He's gone up against a collector of human body parts, a creepy next-door neighbor, and the Dark Knight himself, but in his upcoming film Back Fork, Josh Stewart is taking on a real-life epidemic: prescription opioids.
Stewart recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Back Fork, which will focus on the devastating effects of opioids on communities and families. It's a project that Stewart wrote, and it's one that he'll produce, direct, and star in as well.
With the Kickstarter campaign now underway, Daily Dead had the chance to catch up with Stewart for our latest Q&A feature to discuss the importance of his latest project, what he learned from directing The Hunted that he'll apply to Back Fork, the upcoming Insidious: Chapter 4, and his desire to do another Collector movie.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, Josh. How long have you been working on the story for Back Fork, which focuses on the devastating effects that prescription pills can have on families?
Josh Stewart: Thank you. I’ve lived with elements of this story for much of my life, so it got down to me finally just putting it on paper. I wrote the screenplay about a year ago and finally can devote my full attention to getting it made.
What has inspired and driven you to push forward in the early stages of getting this film made?
Josh Stewart: You know, it was about doing something that I really cared about. This is something I’ve created, it’s not a script I’ve been given to act in or direct. Any time the story is yours, it’s more personal. It’s your baby. What’s happening across our country with prescription pills is a travesty. Communities are absolutely sick from these pills. I needed to make a contribution to this narrative to keep this problem in the spotlight.
You have plenty of experience making indie movies, including The Hunted, which you wrote, directed, and starred in. What did you learn from that experience that you hope to apply to Back Fork?
Josh Stewart: Pre-production. Planning. Eliminating all of the potential problems before you get there, because you’re gonna have problems anyway. So, don’t get in your own way with things that could have been avoided. Also, just giving myself more time as an actor. With The Hunted, I would rush through my stuff to give the other actors all the time they needed. The directing became my focus to the point where I was not servicing the character I needed to play.
Why is it important to you to film Back Fork in West Virginia?
Josh Stewart: West Virginia has been hit hard with the prescription opioids. So there’s truth in that environment. It’s my home. I know the land, I know the people and their stories. West Virginia has so many amazing things that I feel get left out. Its beauty is second to none and the people are strong. They’ll do anything for you. All of it needs to be filmed. It’s an amazing place full of amazing stories.
Back Fork would re-team you with Criminal Minds co-star AJ Cook. What do you enjoy about working with her and what makes her the right fit for this project?
Josh Stewart: The comfort level that comes with knowing and working with someone for 12 years is invaluable. The character I wrote is full of qualities that AJ possesses. She’s an amazing talent and an amazing person. That decision was easy.
Making an indie film is hard and trying, so you want to be surrounded by people that you know are capable and are problem solvers. It’s no place for anyone but a friend.
In addition to Back Fork, fans are very excited to see you in Insidious: Chapter 4. Can you tell us anything about your character in the film and what it was like to work on that project?
Josh Stewart: That project was amazing. It was so much fun with so many talented people. But, that’s it. That’s all you get. We’re locked tight with this project. You have to check it out in October.
You also recently re-teamed with Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton for The Neighbor. Do you guys have any plans for a third Collector movie?
Josh Stewart: Man, I’d do anything to finish that series out. It inches along, then something comes up. I want it to happen. Marcus and Patrick want it to happen. Scream loud enough, and it might just happen.
Where can fans go online to support Back Fork and learn more about your film?
Josh Stewart: Go here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1159798350/back-fork
If this speaks to you, please make a pledge and share it on the Facebook and Twitter links. Every pledge is a worthwhile pledge. We can’t chop a tree down with one swing, it takes many. Thanks so much.
In addition to its official Kickstarter page, to learn more about Back Fork, visit:
Back Fork synopsis: "BACK FORK is the story of an everyman, WAYLON, struggling to hold his life and family together after a heartbreaking tragedy. He and his wife, NIDA, barely recognize themselves, let alone each other. Their inability to continue on and to heal, leaves them hopeless.
With the growing burden of the unanswered questions of why, and a heavy dose of self-blame, It’s only a matter of time before Waylon turns to the magic of the pills to make the problems disappear. He finds a kindred spirit in his sister, RAYLENE, as he sleep walks through life with addiction.
It's only a matter of time until Waylon finds himself at a crossroads. He learns that he's been asking the wrong question all along. The question isn't why, rather, where do I go from here? He's then able to see that we’re all wounded animals. Sometimes we die, but sometimes we live."
*Above photo by James Acomb.