"Savage Midlife" has been 17 years in the making, and no virus is going to stop it now. That said, filming of the movie, written by Rob Taylor and Nic Costa, has been delayed until August. That gives more people the chance to support the film by donating to the project's Kickstarter campaign at kickstarter.com/projects/savagemidlife/savage-midlife-a-feature-film.
Taylor and Costa are both Oregon City High School alumni and the producers of "Neil Stryker and the Tyrant of Time" in 2017.
They wrote the script for "Savage Midlife" 17 years ago, but never sold it to a production company because they were told it was "too niche," Taylor said.
"Now we are here to prove the naysayers wrong. We are producing the film ourselves and have no support from any studio," he added.
The film is a fun adventure-comedy about two wrestling fans on a quest to recover a tank top worn by one of their childhood wrestling heroes: Raging Abe Lincoln, described as a "Macho Man Randy Savage with a stove-top hat."
Although "Savage Midlife" is a comedy, Taylor said it has "many layers that involve hope, loss and the end of nostalgia."
"The title is one part homage to the greatest wrestler of all, Macho Man Randy Savage, and one part tip of the hat to our own midlife crisis," he added.
Taylor will direct the film, Costa plays Alex, one of the two leads, and Walter Koenig, who played Chekov in the original "Star Trek" series, will portray an erotic fantasy shop owner. Most of the other actors in the film are local performers.
Raging Abraham Lincoln
Raging Abraham Lincoln embodies the "good" bad guy, Taylor said.
"In the ring, he was despised as a villain. Outside of the ring, he was a celebrated and evolved persona that instilled in his young audience qualities in which to show love for your fellow man as well as respect for diversity and gender — something that was sorely lacking in his '80s wrestling rivals," he said.
In developing this character, Taylor and Costa were inspired by Savage, a real-life wrestling sensation who was "way ahead of his time in the '80s and '90s," Taylor said.
Savage may have been a "charismatic and wild character in the ring, but he had tremendous heart and often imparted in his young and impressionable audience some solid lessons in humanity," Taylor added.
"For us, steeped in '80s misogyny and steroids, that was the kind of childhood lesson we needed to become well-adjusted human beings."
The main characters in the movie idolized Raging Abe, so their quest to reclaim his shirt "harkens back to when they lost it as children in 1988 at Wrestlemadness III. Now, in 2020, they not only have the chance to find Raging Abe's elusive tank top but themselves as well," Taylor said.
In the ring
Some scenes from the movie already have been shot and Taylor is quick to note that no injuries resulted from the wrestling scenes in the ring.
"We would never put our actors in any actual danger. Some of our actors have even trained with local pro wrestlers in town, and those wrestlers have become close friends and have come aboard to provide us with an authentic smackdown experience," he said.
Those wrestlers have a saying: "Real life is fake. Wrestling is real."
Noting that "Savage Midlife" is a "low-budget film with a high-budget crew," Taylor said the crew is working at reduced rates because they believe in the film.
"The script has captivated their imaginations. It is the perfect opportunity for them to utilize their talent and work with fellow creatives on a fun and rewarding film with a heart, the likes of which are simply not made anymore," he added.
The film will be shot all over Oregon with a few key scenes in Oregon City, including the haunted mansion scene.
"We are also shooting a scene at the Evergreen Aviation museum in presidential Air Force 2, and there is also a massive Viking battle along the Clackamas River below Carver Bridge. This film has it all," Taylor said.
Taylor and Costa need help from the community to get "Savage Midlife" underway.
"Our primary goal is to make a film that is thoroughly entertaining. Making people laugh is our calling in life and we wouldn't ask people to invest in a film they wouldn't have a blast watching," Taylor said.
Once the movie is ready to show in theaters, Taylor said he and Costa "are going full circus carneys. The plan is to travel the country doing pop-up live wrestling events, with the wrestlers in the film along with the film as sort of a double feature."
He added, "Come to see the movie, stay to see our pro wrestlers take the audience to pound town, 'Savage Midlife' style."
Visit kickstarter.com/projects/savagemidlife/savage-midlife-a-feature-film support the film financially. Visit m.facebook.com/savagemidlife for updates on the movie.
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