Kris Kristofferson Plays To Type In ‘Bloodworth’
The 74-year-old singer and actor plays the long-gone patriarch of a family tragically warped by his disappearance four decades ago in “Bloodworth.” His E.F. Bloodworth is a withered, aging guitar player who’s been worn down by the road and returns home to an unenthusiastic and sometimes hostile reception from his family.
The role had a familiar feel.
“He’s a songwriter, a singer and the pursuit of what he did was painful for the people around him, and I’ve been through that,” Kristofferson said.
The role of Bloodworth required an actor who understands how music and the pursuit of the spotlight can rewire a man – and one who could play guitar. Director Shane Dax Taylor and writer-producer W. Earl Brown discovered the list of qualified actors for such a part was short. Very short.
“There was no one else who could play that role,” Taylor said. “There wasn’t a plan B for that role. This is Kris.”
Fortunately, Kristofferson agreed after reading the screenplay adapted from William Gay’s novel “Provinces of Night” by Brown, the “Deadwood” actor who also has a key role in “Bloodworth.”
The Grammy Award-winning singer was similarly possessed by music. He was a Rhodes Scholar and a Ranger, a helicopter pilot with a golden future. Instead he chose to chase this crazy dream he had to become a singer-songwriter in Nashville. It cost him a marriage and strained his relationship with his parents.
There were a few lean years, but Kristofferson went on to become one of music’s most celebrated songwriters. E.F. Bloodworth had little to show for his years on the road. When he arrives at his old homestead, one angry son (Brown) sets him up in a sweltering old trailer with no water or plumbing, while his other two sons, played by Val Kilmer and Dwight Yoakam, ignore him as they spiral down self-destructive paths that surely seem familiar to the old man. Only his namesake grandson, played by Reece Thompson, has any interest, but he’s got troubles of his own.
A few left turns along the way and the story of E.F. Bloodworth could very well have been Kristofferson’s.
“Fortunately I ended up being able to make a living at it and doing well,” Kristofferson said. “But I still would have done it if not, I think. And I could identify with that in this character. There was a lot of times when people around me must’ve thought I was a failure. But I loved it and I never felt like a failure. But it still was hard on the people around me just as it was for this character in this film.”
Kristofferson proclaimed “Bloodworth” the best movie he’s been involved with after a recent screening at the Nashville Film Festival. His has been an eclectic career with several iconic roles over the years, including “A Star Is Born” and “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” and he remains in demand with parts in six films currently in some state of production.
After seeing the final version of “Bloodworth,” which is out in limited release on Friday, he seemed tickled with the tale.
“The thing just struck me as a labor of love, you know,” he said. “It was exactly what you hope every film will be but few of them are.”