Henry Ian Cusick, previously known for his character in the hit television series ‘Lost,’ and now ‘The 100’ has a new-found passion for independent film. One of several completed indie films, “Frank vs. God” is now available to see on all digital platforms and DVD. As Frank’s (Cusick) home is destroyed by a tornado, the widower tries to use his insurance to recoup his damages only to find out that “acts of God” are not covered. The semi-retired lawyer, still in the throws of grief, lashes out against the Almighty, coming out of retirement and using his unique legal prowess to sue Him for damages. Cusick, the Peruvian-born Scottish actor, sat down to talk with me about this film, family, and all things entertainment.
Watch the trailer here
Cusick’s unique upbringing included moving around the continent which he feels has given him a sense of commonality among all—something he hopes his children will have as well. He shared, “I think it’s pretty good to move kids around at an early age. They get a sense of travel. They get a sense of the world, that it’s not that big and that we are pretty much all the same.” He credits his lack of a “xenophobic attitude” to his childhood experiences and loves learning new things, particularly about different cultures and their customs.
This unique background doesn’t stop with his upbringing as he is a theatrically trained actor giving him, from this critic’s perspective, an leg up on others in his field. He admits that while “…most actors in the UK start off in theater, that’s our bread and butter…” the pay is significantly better in television and film. “You could do one day of TV [which] would be the equivalent of three weeks work in the theater.” Like his experiences as a child, he cherishes his dramatic training which helped him become more well-rounded as an actor. “I learned things that I wasn’t really interested in like poetry and a lot of classical stuff. [There are] a lot of things I still use today which seems very obvious, but when I see young actors…they do classes and then they’ll get a job on a TV show. I just don’t feel that’s a full training.” However, Cusick certainly sees there is more than one path to lead to a goal, but, he adds, “…for the longevity of the profession, I would get good training in theater to fall back on.”
So how does a classically trained theatrical actor get involved with independent film? The answer, Stephen Lang. Accepting a lead role in “the bizarre” indie film “The Girl on the Train,” Cusick saw Lang’s name attached to it. He chuckled and said, “Stephen Lang’s in it, it must be something. [Lang] said, ‘You know what? I just do stuff because I’m an actor. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.’” Cusick had a new perspective on taking a chance on films. “It’s not about waiting for the big bucks or waiting for the right role. It’s fun. It’s what we do. And you just don’t know who you’ll meet. He (Lang) opened my eyes to indie films and said take a chance.”
Taking a chance on an independent film can be worth the gamble as it is in his newest release, “Frank vs. God,” but it’s been a long time in coming to the public. After reading the script from his manager who happened to be friends with writer and director Stewart Schill, Cusick had about a week to prepare for this verbally heavy film. Much of the courtroom scenes depended on Cusick reciting chunks of verse, more reminiscent of a legal (and creatively entertaining) soliloquy. He’s had plenty of experience in this type of recitation, and gave credit to his assistant who ran lines over and over and over again. Great writing certainly helps and Schill’s script is at once engagingly eloquent. Cusick’s favorite scenes were in the courtroom because, as he was suing God for tornado damages to his home, every religion was represented. “Everyone had a valid point,” to support their religion, but as Cusick was brought up Catholic, it was arguing with the Bishop that most intrigued him. Regarding Catholicism, Cusick said, “…when I hear the good that it does, but [then] I hear the arguments of the whole taxation and how much money the Catholic Church has and can’t tell us.” Schill “pokes fun” at all of the religions, but Cusick emphatically added, “I think the one thing that comes through with this film is whatever the religion, it doesn’t really matter. It’s all about love. Treating everyone with respect. Love one another. That’s the ultimate message that comes out of the film.”
Waiting for the release of “Frank vs. God” has been a long time in coming, much like Cusick’s other indie projects such as “Rememory” which premiered at Sundance 2017 and “Chimera” which even he hasn’t seen the final product. Working and waiting, Cusick also finds time to delve into positive impact projects like Jambios. It’s somewhat related to his “Rememory” project in that it taps into sharing memories with loved ones, friends, and acquaintances. This newly released company encourages users to set up an account and share their stories. From “myjambio” to ourjambio,” you can share life’s stories with anyone you choose. Cusick shared that one woman “…found out she was dying and she’s leaving stories for her children which is so moving, so beautiful.” Creating books for birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions are yet other aspects of this site.
Cusick is obviously that well-rounded actor with his myriad number and types of projects in which he is involved. Portraying the lead role of David Frank in “Frank vs. God” truly captures the eloquence and articulate capabilities of this theatrically trained actor. The bonus is that his real life persona is simply positive and inspiring.
See “Frank vs. God” on digital platforms (VOD) and DVD now. For more informaiton about this film, go to Www.frankvsgod.com
For more information about Jambios, go to Jambios.com