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Val Kilmer is reteaming with his Real Genius buddy Jon Gries for a feature film about a real-life alcoholic who reinvents himself and puts hundreds of kids through college via his charitable donations.
Deep in the Heart stars Gries as Richard Wallrath, a Texas entrepreneur who is the biggest all-time individual donor to that state’s 4-H and Future Farmers of America organizations.
Real Genius in 1985 made Kilmer a star. He played a student named Chris at a college populated by the nation’s best and brightest, and Gries was the oddball ex-graduate student who lives — at least seemingly — in Chris’ closet. Gries played another bizarre character, Uncle Rico, in the 2004 independent hit Napoleon Dynamite.
In Deep in the Heart, Kilmer plays a character known only as “The Bearded Man,” and he resides in Wallrath’s mind as a “Christ-like figure” to help him on his path to recovery, said Scott Duthie, who is co-producing the independent film.
“Val is one of those rare actors who drove himself to the set and always got there on time. A real pleasure to work with,” Duthie said Monday from the Texas set.
The film also features a cameo of Texas Gov. Rick Perry playing himself by basically reenacting an awards ceremony where Wallrath was the guest of honor.
“Wallrath is an alcoholic who hit rock bottom and lost everything, then reinvented himself, re-established his relationships with his family and built a multimillion-dollar business,” Duthie said.
The movie is being helmed by Young Guns director Christopher Cain. It’s the third collaboration in a row for Cain and Duthie, having made September Dawn and Pure Country 2: The Gift together.
“The stories involving real-life inner struggles with positive moral messages always attract me,” Duthie said.
No distributor is attached to Deep in the Heart.
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