Steve Latshaw, an independent filmmaker, writer, producer, and director talks about his career when he started out...
This typical working class city at that time was made up of mostly Sicilians, Irish Roman Catholic Democrats, who by the way – were all conservatives. He and all his friends were the children of World War II veterans; it is from this world that shapes his political, religious and patriotic ideals
As a young boy his Father took him to see all those great films of the mid 50s and 60s. It was in those darkened temples that he dreamed of being in the picture business. His inspiration for being anactor was reading “The Films of Errol Flynn” and “My Wicked, Wicked Ways”. Other great actors he would read and follow their films, John Barrymore, James Cagney, Bogey, Ronald Coleman, Orson Wells, Richard Burton, Charlton Heston, the Duke and Robert Mitchum, the list is endless. Warner Bros of the 30s & 40s was the favorite of all the studios with contract directors like Michael Curtiz, Raoul Walsh and Vincent Sherman, a dear friend and mentor.
A student of the Boston Catholic school system his early life, he eventually went to Northeastern University in Boston and graduated with a BS in Criminal Justice. This was his first massive exposure to the 60s radical malcontent mindset. It was at Northeastern that he started doing theater in the round. His first Shakespearean role was Ross in Macbeth. After two years of fencing and acting in plays he wanted to get into Repertory Theater. Once he was out of Northeastern, his former teacher/director cast him as Cyrano de Bergerac in that ambitious play she was directing. Four weeks into rehearsal the play was shut down for lack of funds. Sounds familiar? This would be a way of life in the world of independent filmmaking once he got to Hollywood.
After the play shut down he got into his 1971 Dodge Charger and headed for Hollywood for six months. While out here he met a lot of film stars, old prize fighters who knew everyone from the old days of Hollywood. His plan was to get a feel for the place. He worked in a couple of films and then returned home to marry his high school sweetheart. Back in Everett, they both worked for another two years. By mid ’80 they were back living in Los Angeles.
During the next four years he formed two production companies, had a couple of scripts and was taking them around to all the studios. In ’83 he raised private funds to produce his first independent film “KILLZONE”. It was one of the biggest hits of the 1985AFM and it changed the entire film market to low budget action films. In Jan. of ’86 he was asked by his DP on KILLZONE to put together the film, “Hell’s Outlaw” and borrowing a friend’s credit card he made the film. By the fall of ’86 he began putting together the film project called “FORGOTTEN HEROES”. Little would he know that this film would end up becoming his Calypso in this twenty-year odyssey.
Jack has been married now for thirty-one years to a green-eyed Irish girl he met in 1969. Their daughter, now married, recently gave birth to “Identical twin girls”. Their son is in the Army and recently finished his tour of duty with the 25th INF DIV in a Striker Brigade in Baghdad, Iraq and is now with the Army Reserves here in Los Angeles.
By the way, he still has that ’71 Dodge Charger, still has that same girl, and when the world was young, they went everywhere in that car. He would tell her of his dreams, making films in Hollywood, living up on Mulholland Farm, having fat kids and watching their vineyards grow! Now that their kids are out on their own, he is with his girl again, only he can remember when.