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No shortcuts in getting home

Wren Wertin

“The Road Home” toes the line between history and fantasy in the way only a film can. The indie movie is shown today as part of the Beaver Creek Film Festival at the Vilar Center. Movies begin at 10 a.m., noon, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. “The Road Home” is the last screening of the day.

Actress Corinna Harney Jones will be at the showing, and will answer questions about the film which uses her life as a jumping-off point for Melissa, the character she plays. It was written by her childhood friend Drew Johnson, who also directed.

“It parallels our real lives, just enough to get people wondering,” said Jones. “The director and I grew up together, and it’s a coming-of-age love story.”



The film spans three decades, the ’70s , ’80s and ’90s, and is ultimately about soulmates who were destined to be together. In reality, the two didn’t end up happily ever after in a marriage, but they are happy in their friendship and continue to work together.

“Through a series of mishaps and misfortunes, Melissa never felt good enough for him,” she says about Danny, who is based on Johnson. “He was the all-American great guy. She comes from an abusive alcoholic father, and her life takes different curves from that. There’s a lot in there that makes it interesting.”



One place where the details of Melissa and Jones’ lives meet is on the pages of Playboy. Jones was Miss August 1991, and went on to become Playmate of the Year in 1992. Melissa, too, is featured in the magazine. For Jones, these forays into her own life were the hardest parts of making the film.

“I think it’s one of the most difficult things when you’re acting,” she said. “When you’re an actor, it’s so fun to become someone different. You already have to dig up all the broken glass anyway when you’re doing something dramatic. So when you’re digging up yourself for a film, that’s the one thing that’s fragile. You ask, “Is this really me?’ And it is.”

Though she wouldn’t make the same decision now, she doesn’t necessarily regret that she did it.



“But that was one of those things that was never in my character to do anyway, but a flukey thing,” she said. “But I think it’s interesting for the audience to see a real person, really just a girl next door, who just so happens to grace the pages of Playboy. But he (Danny/Johnson) sees her as she really is. I’m just in a different place now.”

And that place includes building a resume of films – independent films. As a kid, she was featured in commercials and went on to be a model. But indie films are where her heart is, now.

“I’m hooked on them,” she said.

She’s attracted to retaining control of the final vision, though she admits getting any independent film finished is nothing short of a miracle. In fact, when they began filming “The Road Home,” they had no idea how it was going to turn out. What they came up with was 70,000 feet of short ends.

“And it turned out to be more beautiful than we could have ever imagined,” she said. “And the next thing you know, we said we weren’t going to compromise quality, that we need to make an incredible movie.”

Which is another way of saying they needed a serious influx of cash. An anonymous benefactor, whom Jones refers to simply as “an angel,” opened up his wallet for them. There were no strings attached, other than the understanding that some day, when somebody else needed help, they’d do the same if they could.

“We have a great cast, and great people who are attached to it,” she said. “We all made it complete, a nice journey that you take. It’s not an independent feel, it’s a major studio feel. It’s got the look and feel of a studio film, and a lot of people are amazed that it isn’t. It’s worth coming to see the movie. It’s one that’s getting a good response.”

For more information on the movie, visit http://www.theroadhome2003.com. To read more about the film festival, visit http://www.vailsymposium.com or call 476-0954. Tickets are available at the door before each movie, and are $8 per film. A short will be shown prior to each feature.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.


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