Home Show: Native son screening new movie at Paramount Theatre
By Denise Crosby firstname.lastname@example.org September 13, 2012 1:06PM
Victor Hawks and his mother Arlene stand next to a sign at the LA screening of Victor's first movie, "Construction." The film will also be screened in New York later this month; and in Aurora at the Paramount Theatre Oct. 4.
Updated: December 6, 2012 3:21PM
Yes, the four letter words in the movie did bother her — at first.
After all, the colorful language had not only been written by her son Victor, he also was the one doing some of the cussing in the film, “Construction,” that will be screened at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora. And Arlene Hawks certainly did not teach Victor to curse like a truck driver — nor did the priests at his alma mater, Marmion Academy.
But if anyone in the Fox Valley knows show biz, it’s Arlene, the long time theater teacher at East Aurora High School and, along with husband Dick, co-chairman of the Paramount Arts Centre Endowment Board. So she’s well aware that drama must mimic reality in order to maintain its integrity. And when you’re making a movie about three young blue collar workers, you can’t sound like, well, an abbey monk if you want to be believable.
Still, she wants to let the hometown folks know that “Construction,” which 36-year-old Victor Hawks wrote, co-produced and stars in, has an R rating and parents would be wise to keep the kids at home when it comes to town.
Mother and son also want to make it clear this is not a movie premiere. It’s officially a “cast and crew screening,” with the purpose of introducing select audiences to the movie as producers seek not only feedback, but potential buyers who can get this independent movie into theaters nationwide.
The story’s main character is based partially on a real-life piano bar singer Victor knows who can’t break through to the big time and ends up working at a construction site. And partly on Victor’s own experiences.
“Construction” had its first screening Aug. 16 in the Raleigh Studio of the Charlie Chaplin Theater in Los Angeles, and according to the Hawks, it was well received. On Sept. 23, it will be shown in New York, home of most of the film’s actors and where the majority of the movie was shot. And it’s coming to Aurora in October, said Victor, because this is the city where he was raised and which “helped define me.”
It’s also the place where a very proud theater mom can rightly show off a son who has done exceedingly well in the dog-eat-dog entertainment business.
From the time he was a toddler hanging out with his mother while she worked and performed in this community, Victor Hawks has considered the stage his home. It was while a student at Marmion that he decided to pursue his passion for acting and singing as a career. He went to college at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., then took his dreams to New York, where he fell in love with the Big Apple and Broadway. And the feeling was mutual. In 2001 Victor became a member of the original cast of “Urinetown”; and later went on to appear in revivals of “South Pacific” and “Les Miserables.” It takes talent, hard work and a fair amount of luck, the Hawks say, but Victor managed to be one of the 2 percent of equity actors who actually carved out a successful Broadway career.
But Arlene is especially excited about her son going Hollywood — a venture as writer and producer that has redefined him. For Victor, it was all about finding new ways to use his voice and have more creative control. He moved to L.A., he said, because “that’s where all the meetings are.” In doing so, he discovered how much he loved “the business side” of entertainment.
Along with Angie Canuel and Malcolm Goodwin, who had a role in “American Gangsters” and played the role of Shea Daniels on “Breakout King,” Victor founded Vision Vehicles production company. The Aurora native said he actually wrote “Construction” as a play in 2005 and found investors ready to get it to the stage; then realized the story didn’t really fit theater audiences.
Victor, who’s also completed a couple more screenplays, won’t reveal how much it cost to produce the film except to say it’s “under a million ... way under.” He and Goodwin, who directs the movie, were able to do it so cheap because most of it was filmed in New York with the help of “lots of favors” being called in. Instead of paying the going price of $1.5 million to shoot in Times Square, for example, Victor said he convinced some of his cop friends to direct traffic and crowds for the time it took to get the shots they needed.
The movie is important, Victor said, because it’s also opened doors to other projects for their production company. In this almost completely subjective “show me” business, he noted, nothing goes forward unless there’s something for people to see and judge.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” he said. “People are really excited about this movie.”
So is Arlene Hawks, who hopes the community turns out in support of the screening on Oct. 4. “Every word in his performance,” she said, “is amazing.”
Maybe not the words of an unbiased critic ... but certainly spoken like a proud mom.