Cloris Leachman and Talitha Eliana Bateman in So B. It (2016)
Photo courtesy of IMDB
Cloris Leachman and Talitha Eliana Bateman in So B. It (2016) Photo courtesy of IMDB

Tonight, at 7 p.m., the motion picture So B. It will begin its two-week run at the Mary Max Cinemas (3910 Lexington Road, Logansport). 

The film was adapted from award-winning author Sarah Weeks’ book by Logansport resident Garry Williams and stars Jacinda Barrett, Dash Mihok, John Heard, Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman, and Academy Award nominee Alfre Woodard. The film stars newcomer Talitha Bateman as Heidi, who lives with her mentally-challenged mother (Jessica Collins) and her caregiver (Woodard). The film was directed by respected director Stephen Gyllenhaal, father of actress Maggie and actor Jake.

Williams adapted the film for production and was on set during filming. So B. It opened in New York and Los Angeles on Oct. 6 and will open in limited cities on Oct. 12. Logansport’s independent movie theater, Mary Max Cinemas, will be the first theater in the state to show the film. Following the premiere will be a question-and-answer session with Williams. He will also be on hand Oct. 13 for a Q&A session.

“Logansport has really stepped up to support this. The distribution people are forever saying, ‘Logansport is doing amazing things,’ in terms of publicizing it and sharing it. The distributors say they wish every film has a Logansport,” Williams said.

Williams has been composing screenplays for about 25 years, writing for motion picture studios such as UA, MGM, BBC, and Paramount. He is also an accomplished playwright. Williams became part of this project when his writing agent submitted the book for him to develop into a screenplay.

“He felt like I had the right sensibility for it. He knows my taste. He knows my work. He sent it to me and asked if it would be something I would be interested in,” Williams said. “It’s a beautiful book. I did the adaptation, and he got it to the people who raise the money. And we got it produced.”

Williams was on set during the filming and said there were many times the cast moved the production team to tears.

“Alfre Woodard could make us cry, us being the people who were watching it being shot, just with a line reading. We had a roll of paper towels, and we would pass them around. Grown men, producers, grips would be passing around this roll of paper towels,” he said. “Our little girl, Talitha Bateman, is a discovery. She was just terrific. This whole experience has been amazing: a wonderful book to work from, a brilliant director, top-notch cast, great producers, and a crackerjack crew. It’s been a dream come true for me.”

Williams said he started his career wanting to be an actor, even living in California for some time before returning to Indiana.

“I think I learned how to write by being an actor and studying the plays that I was in. You do the best playwrights in the world when you’re an actor. I did a Tennessee Williams, Michael Weller. They don’t get any better than that. As an actor, you’re studying your script, the scenes, the dialogue. What is the author’s intent? How did they dispense the plot information? You are really analyzing these brilliant writer’s work. At some point, you just go, ‘I want to try to do that.’ Then you write and write and write until you’ve mastered the craft. You really have to work at it,” he said.

Williams lives an unassuming life in Logansport and said when anyone teases him that he is a famous screenwriter, he asks them to name three other screenwriters. He said they typically aren’t famous, and they don’t set out to be. They just want to see their work up on the screen.

“I always stress when I talk to the kids is that we can do this kind of thing from here. We can be from what they call fly-over country and still achieve anything that anyone else can. I think a lot of times even people who go out to Hollywood to try and make it have it mystified and mythologized, thinking only the golden people can be in this business. In reality, they’re people, too. Brad Pitt came from Missouri. These are not just the special, chosen few. Anyone of us can work in this business if we work hard enough. It’s just a business,” he said. “I’m no different than a really good mechanic or really good teacher.”

Tickets for the premiere and question-and-answer session are available at marymaxcinemas.com/nowshowing.