Joni and Wes have spent years locking horns over the events that defined them, as kids. But when tragedy brings them to a rural town on it's last legs, they begin to understand the strength, sacrifice and sweet, sweet freedom of a clean slate. A comedy-drama about bucking traditions and re-framing the stories of your life, MY GOOD MAN'S GONE takes the road less travelled to find something resembling a family.
MY GOOD MAN’S GONE is a comedy-drama that follows two adult siblings, JONI AND WES CARVER, as they head down south to the town of Story, Arkansas, after inheriting the home of LLOYD, a father they never really knew. At first they have no ties to the land, the culture, and the people - who are on their way out, because of a state buyback to foreclose the town. Lloyd’s double-wide is valued at $15,000 - money that is as good as theirs, if Joni and Wes relinquish control and sign the paperwork. Joni, the de-facto parent of the two, wants to take the money, and put everything behind her. Wes, who barely remembers his dad, and bears the wounds of a failed dreamer, feels a need to know more, before signing over his share.
Everything changes when Joni and Wes find themselves in the middle of the town’s DECORATION FESTIVAL - a homecoming weekend wherein the town swells with former residents, returning to decorate their kin’s gravestones. Joni explores an attraction to the SULLY, the deputy sheriff clinging to the “idea” of a hometown. Meanwhile, Wes grows into a popular social fixture – especially with TWYLA, the woman who found Lloyd’s body. Over the course of one week these two lost siblings unexpectedly confront their ghosts, obliterate their old patterns, and run headlong into the opportunity of “starting over.”
My first experience with the town of Story came as a research trip. I had decided I wanted to make a contained, character-driven film that tested the waters of working with non-actors. I was hell-bent on taking myself out of my geographic comfort zone of Los Angeles/Vancouver/New York. And I wanted something with a rich sense of place that would be warm to the idea of a small crew coming into town and setting up shop. My connection with Story came from one of my collaborators, Cheryl Nichols, who would go on to play one of the lead roles, Joni Carver. Her father, Terry, was once the sheriff of the small town. He took me down there… introduced me around… and became a liaison of sorts, throughout the process. I wasn’t entirely sure what I would find in Arkansas, but I knew I was hungry for something quiet. A location with enough aged character that one needn’t force it onscreen… it would just “be.” And in that way, almost any story could be projected onto it, and feel lived-in, authentic, and –in a way – much larger than any one movie. This film, this “experiment” would be just one moment in the lifespan of a town. Just one story, like a patch on a quilt of so many others. One abandoned truck on the side of the road…one shack of a house with an overgrown yard… one set of travellers passing through, who show up one thing, and leave another. The aptly named town of Story, gave me all of that, and more. Over multiple trips, the lines between cast and crew and townspeople all seemed to blur. The film has moments of pure, un-staged honesty that make me smile every time I see them. Additionally, the ultimate freedom of the film’s unique production model, allowed us to take parts of the film off creative cliffs I’ve never experienced, before. This film bridges both the raw and abstract elements of the tightrope walk called “family.” Framed by the fluid, rule-breaking camera of STEWART YOST, the nuanced, quiet performances of my central cast come alive in vivid, unexpected ways. For every subtle jab at the minutiae of sibling rivalry, there is a grand attempt towards something resembling magic. Much like the town we called home for a short time, this film is alive, and rich, and strange, and so, so special.
ROBERT BAKER (SULLY NICHOLS)
Robert was born in Memphis, raised in rural northeast Arkansas, and moved to Los Angeles in 1998 to attend the University of Southern California. He's been there ever since. Credits: OUT OF TIME, SIX FEET UNDER, VALENTINE, GREY'S ANATOMY, MARVEL'S AGENTS OF SHIELD, OLD SCHOOL, THE LADYKILLERS, LEATHERHEADS, SERAPHIM FALLS, SPECIAL, SAVE ME, JUSTIFIED, TRUE BLOOD, MAD MEN, SCANDAL, TEXAS RISING, THE LONE RANGER, THE DEVIL’S KNOT, and GI JOE: RETALIATION, THE INCIDENT, THE FUTURE PERFECT.
DEANNA MUSTARD (TWYLA)
Deanna Mustard grew up in the Pacific Northwest studying dance and theatre. She holds a BFA in theatre from Cornish College of the Arts and provides the voice of Princess Daisy for SUPER MARIO BROS. video games. Deanna will make her television series debut playing Holly, on the second season of the hit Amazon series, TRANSPARENT. She lives in LA with her husband and children. Her son, MILES, played the role of her son (conveniently named “Miles”) in MY GOOD MAN’S GONE.
Nick Citton (Writer / Director)