by Christopher Campbell
He’s been acting for 30 years and recently even became part of a franchise (Dukes of Hazzard), but I would never think of Willie Nelson as a movie star. Yet the country music icon and star of 1980s Honeysuckle Rose has launched a production company called Luck Films, which will produce 3-5 films a year, many featuring Nelson and/or his music. Nelson isn’t going at this alone, though. Joining him are actor/producer Kerry Wallum, actor/filmmaker Norman Macera and producers Scott Macauley and David Von Roehm. According to Variety, each release will have a budget under $3 million.
The company’s first movie, which I can’t find any info on except that it will star Nelson and start shooting in May, is called The Dry Gulch Kid. The next, titled Shoot Out of Luck, will feature Nelson and Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb as sideshow cowboys who “tangle” with the mob for a comedic hybrid of the Western and gangster genres. The film’s IMDb page adds that it will be “a dramatic, suspenseful journey that ends with a musical celebration.” Sounds to me like Stir Crazy meets The Cowboy Way meets … well it doesn’t really matter because it’s Willie Nelson and Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb going up against the mob. My 1980s-dwelling adolescent self would have been all over it.
Luck Films seems an ambitious little production company — they’re also looking into producing documentaries, subscription-based Internet distribution and music events, the latter of which seems more Nelson’s expertise (he co-organized the Farm Aid concerts). I guess there could be an audience for small movies centered around Nelson. Maybe he’s developed a new generation of pothead followers through cameos in films like Half Baked and Beerfest? I loved him in Wag the Dog, too, and I’m happy that his music has been getting a lot of play on film soundtracks of late, but Willie Nelson is the last person I would have expected to launch a venture like this in these times. I wish him luck