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Music Within in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Music Within

Ron Livingston • Michael Sheen • Melissa George
DIRECTOR: Steven Sawalich

Melissa George, Michael Sheen and Ron Livingston THE CONCEPT:
Inspired by the true story of Richard Pimentel (Livingston), who was one of the primary activists behind the American With Disabilities Act. Pimentel enlists for a tour of duty in Vietnam after he is refused a scholarship on the debating team at Northwestern College. Losing his hearing due to a bomb blast, he returns home where he falls in with a bunch of misfits, including Art (Sheen), a wheelchair-bound student with a rapier wit who has cerebral palsy, and Christine (George), who introduces Richard to the world of free love. Richard’s own sense of outrage over the insensitivity toward people with disabilities propels him to champion their rights.

U.S. RELEASE: October 26 2007, Limited • Rated: R


“I had no idea who Richard Pimental was, although I knew a little bit about the plight of Vietnam vets. I had no idea that we had so called Ugly Laws. I thought that was made up, because there was no way it could possibly be true. I was assured that in fact it was true and that Richard and Art had been thrown out of a restaurant because of Art’s CP. That was in fact the moment that changed Richard’s life, because it defined who he was going to be and what he was going to do.”

“When you’re playing a real person, just because nobody outside of his immediate circle of family and friends knows who he is, it’s exactly the same process as playing someone who everybody is familiar with. So it was exactly the same process working on Art as it was working on Tony Blair (The Queen). It’s a double responsibility when you’re playing someone like Art, someone with a disability that a lot of people have, that doesn’t get shown that often on film.”

“I talked to Richard for hours and hours about Christine, because I didn’t get to meet her because she’s no longer in Richard’s life. We’d just sit on the set and talk about what kind of woman she was and how she used to wear her hair. The accent was very important to me, being non-American. So a lot of research went into it.”

“I was a little nervous about playing somebody over the course of about 35 years, because I knew we only had 32 days to shoot it. We weren’t going to be able to do any latex or change the hair too much. I had to do three different decades with one haircut because we didn’t shoot in sequence, and some days you’d have 10 minutes to go from 1960 to 1977 to 1982. That was one of the things I got the most excited about.”

“Richard had the political statement to make in the movie; but he is such a genius, it was lovely being the driving force behind that. That was my role in the film.”

“Art is in his late sixties now. Two weeks ago we went to a screening of the movie in Portland [where Art lives] and I was really scared, because it was the first time he’d seen it, and he’ll tell you what he thinks. So it was nerve-wracking watching it with him, but he really loved it and said great things about what I was doing in it.”

“The Americans with Disabilities Act is up for extension this year, and I’m proud that they’re going to show the movie in Washington to members of Congress before they vote on it again.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #689, November 2007 cover

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