The movie was written by Hickory’s Wayne DeLoriea. DeLoriea and the cast and crew tackle two difficult subjects in the movie, the post-traumatic stress (PTS) of veterans and human trafficking.
The title character, David “Shepherd” Knight, is performed by Ryan Weaver, a country music singer, who worked with some of the production team on his music video “Let’s Talk About Heroes”. They saw potential and asked him to be part of the project.
He was first going to play only the young version of the character, but when the former lead had to drop out due to scheduling issues, he was asked to expand his role. That meant a shift from 15 lines to the full script.
While this is his acting debut, he says it is not much of a stretch for him since there are so many parallels with his life. He understands this character, a Vietnam vet.
“I am a 21-year combat veteran. I flew Blackhawks in the military. My brother was deployed to Iraq with me. He was with the 82nd Airborne Division, I was with the 1st Armored Division. He was killed in action. I came home from combat to his funeral. My brother-in-law was killed in Afghanistan, so we became a two-time Gold Star family,” Weaver said.
“This character suffers great loss multiple times in his life and has to deal with the demons of PTS and survivor’s guilt,” he goes on to say.
The cast and crew are aware of Weaver’s past and have been sensitive to the tremendous stress he has taken on in acting these scenes so real in his own life. He expressed appreciation for their support.
Bill Rahn, who started Tri-Rahn Pictures in 2009, and had been involved with pre-production of this film, died March 2, 2022. This is an emotional film for all who knew him, yet there is a strong commitment to carry on his legacy through the company.
Director Scott McClannahan, who partnered with Bill from the start, said they began their film company to change lives through film. As a result, all Tri-Rahn movies have a message and are family-friendly.
“Bill was always about taking a biblical concept and wrapping a drama around it,” McClannahan said.
Rahn was instrumental in helping DeLoriea learn the craft of script writing and worked with him to shape his initial draft of the script into the proper length and format needed for production.
“What I know is what Bill taught me and if I’m good, Bill made me good,” DeLoriea said.
The others involved in the production also spoke of Bill's encouragement and impact on the lives around him.
McClannahan said, "The thing about Bill is he had a way of seeing the best in everybody and if you thought you couldn't do something he would instill that confidence in you so you would."
Those involved in production hope the film doesn't just entertain, but educates people about Post Traumatic Stress and human trafficking and has them walking away more aware and ready to get involved to improve what is being done to help people who suffer as a result of either.
About 80% of this film has been shot in Statesville and about 10% of the cast and crew is local.The film will wrap production on Friday and then begin post-production, which will take about a year. The film expects to premiere in 2023 and plans a red carpet opening in Statesville.
There may be another Tri-Rahn picture with a red carpet premiere in Statesville before "A Knight to Remember" premieres, so keep your ears open to join in the fun.