Set in a timeless fairytale of magical realism, Waiting for the Miracle to Come tells the story of a young trapeze artist who is guided by the spirit of her recently deceased father to find ‘The Beautiful Place’. He believes that all the riches in the world that concern the healing of her and her mother’s heart might be buried out there.
We sat with writer/directorLian Lunson as he shared his passion and vision on the making of this film and also his experience on working with legendary singer/songwriter and activist Willie Nelson.
What inspired you to create Waiting for the Miracle to Come? We understand you wrote the film specifically for Willie Nelson – What is your relationship to him?
I had first worked with Willie in the mid 90’s. I shot a documentary with him out on his beautiful ranch. I also worked with him in Ireland and it was there that I took him to the studio to meet U2 and they recorded a beautiful song that night called Slow Dancing.
A western town was built on Willie’s property for the film called The Red Headed Stranger and Willie left the town standing. And I shot most of my documentary in that town and it’s wonderful buildings. When I was shooting there the first time it was so great and just such a beautiful place to be. I knew back then that I wanted to write something especially for Willie.
I remember standing in the building known as World Headquarters (where Willie and his friends hang out) and I looked down the dirt road that ends with the Church and the first thing that came to mind was there would be a Church at one end of the road and a Casino at the other. And that is exactly how it is.
The film is filmed beautifully with such muted tones and soft filters – how did the style of filming come to be?
I really wanted the look of the film to be similar to an old fairytale story book. We used a black net over the lens of the camera the whole time, that’s what they used to do in old Hollywood films to give them that softness and I wanted that look too. I also wanted to make the film timeless so the audience has a feeling of being somewhere else, therefore the film was not set in any particular period or year of time.
I also wanted to explore hard life circumstances and the human condition in that timeless fairytale world. When you are a child and you dream of a parent that is missing from your life, one sees them in sort of a fairy tale way because that parent is not real to you. You create a world where they exist and that world is a ‘beautiful place to visit’
How was it filming on Willie’s ranch?
For me filming on the ranch was a dream, you felt so lucky to drive through those gates every morning. Willie has about 70 rescue horses on his property so it was wonderful when you had a break to go and spend time with them.
I remember Charlotte on her last day of filming just walking in the fields and taking it in. And the town is Willie Nelson, it is as special and unique as he is. We all knew how special it was to be there.
This film approaches adoption in a very different way – is this a topic that is close to your heart?
Yes my father left when I was about 2 years old. I didn’t see him. There weren’t birthday cards, he was just gone. And so when that happens to a child, it is a strange thing because you don’t know what it is really like to have that parent. You dream up this person and imagine what it must be like, that’s how it was for me. And in those dreams he was always somewhere beautiful which is why I named the house that Willie and Charlotte live in ’The Beautiful Place’. I wanted to show a side of adoption that was not a happy story. When one thinks about approaching a parent who has gone, there is a terrible fear that they may not want to see you. That feeling is so powerful because it has lived in you your whole life. So the mother in this story was an example of that.
What do you hope viewers take away from Waiting for the Miracle to Come?
I want them to take away the feeling of how special family is. For the majority of adopted children they really only know their adoptive parents and they are very real to them and that is a good story. But there are stories which are not. I also want them to think about the connections they have to the people they have loved who have transitioned to a state where we can no longer see them. The pain of that (death) is so enormously painful. Whether it is human or animal I wanted to explore that connection. Most of the time when we lose someone, we are so struck by grief it is difficult to see that they are really shining a light into us and almost opening up a new path for us and one that they will very much be a part of.
About the film
WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE TO COME was written by Lian Lunson, especially for Willie Nelson. Her long time mentor, Filmmaker Wim Wenders, is an executive producer on the film.
The film features an original song performed by Willie Nelson and written by Bono, who is also an executive producer. WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE TO COME is available for purchase on DVD and digital platforms internationally through Spotlight Pictures.
“WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE TO COME is about connections—what they mean, what they feel like,” Lunson says. “It is styled in otherworldliness to bring the supernatural element closer.” Audiences will find themselves transported into this dreamlike world, discovering “gold” in hidden places throughout.