We’ve transcribed a few minutes from the interview. Or click on the KMOX box up above to to hear the whole interview.
MARK: So, I’m fascinated, as you know. I’m a big movie guy, and I thought this was interesting: that you’re behind a film that is bringing — or has brought — French filmmakers to here in Saint Louis to do a project. Tell me about it.
SEAN: The film is called “The Ground Beneath Our Feet” and we’re describing it as “an American road movie that spans 250 years.”
MARK: (laughs) “The Ground Beneath Our Feet” not to be confused with “The Wind Beneath Our Wings.” Bette Midler is not doing a song for this movie, is she?
SEAN: Not yet.
MARK: OK, good. So, is it a historical drama?
SEAN: We’re trying to tell two stories at once.
SEAN: There’s a contemporary storyline about an American ex-pat who has lived most of his life in France, and gets called back to America for a family emergency, and ends up having to drive across half the country. So, that’s one road trip.
MARK: In what era is that set in?
SEAN: That’s contemporary.
MARK: OK. So that’s modern day… then you flash back to how long ago?
SEAN: To the 1750s, and 1760s, and 1770s. So, the time just as Saint Louis is being founded. And one of the scenes — a lot of this takes place in Illinois, what was called “Pais de Illinois,” the country of the Illinois Indians — and there were thousands of French people living in Illinois up until 1763, when the Seven Years’ War ends with the Treaty of Paris, and the King of France cedes all the territory east of the Mississippi to Great Britain.
So, imagine, you’ve lived in Illinois — you’re a Frenchman — you’ve lived there for maybe 200 years, your family. You’ve got farms, you’ve made communities starting in Cahokia all the way down to Kaskaskia.
MARK: It’s amazing when you think about the history.
SEAN: Oh, it is. And then suddenly, the rug gets pulled out from underneath your feet. So, that’s what the movie’s about: for both of those characters, the contemporary one and the historical one.