In the entertainment industry, it’s often not easy to branch out into other titles of the industry – especially directing. Although it may be done by many actors and actresses after years of work, the feat is not at all small and the level of gratitude often varies.
For one Hollywood actor, Leland Orser, the gratitude can be easily recognized in just one short conversation. Having filmed with various famous TV series such as NYPD Blue, ER, 24, and movies like Taken and Taken 2, Leland’s love for acting has spread to a love of writing and directing as well.
Never having even thought about writing, Leland was at dinner with his wife, actress Jeanne Tripplehorn, and a husband and wife who were also in the industry, when he was questioned about whether he wrote or not. He said “I don’t, I definitely do not write”. A man he admired told him that he “talks like a writer”, and encouraged him to perhaps try it out. He said “Have you ever tried writing a short story or a poem or, you know, or a novel or anything”. “No, I’ve never really formalized anything,” Leland said. He was impressed and taken aback by the man’s comments, because coming from a man like Blake Edwards, he never really thought he’d be having this conversation. They talked about the writing process, how Blake Edwards thought about it, and he found himself intrigued by his charisma and wisdom from working in the industry.
From working as an actor for quite some time, “I knew a good script when I saw one”, Leland told me.
Some time later, while boarding a Southwest flight – it happened. Leland Orser experienced what he said most writers start with: an idea dropped into his head. Getting to his seat, he asked the flight attendant for some cocktail napkins and shortly after receiving them, he began to write.
That idea eventually turned into Orser’s directorial debut: a short film titled, “Morning”, which was a story about the life of an American couple who lose their son to an accidental death. That short film, getting rave reviews, was expanded into a feature film that was picked up by Anchor Bay Films and is set to release on September 27th of this year.
The story, a love story that unfortunately many have known; the divergent paths of two people in a marriage who experience the loss of their child which rushes them into an overwhelming sense of grief and heart-break. “Grief is a very, very profound and real experience. I feel as though we as a society have forgotten how to deal with it, and how we deal with each other, and how to provide the space and the time necessary to, you know – I mean, grief is as real as childbirth, grief is as real as anything else in life and it is a part of life – it needs to be respected and it needs to be addressed” Leleand explained. Although the topic is not easy to tackle in a script, the responsibility he felt to tell a story that often goes ignored in the film industry was too overwhelming to ignore. Writing himself and his wife into the lead roles didn’t make telling the story any easier, but Leland says mentioned things that implied he more than enjoyed the process of working with his wife on a film that means so much to him.
Writing and directing his first piece made Leland feel like he’s opening a new chapter, moving into a part of the industry that he feels so good about – already so good that he’s working on more projects already.
For more about his journey in the industry and details on the film, be sure to check out www.morningthemovie.com to find out where you can catch Leland Orser’s “Morning” on September 23rd.