Crown and Anchor took home the Audience Choice Award and Best Local Film Award at its Nickel Film Festival premiere this summer. A grander audience can check out the film in theatres in St. John’s, August 24th, as well as Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland, and Virginia.
There will be an exclusive Q&A with the film’s star and producer Michael Rowe following the 7pm screening here on the 24th.
Many people know of Mt. Pearl’s Matt Wells, from his days in the Newfoundland band Bucket Truck (who shared stages with the likes of Slayer and NOFX), or his days as a Much Music and MTV TV Personality.
He has gotten a few film credits to his name since then, as a writer, actor, director, and even producer. The film was co-written by, and co-stars Michael Rowe — also a local musician turned actor, and former member of Bucket Truck.
Rowe is best known for his portrayal of the iconic DC Comics’ antihero Deadshot in Arrow. Unlike his former bandmate, Rowe’s intro to the film business wasn’t through Much Music, but rather, a sibling. After Bucket Truck broke up, Rowe headed out west to Vancouver where his brother, Andrew, was beginning his career as a filmmaker. The brothers have had success on joint film projects.
“Since the band ended,” Wells says, “we are constantly looking for projects to create together and I had an idea loosely inspired by some personal experiences from witnessing addiction in my family,” Wells says, adding that Michael became very involved in the writing process, and suggested Wells send it to his brother Andrew for notes.
“Michael and Andrew had been making some really cool short films together in Vancouver, and eventually the 3 of us did one called ‘The Business of Acting’ that Andrew wrote. There was a special energy on that shoot and I knew it was the first of more projects to come.”
In Crown & Anchor, Michael plays the role of James Downey, a straight-edge cop confronting family demons as he returns home for his mother’s funeral. Wells plays his firecracker cousin, Danny, who drowns out their family drama with drugs and booze. When their lives intersect, and the past collides with the present, the two unravel with tragic consequences. The intense drama is set in St. John’s, to a blistering soundtrack.
Naturally, there are some perks of filmmakers knowing each other well, in terms of pulling off a movie together. “Trust is the biggest thing,” Andrew says. “There was no need to spend any time building a level of trust because it was already so strong.”
Andrew says this trust allowed them all to be comfortable, “and when you’re comfortable, you’re able to do your best work on a movie set, because you’re not afraid to try things.”
Andrew also points out that as a director, “it was extremely easy to communicate with them, and they with me, so we could work at an extremely quick pace, which was very necessary given our short shooting schedule.”
Michael lives in California, Andrew is in Kenora, and Wells is in Toronto, but it was important for them to film this one at home. “With Andrew in the mix we all had a shared desire to make a film in St. John’s that showed a different side, a darker side, and not focus on the postcard shots. St. John’s is beautiful but it’s also raw and edgy,” Wells says.
“We wanted to make a movie that tapped into that edge and that was visually unlike anything else we had seen filmed at home before.”
Other actors in the film include Natalie Brown (The Strain), Robert Joy (CSI: NY, The Hills Have Eyes) and Stephen McHattie (Orphan Black, Seinfeld) and our very own Andy Jones.