Wes Studi can be heard in theaters right now as the voice of Windlifter in the newly-released Disney film, Planes: Fire and Rescue. But his next project has a little more edge to it. He plays the badass title character in Steven Paul Judd's latest production Ronnie BoDean. Judd has always lamented the fact that his Native American community could not look up at the big screen and find a tough-guy anti-hero to call its own. The description of the short film calls Studi's character "a larger-than-life outlaw who must shake off an epic hangover and use his considerable street knowledge to take on his greatest challenge yet – babysitting his jailed neighbor’s precocious kids. When Ronnie’s out-of-the-frying-pan-and-into-the-fire approach to child rearing lands the kids in the crosshairs of a psychotic thug, it’s up to Ronnie to save the day."
Getting Studi's involvement in the project was surprisingly simple. "Steven Paul invited me," Studi says. "I liked the role. And, I liked the idea of his story about an Indian anti-hero, and it looked like a fun project to do. So, we agreed on doing it. I can pick and choose, so I chose." He goes on to describe the film short as "a comedic look at American Indian life. I think that everyone can look back into their family history and see a fellow like Ronnie BoDean. It's a great opportunity to take a look at ourselves, and [view] our strengths, our weaknesses; and just a better overall look at who we are in this contemporary world."
Of course he's good with children. Wes Studi in Ronnie BoDean mode.
The short is produced by Chris Eyre, whom Studi has teamed with, previously. But, this is the first time the star has worked with Judd. He says he was attracted by Judd's creative vision. "He's been working on this particular character for a while. It was born out of Six Pack and Gas Money. I just appreciate his perspective on life, and the American Indian scene. We shot it in three days. Now, they're putting it together, and hopefully we'll see his cut of it soon. We would like to continue to work with the short, and perhaps expand it into a feature length movie, or episodic-length show. We went into this with the idea of developing it further." Studi describes the short as "a story within itself. It's sort of an introduction to Ronnie BoDean and his immediate environment. And, his view on life, and what he imparts to the other characters."
The film was financed by a successful Kickstarter campaign, and shot on location in Oklahoma City. Steven Paul Judd and editor R. Charles Stuart, are currently putting the finishing touches on the film. They hope to have a cut of it done in a month or two, and then begin submitting it to film festivals.