilight's' Charlie Bewley Team Up to Tell Soldiers' Tales
Steven Grayhm's feature film "Thunder Road" finds the trio of actors traveling cross-country and meeting with soldiers who recently returned from Afghanistan.
Actor-writer-director Steven Grayhm, Kyle XY star Matt Dallas and Twilight’s Charlie Bewley are spending six weeks of their summer road tripping across the country. The purpose: research for their first feature film Thunder Road, which explores the difficulties many U.S. soldiers face upon their return to civilian life from active duty in Afghanistan.
"We have challenged ourselves to capture the most honest and accurate depiction of a soldier's journey without forgetting those who are indirectly affected by the full spectrum of this war," Dallas tells The Hollywood Reporter.
"The inception of Thunder Road came from a place of deep empathy and humble curiosity since hearing our former President declare war over my radio that evening in March 2003,” says Grayhm, who conceived the project five years ago and wrote the screenplay, which focuses on three soldiers’ tales. “I found myself continually checking the minute-by-minute updates online as the invasion began and have had a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that I, just like my beloved Grandfather who was a POW during WWII, was living in a time of War."
The trio is traveling to VA hospitals, military bases and hometowns in a Prius donated by Santa Monica Toyota. The journey has a philanthropic end as well as the three plan to stop in Joplin, Missouri to help with Tornado relief efforts and Louisiana, where post-Katrina building lags behind.
Says Bewley of the experience so far: "It is difficult to sustain emotional detachment, from the exhilaration of deployment to the tragedy of loss and the eventual homecoming. You walk into a room with preconceived notions of what war is like and it’s just different when you’re sitting there hearing it first hand."
To chronicle their journey, Dallas, Garyhm and Bewley, who formed production company Astoria Entertainment, created the Facebook page Into The Heart Of America: A Soldier's Story, which they update regularly. They’ll continue traveling until early September.