Updated: Jan 14, 2021
Independent film actors can get used to playing all kinds of roles in all kinds of circumstances. Versatility can be a requirement for the craft. When Annapolis resident Ken Arnold shot a scene in “Hope's Legacy” with Oscar-nominated actress Dyan Cannon, things literally went from being a happy, sunny day to a sad funeral in the space of a moment.
One moment he was commiserating in the sun with fellow actors, the next he was holding an umbrella over Cannon’s head as they played their solemn part as mourners.
“She’s a fantastic lady,” the veteran Anne Arundel County actor said. “Unfortunately the day I met we were doing a funeral scene.”
The scene filmed the goodbye to one of the characters of the 2016 film “Christmas Ranch”. But it brought new life to the story of an equestrian family and their lives surrounding their farm, with “Hope’s Legacy.”
It was shot at several farms in Maryland.
Maryland producer-director Douglas Maddox (DBM Films) thought it was time to reintroduce Taylor Lyons’ and Allen Williamson’s characters as “Lizzy Evans” and “James Mifflin”. The two fictional neighbors appear again in scenes set 15-years later to continue their relationship and pursue equestrian success.
"Linda" (Dyan Cannon) is Lizzy’s coach and helps her navigate through multiple challenges she faces in the plot.
Maddox said he met Cannon through Bible study, and was thrilled when she agreed to participate in his new production. Not only did she play a role, but she offered him some input as a woman with over a half-century of film experience.
“Dyan's name is totally recognizable,” Maddox said. “I was blown away.”
Cannon, first made her mark on Hollywood when cinema and broadcast TV had no other competition or outlets other than radio. Older stars can offer invaluable perspective to productions along with their acting gift.
“I just wanted to sit there and soak that in,” Arnold said, reflecting on the time he had to chat with the star. He said she also talked of her beloved dogs.
Cannon was married for three years to screen legend Cary Grant, and they had one daughter, who is also an actress.
Cannon has appeared in many major motion pictures, including “Bob and Carol And Ted and Alice” in 1969, which garnered her both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. She won another Academy nomination for a short film she created in 1976--”Number One”--which dealt
with adolescent sexuality.
She has also been in many television episodes—from 1960’s Westerns on into the 21st century.
“Hope’s Legacy” premiered this past summer, but it will be out on Video On Demand outlets worldwide on Tuesday. Maddox attributed much of its success to the support of the equestrian community as well as the rest of the local community.
“They really opened up there arms to me and our company,” he said. “It’s beyond my expectations.”
“Hope’s Legacy” included 18 cast member and 500 extras. It is also a three-time Equus Film Festival winner.
The message of hope, and tenacity both “Hope’s Legacy” and “Christmas Ranch” promote, may resonate in a year where—Maddox said—theaters lost billions of dollars in revenue.
But for both Maddox and Arnold, 2020 ended on a business high-note.
“This last quarter has been amazing,” Maddox said. “I’m thankful to God. We’re at about the same place now as we were this time last year.”
He’s already in preproduction for his next film “Cream of the Crop”. DBM has produced over 20 films. Maddox pitches to Hallmark and Sony regularly, he said.
“I’m ready to move forward,” Maddox emphasized.
Ken Arnold’s Christmas was also saved with a little “Swagger.” The former pro baseball player has a reoccurring role on the TV series which is made possible through a CBS-Apple TV agreement. He was called back to production in December.
“I didn’t work for over a year,” he said. “I didn’t do any acting work. But then everything started to come back. I expect there’s going to be a lot of projects. They have to shoot new things because they have to keep the machine going.”
Cannon said in a release that she enjoyed her experience working with Maddox on “Hope’s Legacy.”
“It’s about never giving up when the chips are down!” she stated “It’s been a pleasure working with DBM Films. Doug Maddox has gathered together an amazing crew and wonderful cast.”