Can Derek Magyar’s “Flying Lessons” become one of the little movies that make their presence known this Oscar season among the Filmland giants? Certainly Hal Holbrook’s performance as a man in the throes of Alzheimer’s is already garnering attention, as are those of Maggie Grace as a young woman forced to return home after she bottoms out via drugs and other reckless behavior – and Christine Lahti as the mother with whom she reluctantly reunites.
“I guess it’s par for the course for a lot of these indie films to take a long time to find distribution – if they find distribution,” notes Lahti, speaking of the intense drama that actually finished production in 2010, and is getting released nationally tomorrow (12/7). “So I’m very happy the film is actually going to be in theaters and have an audience.”
Lahti tells us that “Flying Lessons” marked a reunion for her and Holbrook. “I worked with Hal many years ago off-Broadway in Country Girl, so I knew him and even though we didn’t have any scenes together in this movie, I was so glad he was in it, because knew his presence would elevate it. I also liked the director, and the characters were really dark and interesting and dramatic,” she adds.
”The secret they share is sort of the undercurrent of everything — the denial, the avoidance of this trauma in their lives really fractures this relationship. They’re each grappling with a lot of loneliness, a lot of pain. There is a lot of desperation with my character that doesn’t help with healing the relationship with her daughter.”
Lahti has made a string of independent features over the past year or so – “Truck Stop” with Evan Peters and “Petunia” with Thora Birch and Brittany Snow, to name two — along with her recurring “Hawaii Five-O” role of mother to Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin). The Oscar-winning (“Lieberman in Love”)filmmaker also has a road movie in preproduction that she wants to direct this coming spring.
Would the one-time “Chicago Hope”actress want to do another series? “I really like coming in and out of ‘Hawaii Five-O’ – it’s a great group of actors and a really fun and complex character. I don’t know if I’d want to be involved in a series for seven years at this point, but never say never,”she replies.
But right now, she has her sights set on stage work. She and her husband, esteemed TV director Thomas Schlamme, are dividing their time between coasts these days. “My kids went to college and I said, ‘Okay, it’s time to go back to New York. I’ve been wanting to move back to New York for 20 years. We sold our house in Brentwood and we’re renting. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out, where we’ll be spending most of our time, but being bicoastal right now is really fun. It’s the fulfillment of a long-time dream.”