'Love and Honor' Film Adapts City Official's Experience Going AWOL
Film, which premieres Friday at the Penn Theatre, stars Liam Hemsworth as character based on Plymouth Mayor Pro Tem Mike Wright.
Plymouth Mayor Pro Tem Mike Wright has a word of caution for anyone who is an acquaintance of his friend Jim Burnstein, a screenwriter from Plymouth Township whose credits include Renaissance Man and D3: The Mighty Ducks.
"Be careful what you tell him, because you have no idea where it's going to end up," Wright said.
For Wright, a story he told Burnstein of going AWOL while serving in Vietnam sparked Burnstein's next movie idea: A story about two soldiers who flee to Michigan in the midst of the Vietnam War.
Love and Honor, the byproduct of Wright's story, premieres theatrically following a 7:15 p.m. engagement Friday at a sold-out Penn Theatre. The film premiered in February on video on demand services nationwide and will open theatrically in select cities after Friday's premiere.
While Wright's story served as the inspiration for the film's screenplay, Burnstein said he wasn't interested in making a documentary and took the story in a different direction, with Wright's character—named Mickey Wright in the film, portrayed by Liam Hemsworth of The Hunger Games—following a friend who receives a Dear John letter back to Ann Arbor as he tries to win back the girl.
The film is set during the week of the lunar landing in 1969, as the soldiers find their own Sea of Tranquility in the peace-and-love aura of Ann Arbor.
In reality, Wright said his AWOL stint was one of practicality; He and a fellow soldier simply could not afford to live in Honolulu, where they were sent for rest and recuperation, so they hopped aboard a free flight to San Diego.
Still, Burnstein said, Mickey Wright and Mike Wright share plenty of the same traits.
"Although, as I always point out, the guy who plays him, the young heartthrob Liam Hemsworth, Mike in his wildest dreams was never that cool," Burnstein joked.
Love and Honor is rated PG-13 and stars Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games), Austin Stowell (Dolphin Tale), Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies), Aimee Teegarden (TV's Friday Night Lights) and Chris Lowell (The Help). The film is directed by Ann Arbor native Danny Mooney. Friday's premiere screening will take place after a Q&A with Burnstein, Mooney, producer Patrick Olson and executive producer Eddie Rubin. Tickets are sold out.