Lone Star


2h 14m 1996

Brief Synopsis

The sheriff of a sleepy border town investigates his predecessor's murder.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
1996
Distribution Company
Sony Pictures Classics
Location
Eagle Pass, Texas, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 14m

Synopsis

Two off-duty sergeants from an Army post near the Texas border town of Frontera find skeletal remains and a rusty sheriff's badge on an abandoned rifle range. Frontera's current sheriff, Sam Deeds, son of the late legendary lawman Buddy Deeds, begins an investigation. Sam quickly learns that the bones are those of the corrupt sheriff his father was reputed to have run out of town, Charley Wade. Sam's hostile relationship with his father had driven him out of Frontera and only since the old man's death has he returned. Now that Mayor Hollis Pogue and the city council plan to name the new courthouse after Buddy Deeds, Sam's old feelings about his father resurface. In the border towns that bridge the Rio Grande, against a tapestry of historical, familial and individual passions, promises and deceptions, "Lone Star" unfolds.

Crew

Abby Antweil

Grip

Alexis Arnold

Assistant Production Coordinator

Sara Ballon

Production Assistant

Michael Barry

Sound

Melody Beam

Set Production Assistant

Bruce Bennet

Music

Jack Bennett

Special Effects Coordinator

Jorge Betancourt

Driver

Juan Betancourt

Driver

Dan Bishop

Production Designer

Jamie Bishop

On-Set Dresser

James Kyler Black

Art Director

Kevin P. Boyd

Video Assist/Playback

Josh Brockman

Post-Production Assistant

Diane Broussalian

Camera

Bart Brown

On-Set Dresser

Darryl Bruffett

Other

Roy Bryson

Hair Stylist

Susan Bucciarelli

Other

Robert Buncher

Other

Buzzy Burwell

Best Boy

Scott Byrd

On-Set Dresser

Maria Camino

Makeup Assistant

Don Carr

Props

Carolyn Cartwright

Assistant Set Decorator

Fernando Y Cedillo

Production Assistant

Kam Chan

Foley Editor

Ben Cheah

Other

Marko Costanzo

Foley Artist

Billy Cude

Driver

Shay Cunliffe

Costume Designer

Mary Cybulski

Script Supervisor

Mason Daring

Original Music

Mark Shane Davis

Key Grip

Monica De Armond Borde

Post-Production Assistant

Jose Luis De La Garza

Other

Rolando Dehoyos

Driver

Jim Dicuffa

Transportation Captain

Stuart Dryburgh

Director Of Photography

Stuart Dryburgh

Dp/Cinematographer

Chris Fielder

Film To Tape Transfer

Arlene Fishbach

Music

Nathan Fitzgerald

Set Production Assistant

Yolanda B Flores

Driver

David G Fortis

Other

Jan Foster

Associate Producer

William Franko

Carpenter

Dianna Freas

Set Decorator

Art Garza

Grip

Eugene Gearty

Editor

Bill Girard

Driver

Dr. David Glassman

Other

Lewis Goldstein

Editor

Sevilla Granger

Wardrobe Assistant

Shari D. Gray

Costumes

Galia Hardy

Assistant Director

Curtis Herbert

Grip

Mark Heredia

Art Assistant

Mario Herrera

Other

Bill Hershey

Other

Lori Hicks

Makeup Artist

Edison Jackson

Grip

Brent L Jones

Grip

Janet Kalas

Other

Avy Kaufman

Casting

Frank Kern

Foley Editor

Paul Kloss

Electrician

Robert Labrecque

Production Manager

Stephen Lang

Key Rigging Grip

Mitchell Linden

Best Boy Grip

Jimmy W Lindsey

Assistant Camera Operator

Caitlin Maloney

Post-Production Supervisor

Caitlin Maloney

Art Department Coordinator

Mark Manthey

Grip

Mitch Marovitz

Advisor

Lizzie Curry Martinez

Casting Director

Sandra Martinez

Special Thanks To

Tammye Mcdavid

Production Assistant

David Mcgill

Steadicam Operator

Martha Mendez

Makeup Assistant

Sylvia Menno

Dialogue Editor

Christopher Meyer

Electrician

Paul Miller

Producer

Ted Morris

Assistant Camera Operator

Brian Watson Nordheim

Assistant Camera Operator

Brian O'kelley

Assistant Director

Mario Ontal

Assistant Editor

David Orr

Color Timer

Maura Osbourne

Electrician

Caroline Hall Otis

Other

Alan Pappe

Photography

Deborah Parker

Location Manager

Shane Patrick

On-Set Dresser

Peter Pearce

Electrician

Leo Perez

Driver

Geri Lynn Peterson

Assistant Property Master

Bill Pierson

Dolly Grip

Buster Pile

Construction Coordinator

Gerarda Pizzarello

Other

Gene Pope

Carpenter

John Powditch

Assistant Director

Bruce Pross

Foley

Angela Quiles

Production Coordinator

Carla Raij

Assistant Location Manager

Scott Ramsey

Gaffer

Nic Ratner

Music Editor

Caroline Rempher

Hair Stylist

Maggie Renzi

Producer

Robert B. Reynolds

Grip

Matthew Richardson

Grip

Michael G. Richer

Foreman

Paal Romnes

Production Assistant

Walton Rowell

Electrician

Walter Royle

Grip

Mayes C. Rubeo

Wardrobe Supervisor

Gilbert Sanchez

Carpenter

Nick Sanders

Craft Service

Nick Sanders

Medic

John Sayles

Screenplay

John Sayles

Editor

Philip G Schneider

Property Master

Phil Schriber

Transportation Coordinator

Dave Shacter

Music

Alisa Siegel

Camera Assistant

John Sloss

Executive Producer

Renee Smith

Production Assistant

Shari Sontag

Accounting Assistant

Danielle Sotet

Post-Production Accountant

Stuart Stanley

Foley Editor

Gail Stockton

Adr Editor

Philip Stockton

Sound Editor

Kenny Strickland

On-Set Dresser

Mike Sullivan

Other

Jessie Tellez

Driver

Susan Todd

Hair Stylist

Plummy Tucker

Associate Editor

Jesus Vallejo

Driver

Ricardo Villarreal

Other

Steve Visscher

Foley Editor

Kevin Vizard

Caterer

Ralph Watson

Steadicam Operator

Rob Lee Whitlock

On-Set Dresser

Jennifer C Winslow

Boom Operator

Clive Winter

Sound Mixer

Juan Zaragoza

Carpenter

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
1996
Distribution Company
Sony Pictures Classics
Location
Eagle Pass, Texas, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 14m

Award Nominations

Best Original Screenplay

1996

Articles

Lone Star (1996)


In a 1996 Cineaste magazine interview, director John Sayles cuts to the core of his multi-layered, hard-hitting Tex-Mex crime picture, Lone Star (1996). Sayles points out that Lone Star is "a story about borders." He says that Texas, the state where it's set, is "unique among the United States in that it was once its own country. It was a republic formed in a controversial and bloody way. And its struggles didn't end with the Civil War. There is a kind of racial and ethnic war that has continued."

Sayles isn't dealing simply in geographical borders. "In a personal sense," he says, "a border is where you draw a line and say, 'This is where I end and somebody else begins.' In a metaphorical sense, it can be any of the symbols that we erect between one another- sex, class, race, age." In an interview with TV's Charlie Rose, Sayles put it more bluntly, "Although it's set on the Texas-Mexican border, a lot of what I was thinking about when I was writing it was Yugoslavia and how you wake up one morning and have somebody come to your house and say, 'Well, here's a gun. You're a Serb. Let's go kill your next-door neighbor.'" Sayles brings those blind allegiances to the forefront in Lone Star.

There are long-kept secrets in the town of Frontera, TX, right on the border of Mexico, and Sheriff Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper), finds that people on both sides of the line would prefer that the truth not be revealed. A skeleton has been found on the outskirts of town, along with a Sheriff's badge from 1957. Sam's attempt to identify the body, and, possibly uncover a murder, is met with a great deal of resistance, if not outright antagonism, by the townspeople.

That would be an interesting story all by itself, but the narrative slips back and forth between the present day and 1957, when Sam's father, Buddy (Matthew McConaughey), was the Sheriff in Frontera. Back in those days, a vicious racist (Kris Kristofferson) preceded Buddy as the town's main law officer, but Buddy chased him out of the county, and no one ever saw him again. Through a collection of overlapping stories – and, from a cinematic perspective, through a series of overlapping themes – Sam is led into the dark heart of the place where he grew up, and possibly into the dark heart of his own father.

Sayles has hired a lot of the same actors over and over again throughout his career. He always works with a small budget (Lone Star came in at $4.5-million), and says landing performers who know the drill is a way to save both time and money. Chris Cooper had worked with the director on Matewan (1987) and City of Hope (1991), so Sayles credits their established rapport with making Lone Star a much easier shoot.

Also, in order to save time trying to draw coherent performances from his actors, many of whom were non-professionals, he wrote up short biographical sketches for each of the more than 50 characters. "I don't want to be on the set and find (the actors) playing something in a certain way, and when I ask why, they say, 'Oh, my uncle burned me with an iron when I was 5 years-old.' Because actors will do that, they'll fill it in if they think they need to. So I'd rather fill it in for them, so they're grounded."

Luckily, Sayles didn't have to jump through his usual hoops trying to find financing for Lone Star. He had worked on a screenplay for director Rob Reiner, the head of Castle Rock Productions, and the company was willing to finance the entire picture. Five million dollars would probably cover the lunch tab on one of Reiner's larger productions, so there wasn't as much of a concern in financing the movie. Lone Star received positive reviews, and Sayles was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar®. And it made its money back, which is the key in enabling Sayles to continue with his successful but still under-the-radar career.

Producers: R. Paul Miller, Maggie Renzi
Director: John Sayles
Screenplay: John Sayles
Cinematography: Stuart Dryburgh
Art Direction: Kyler Black
Music: Mason Daring
Film Editing: John Sayles
Cast: Stephen Mendillo (Sgt. Cliff), Stephen J. Lang (Sgt. Mikey), Chris Cooper (Sheriff Sam Deeds), Elizabeth Pena (Pilar Cruz), Oni Faida Lampley (Celie), Eleese Lester (Molly), Joe Stevens (Deputy Travis), Gonzalo Castillo (Amado), Richard Coca (Enrique), Clifton James (Mayor Hollis Pogue), Tony Frank (Fenton), Miriam Colon (Mercedes Cruz), Kris Kristofferson (Sheriff Charlie Wade), Jeff Monahan (Young Hollis), Matthew McConaughey (Buddy Deeds), Joe Morton (Colonel Delmore Payne).
C-135m. Letterboxed.

by Paul Tatara
Lone Star (1996)

Lone Star (1996)

In a 1996 Cineaste magazine interview, director John Sayles cuts to the core of his multi-layered, hard-hitting Tex-Mex crime picture, Lone Star (1996). Sayles points out that Lone Star is "a story about borders." He says that Texas, the state where it's set, is "unique among the United States in that it was once its own country. It was a republic formed in a controversial and bloody way. And its struggles didn't end with the Civil War. There is a kind of racial and ethnic war that has continued." Sayles isn't dealing simply in geographical borders. "In a personal sense," he says, "a border is where you draw a line and say, 'This is where I end and somebody else begins.' In a metaphorical sense, it can be any of the symbols that we erect between one another- sex, class, race, age." In an interview with TV's Charlie Rose, Sayles put it more bluntly, "Although it's set on the Texas-Mexican border, a lot of what I was thinking about when I was writing it was Yugoslavia and how you wake up one morning and have somebody come to your house and say, 'Well, here's a gun. You're a Serb. Let's go kill your next-door neighbor.'" Sayles brings those blind allegiances to the forefront in Lone Star. There are long-kept secrets in the town of Frontera, TX, right on the border of Mexico, and Sheriff Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper), finds that people on both sides of the line would prefer that the truth not be revealed. A skeleton has been found on the outskirts of town, along with a Sheriff's badge from 1957. Sam's attempt to identify the body, and, possibly uncover a murder, is met with a great deal of resistance, if not outright antagonism, by the townspeople. That would be an interesting story all by itself, but the narrative slips back and forth between the present day and 1957, when Sam's father, Buddy (Matthew McConaughey), was the Sheriff in Frontera. Back in those days, a vicious racist (Kris Kristofferson) preceded Buddy as the town's main law officer, but Buddy chased him out of the county, and no one ever saw him again. Through a collection of overlapping stories – and, from a cinematic perspective, through a series of overlapping themes – Sam is led into the dark heart of the place where he grew up, and possibly into the dark heart of his own father. Sayles has hired a lot of the same actors over and over again throughout his career. He always works with a small budget (Lone Star came in at $4.5-million), and says landing performers who know the drill is a way to save both time and money. Chris Cooper had worked with the director on Matewan (1987) and City of Hope (1991), so Sayles credits their established rapport with making Lone Star a much easier shoot. Also, in order to save time trying to draw coherent performances from his actors, many of whom were non-professionals, he wrote up short biographical sketches for each of the more than 50 characters. "I don't want to be on the set and find (the actors) playing something in a certain way, and when I ask why, they say, 'Oh, my uncle burned me with an iron when I was 5 years-old.' Because actors will do that, they'll fill it in if they think they need to. So I'd rather fill it in for them, so they're grounded." Luckily, Sayles didn't have to jump through his usual hoops trying to find financing for Lone Star. He had worked on a screenplay for director Rob Reiner, the head of Castle Rock Productions, and the company was willing to finance the entire picture. Five million dollars would probably cover the lunch tab on one of Reiner's larger productions, so there wasn't as much of a concern in financing the movie. Lone Star received positive reviews, and Sayles was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar®. And it made its money back, which is the key in enabling Sayles to continue with his successful but still under-the-radar career. Producers: R. Paul Miller, Maggie Renzi Director: John Sayles Screenplay: John Sayles Cinematography: Stuart Dryburgh Art Direction: Kyler Black Music: Mason Daring Film Editing: John Sayles Cast: Stephen Mendillo (Sgt. Cliff), Stephen J. Lang (Sgt. Mikey), Chris Cooper (Sheriff Sam Deeds), Elizabeth Pena (Pilar Cruz), Oni Faida Lampley (Celie), Eleese Lester (Molly), Joe Stevens (Deputy Travis), Gonzalo Castillo (Amado), Richard Coca (Enrique), Clifton James (Mayor Hollis Pogue), Tony Frank (Fenton), Miriam Colon (Mercedes Cruz), Kris Kristofferson (Sheriff Charlie Wade), Jeff Monahan (Young Hollis), Matthew McConaughey (Buddy Deeds), Joe Morton (Colonel Delmore Payne). C-135m. Letterboxed. by Paul Tatara

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 21, 1996

Expanded Release in United States June 28, 1996

Expanded Release in United States July 3, 1996

Expanded Release in United States July 12, 1996

Expanded Release in United States July 19, 1996

Released in United States on Video April 8, 1997

Released in United States March 1996

Released in United States June 1996

Released in United States August 1996

Released in United States 1997

Shown at South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, Texas March 8-17, 1996.

Shown at Nantucket Film Festival June 19-23, 1996.

Shown at Drambuie Edinburgh Film Festival August 11-25, 1996.

Shown at Rotterdam International Film Festival January 29 - February 9, 1997.

Began shooting April 26, 1995.

Completed shooting June 11, 1995.

Limited Release in United States June 21, 1996

Released in United States Summer June 21, 1996

Expanded Release in United States June 28, 1996

Expanded Release in United States July 3, 1996

Expanded Release in United States July 12, 1996

Expanded Release in United States July 19, 1996

Released in United States on Video April 8, 1997

Released in United States March 1996 (Shown at South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, Texas March 8-17, 1996.)

Released in United States June 1996 (Shown at Nantucket Film Festival June 19-23, 1996.)

Released in United States August 1996 (Shown at Drambuie Edinburgh Film Festival August 11-25, 1996.)

Released in United States 1997 (Shown at Rotterdam International Film Festival January 29 - February 9, 1997.)

Limited Release in United States June 21, 1996