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Casting Get Low
To get Get Low off the ground, the filmmakers knew they would need a highly skillful and creative actor in the lead role of Felix – someone capable of making a character who seems right out of a backwoods fable feel palpably real and alive. They found that quality in Robert Duvall, one of America's most diverse and adored actors, and winner of the Academy Award® for his performance as a broken-down country singer trying to turn his life around in Bruce Beresford's Tender Mercies.

Duvall has long been drawn to richly flawed, complicated characters and he immediately agreed to the role of Felix once he read the screenplay. In fact, he says it reminded him of the film that gave him his first big break: the American classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, based on the beloved Southern Gothic novel about the power of prejudice by Harper Lee, and adapted for the screen by Horton Foote, who won the Academy Award® for his work.

Duvall explains: "The writing of this script reminded me of my friend, Horton Foote, who recently passed away. There are wonderful things to this script, things like you find in a Horton Foote script—just with more of an edge. This movie offers a deep slice of humanity, and with the great actors we have, we've tried to make it as real as possible.”

He was also attracted to his character's unusual POV: a tough, no-nonsense man's open-eyed, honest acknowledgement of his encroaching demise and all that it might mean. Notes Duvall: "I thought Felix was a very important part and a wonderful character to do at this point in my career. Felix has been maybe not such a great guy at various points in his life, but now he's moved to ask for certain forgiveness at the end.”

Sissy Spacek, another actor whose work has been a staple of modern American filmmaking and an Oscar® winner for her incisive portrait of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter, was also drawn to the film's writing. "When I read the script, I never knew what was going to happen next,” Spacek says. "It's so NOT a formula film and the script had so much depth — it's a great group of characters in this odd, peculiar story that is really about something.”

Spacek was especially moved by the journey of the strong, independent widow, Maddie, the old flame who thinks she is the only person on earth to have ever loved Felix, only to discover the terrible and long-hidden reason he never fully loved her back. "My character really is the emotional center of the film,” she notes. "There's a lot of unrequited love here with both Maddie and Felix. It's kind of sweet and it's kind of sad that these two people can't really see what's going on right in front of them. And for me, what was also quite amazing is that, at my age, I get to be ‘The Girl.'”

The icing on the cake for Spacek was the chance to work so closely with Robert Duvall. She comments: "Robert Duvall has embodied this character. When he came on set, he just was Felix, which meant all I had to do was react to him. He was fantastic—working with him was so easy.”

Easy, but also intense, Spacek says. "It's been very combustible while we were making the film. Things happened in the scenes that took us to places that we didn't really expect. It just really felt like something different and wonderful.”

Spacek also was thrilled to work with another member of the cast – Bill Murray, the Oscar® nominated star whose work in such films as Lost in Translation, Groundhog Day, Rushmore, Broken Flowers and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou has explored the borderlands where comedy and drama meet.

Murray takes on the vivid role of feisty, snake-oil salesman Frank Quinn, of Quinn's Funeral Home, who matches wits with Felix as he tries to make a mint off the "living funeral,” while simultaneously attempting his own awkward stab at connection. "When I found out Bill Murray was playing Frank Quinn, I jus

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