Filmmaker Lian Lunson on Willie Nelson & the Inspiring Movie She Wrote for Him

lian lunson

After a successful career as a music photographer, Lian Lunson began her film career as a documentary filmmaker. Her first project was with Willie Nelson in the mid 90's titled "Willie Nelson Down Home."  Lian took Willie to meet U2 and they recorded a song together for that film, and that began the collaboration for WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE TO COME.  Starring Willie Nelson, Charlotte Rampling, and Sophie Lowe, WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE TO COME is a gorgeous, evocative, and meditative film about faith, love, and fulfillment in spite of loss. 

Set in a magical and timeless world reminiscent of an old photograph, WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE TO COME is the story of how Adeline Winter (Lowe), a trapeze artist grieving the death of her father embarks on a journey to find "the Beautiful Place" in Ransom, California. The Beautiful Place Museum, owned and run by Dixie and Jimmy Riggs (Rampling and Nelson). The Riggs have waited for decades at The Beautiful Place, hoping that the daughter they gave up for adoption would come looking for them.Both Nelson and Rampling capture the heartache of loss and the daring of hope while Lowe's quietly powerful performance pulls viewers along on her pilgrimage. 

WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE TO COME was written by Lian Lunson, especially for WillieNelson. Her long time mentor, Filmmaker Wim Wenders, is an executive producer on the film. 

Q:  Lian, thanks for doing this interview with us. Tell us a little about yourself, how did you become a filmmaker?

I always loved films, so I went to drama school to be an actress. I came to Los Angeles and quickly realized I wanted to be behind the camera.

Q:  How did you get to work on this new film "Waiting for the Miracle to Come"? 

I wrote this film for Willie Nelson after making a documentary with him in the mid 90's. I went off to do other music documentaries but kept writing this story. I wanted to do it for Willie.

Q:  Briefly tell us, what's this movie about? 

In short it is a story about faith and belief and that by healing others you ultimately are healing yourself

Q:  This film is also intricately connected to Willie Nelson.  What's Willie Nelson's role in this new movie?

Willie plays one of the lead characters alongside the legendary actress Charlotte Rampling. They play husband and wife. Willie's character in the film has a sense of knowing. A very deep sense of knowing.

Q:  What was Willie like on the set?  What did you learn about him that you didn't know before working with him?

Willie was incredible on set. I have worked with Willie before and have known him a long time so I knew he would be amazing. Willie has an incredible connection to people and that connection was very visible on the film not only with his fellow cast members but also all of the crew.

Q:  What would you say were some of the highlights in the making of this movie? 

One of the major highlights for me was working with Willie Nelson and Charlotte Rampling. They are both people I have admired for a very long time. Also the beautiful Sophie Lowe who carries off an innocence and openness in the film which is quite extraordinary. Then there was shooting the film on Willie Nelson's ranch. Willie shot some of The Red Headed Stranger there and he kept the set up, so we were able to utilize that. It is a magical place to be on his ranch. Every day there was a gift.

Q:  How does this movie inspire us today?

This is a slow meditative film, very different from much that is out there today. It brings up thoughts and ideas about loss and faith that give the audience time and room to contemplate and process. It is also shot like a fairytale. I want to inspire people with beauty and thoughtful ideas. Also I think it will inspire people to think about the connections within their families, and to hopefully realize that we think death is the end of life, but really it is just the beginning

Q:  What's next on your agenda? 

I am writing a project that also involves a musical legend and a deeply spiritual person. I am drawn to those characters and inspired by the journeys spiritually they take us on. They can often be the ones that take us out to the desert and lead us to a deeper contemplation. I made a documentary film on Leonard Cohen and his music and the witnessing of his life and the words he wrote have a deeply profound effect on so many people. They are the artists I am interested in.


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