by: Beville Dunkerley
Willie Nelson’s “Luck, Texas” — the Old West film set that sits on a corner of his sprawling Hill Country ranch — is opening its saloon doors to Hollywood once again. Waiting for the Miracle to Come, a fantasy adventure flick starring the country icon in one of its lead roles, will be filmed in the same Lone Star spot built for 1986’s Red Headed Stranger, with production set to begin in March.
Written and directed by Australian filmmaker Lian Lunson, Waiting for the Miracle to Come is about a young girl, played by fellow Aussie Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate, Adore), who finds a letter from her late father directing her to a goldmine in a remote area of the California desert. That’s where she meets two retired vaudeville stars, played by Nelson and acclaimed British actress Charlotte Rampling (Stardust Memories, The Duchess). In their talks, the couple enlightens the girl, an aspiring trapeze artist, to findings more valuable than gold.
“I wrote this script for Willie Nelson; his presence and stillness as an actor is unlike anyone else,” says Lunson. “And growing up I always wanted to be Charlotte Rampling, so bringing these two icons together on screen is a dream come true for me.”
Joining Lunson on the film’s six executive producer credits is legendary U2 lead singer, Bono, who will also write a song for Nelson to sing on the movie’s soundtrack. Lunson has a history with both musicians: She wrote and directed the 1997 documentary, Willie Nelson: Down Home, and she featured Bono in her 2005 documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man. (In fact, Waiting for the Miracle to Come is titled after Cohen’s haunting ballad, “Waiting for the Miracle.”) Nelson and Bono’s pairing is a reunion decades in the making. The rock star wrote “Slow Dancing” for the country crooner back in 1989. They also recorded the song together for U2’s 2011 Duals album.
The 81-years-young Nelson has somehow balanced nonstop touring with an impressive acting career. He made his feature film debut in 1979’s The Electric Horseman and has since starred in such blockbusters as Honeysuckle Rose, Barbarosa, Wag the Dog and The Dukes of Hazzard. The “Luck” set has remained in tact since Red Headed Stranger, the film based on his classic concept album of the same name. Robert Redford was originally set for its leading role but pulled out, making way for the country star to log one of the most memorable performances of his second career.