About a year ago, I received a call from my agent saying that I had been cast in a film called "Just Let Go". Based on the book by Chris Williams, it's the true story of his family who was killed in a car accident by a teenage drunk driver and how Chris, ultimately made the decision to forgive the young man who was driving.
My character, Jillian was a co-worker with not only advice for Chris, but also had romantic interest in him. I prepared my character and walked on to set on the film's last day of shooting. I was told the energy on set so far had been intense and quite somber because of the content of the film, but since my scenes were a bit less serious I was able to see the cast and crew get quite goofy, as weeks of filming were coming to a close.
When we filmed my scene with Henry Ian Cusick who played Chris Williams, we were able to improvise and play a little . . . usually, there's not enough time for such antics =) Film is funny in that if you're a day player, you usually meet your co-workers that day and then get down to business. So, we had to figure out our 'relationship' right on set, pretty much while the camera was rolling. How much was I going to come on to him? In what way? What was too much, and what wasn't enough?
I have to admit, I wish I had had more scenes just so I could've hung out more with Brenda Vaccaro! While I didn't get to meet her on set, I met her at the screening - and man, she is as full of life on screen as she is off! She played Chris's mother and was the perfect amount of comic relief for a film so serious.
This is Chris William's himself! His story of forgiveness is quite incredible and heart wrenching. I was not only moved by his capability to forgive but also about the notion of what forgiveness actually is.
It was mentioned the night of the screening in a question and answer session afterwards that forgiveness is not a feeling. It's a decision. It's a decision that often requires action and that most times, needs to be made over and over, until there is enough healing that can take the place of the pain. I have often thought that forgiveness is what happens once there's has already been healing.
I want to give props to Chris Clark as well as Patrick Henry Parker, the directors of this film. They had such amazing drive and fortitude to get the movie finished and were completely gracious with everyone involved. Thank you for choosing to make this story come to life and for bringing me on to participate in such a small way!