It may not be the conventional block buster or action-packed movie that crowds flock to in theatres, but Neither Wolf Nor Dog promises to deliver the emotion and story of a movie you won’t forget.
The star of the film, David Bald Eagle, argued as possibly one of the most interesting men in the world before his passing in 2016, was everything and more director Steven Lewis Simpson could have hoped for the character.
The movie is an adaptation on the popular book of the same name by author Kent Nerburn. The largely fictional story that is based on experiences Nerburn had tells of an author, played by Christopher Sweeney, who is recounting his travels through Lakota country with an elder (Eagle) who wants to distill his thoughts and experiences into a book.
“It’s more hitting them in a way like a classic Hollywood film,” said Simpson.
He had been approached by the author to turn the book into a film after Nerburn had seen another of Simpson’s films. For a number of years Simpson said that Nerburn had been told by different people in Hollywood that the novel would be a movie, but nothing would ever come of it.
As he set out to find a cast, Simpson struggled to fill the elder role until he came across Eagle.
“He wasn’t just what I had in mind but he was beyond my wildest dreams,” he said. Simpson shared that if you marked all of the filming locations on a map, in the centre of all of those would basically be Eagle’s home.
“He had an even closer connection to the Wounded Knee Massacre than the character,” the director shared. It was for this reason that, for one of the most important and influential shots in the movie, it was shot at Wounded Knee. Simpson threw out the script and let Eagle improvise the entire scene, making it spill with emotion and sincerity.
Simpson added that when the shot was over, Eagle looked at his co star, Sweeney, and said that he had been holding all of that in for 95 years, which is how old he was when the film was shot.
“There’s a deeper impact with it,” Simpson said. The film is also Eagle’s last project as he passed away at the age of 97 in 2016.
The film has been in theatres for more than two years playing on silver screens next to multimillion dollar blockbusters and many other spaces. It will be screened at Glasgow Square on April 11, 7 p.m. with tickets $12 each.
“It’s a film that really takes people on a journey,” said Simpson.