By CHRIS TOMLINSON, Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Jon Voight helped his son James Haven on Wednesday to promote a new inspirational film about a Texan who lost everything because of alcoholism, but eventually redeemed himself, built a successful business and now dedicates himself to promoting education.
The independent production called "Deep in the Heart of Texas" is based on the true story of Dick Wallrath. He overcame alcoholism to reunite with his family, build a successful ranching business and then support college scholarships for rural kids through 4H and Future Farmers of America. Wallrath has made record-setting bids on best-in-show livestock at 4H and FFA events across the state.
The story focuses on Wallrath reconciling with his children after years of estrangement, something Haven and his father experienced. Haven and his older sister, actress Angelina Jolie, were raised by their mother after their parents divorced.
On Wednesday, Haven refused to talk about reconciling with Voight, but said he was inspired by the people portrayed in the film. Jon Gries plays Wallrath and Haven plays his daughter's boyfriend, Gary, at the time that Wallrath is trying to win his family's trust again.
"I was very blessed to meet the real Gary and the real Alexander, who is their son. It was an honor because it is the first time I've ever played anybody who's real; I've played a lot of fictional creations," Haven said. "Anytime you have the opportunity to do any kind of story that is based on a true story, I think those are the most inspirational."
Christopher Cain directed Haven in "Deep in the Heart." He also directed Voight and Gries in the 2007 film "September Dawn," about the killing of 120 unarmed Arkansas pioneers by Mormon settlers in Utah in 1857.
Voight said he was impressed with the new film, and his son's acting in it.
"I think there is something very appealing in it, and I think that is because of the actors," Voight said.
The film's world premiere was in Austin on Wednesday night.
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