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Raising Buchanan

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Raising Buchanan
Directed byBruce Dellis
Produced by
  • Joe Gruberman
  • Amanda Melby
  • Chadwick Struck
  • Cathy Shim
Screenplay by
Starring
CinematographyBret Kalmbach
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Raising Buchanan is a 2018 American comedy film produced by Amanda Melby, Joe Gruberman, Chadwick Struck and Cathy Shim, written and directed by Bruce Dellis. The film stars René Auberjonois in the role of the title character, James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States. The film was Bruce Dellis' first full-length feature. ‘’Raising Buchanan'’’' was filmed in and near Phoenix, Arizona in the fall of 2017.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The film starts with a seemingly unrelated story from 19th Century France, as told by President James Buchanan (René Auberjonois) to an unseen audience. We are immediately whisked into a present-day donut shop where we meet the main characters.

Ruth Kiesling (Amanda Melby) is a 39-year-old woman with anger issues and a history of making poor decisions. She is also a habitual liar. Her two best friends and roommates are Meg (Cathy Shim), her confidante and co-worker at a donut shop, and Holly (Jennifer Pfalzgraff), a warehouse clerk and member of a ventriloquist troupe let by egotistical Errol (Steve Briscoe), an aficionado of German film noir. Ruth has a side job playing mournful cello for Errol during his creepy webcast, "Drang und Sturm".

Ruth visits her father Larry (M. Emmet Walsh) in hospice, borrowed baby in tow, and with grand stories of personal and financial success. In actuality, Ruth finds herself in dire financial straits. In a low-wage, dead-end job, with mortgage foreclosure looming on the near horizon, matters are made worse when Larry's health appears to improve and he decides to move back home to the house now occupied by Ruth, Meg and Holly, and soon to be on the auction block due to Ruth’s poor money management.

Coincidentally, the body of President James Buchanan has arrived in Arizona, exhumed and shipped to a Tempe, Arizona warehouse for familial genetic testing. It now sits in the warehouse waiting to be shipped back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Holly is eager to show off the body to her two friends. Ruth sees an opportunity to profit and enlists Meg to help her steal the body and hold it for ransom. However, they quickly learn that no one is particularly interested in getting him back.

As Ruth tries several avenues to get rid of Buchanan's body, she becomes curious about the grim, bubble-wrapped corpse in her garage. While reading a biography of the president, Ruth confronts Buchanan’s contradictions and shortcomings by speaking directly to the man himself: a walking, talking manifestation of President Buchanan, whose cool, noble bearing masks insecurity and defensiveness. She comes to understand the mediocrity of this man and begins to see sad similarities between herself and Buchanan – affecting how she sees herself and her place in the world.

To find some redemption and avoid prison, Ruth navigates a gauntlet of government officials, a smitten parole officer (Crosby), a wealthy widow, local law enforcement, and a cadre of amateur ventriloquists led by Error. Eventually, she is led by the apparition of Buchanan -- telling the story we hear at the start of the film -- to resolve her situation using the only skill she has, because it is the only thing that people expect of her. In effect, she becomes the magician who saws a woman in half before the eyes of skeptics simply by literally sawing the woman in half.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

Dellis shot the film on location in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Prescott, Arizona, in October of 2017. He used an Arizona-based crew and nearly all of the actors were based in Arizona, with the exception of some key talent: Auberjonois, Walsh, Shim, Hines and Garant.

Originally, actor/comedian Andy Dick was slated to play the part of Lancaster Guy, but performance issues and allegations of sexual improprieties caused his firing the day after his scene was shot.[1] The scene was subsequently re-shot using Robert Ben Garant in the role of Lancaster Guy.

External links[edit | edit source]


Category:2018 films Category:2000s buddy films Category:2000s independent films Category:American buddy films Category:American films Category:American independent films Category:Directorial debut films Category:English-language films Category:Fictional characters from Arizona Category:Films set in Arizona Category:Films shot in Arizona

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Andy Dick Fired From Movie Over Sexual Harassment Claims". The Hollywood Reporter. 2017-10-31. Retrieved 2017-11-06.


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