February 1, 2011 / 2:49 AM / 8 years ago

Val Kilmer going "Deep" with Texas indie drama

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Val Kilmer is reteaming with the star of his 1985 breakthrough film “Real Genius” for a feature about a real-life alcoholic who reinvents himself and puts hundreds of kids through college via his charitable donations.

“Deep in the Heart” stars Jon Gries as Richard Wallrath, a Texas entrepreneur who is the biggest all-time individual donor to that state’s 4-H and Future Farmers of America organizations.

“Real Genius” made Kilmer a star. He played a student named Chris at a college populated by the nation’s best and brightest, and Gries was the oddball ex-graduate student who lives — at least seemingly — in Chris’ closet. Gries played another bizarre character, Uncle Rico, in the 2004 independent hit “Napoleon Dynamite.”

In “Deep in the Heart,” Kilmer plays a character known only as “The Bearded Man,” and he resides in Wallrath’s mind as a “Christ-like figure” to help him on his path to recovery, said Scott Duthie, who is co-producing the independent film.

“Val is one of those rare actors who drove himself to the set and always got there on time. A real pleasure to work with,” Duthie said Monday from the Texas set.

The film also features a cameo of Texas Gov. Rick Perry playing himself by basically reenacting an awards ceremony where Wallrath was the guest of honor.

“Wallrath is an alcoholic who hit rock bottom and lost everything, then reinvented himself, re-established his relationships with his family and built a multimillion-dollar business,” Duthie said.

The movie is directed by Christopher Cain (“Young Guns”). No distributor is attached yet.

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