With director Treva Wurmfeld and producer Amy Hobby.
Directed by Treva Wurmfeld
Cinematography by Treva Wurmfeld
Produced by Sandra Adair, Amy Hobby, Emily Wachtel, Treva Wurmfeld
Editing by Sandra Adair
Music by Graham Reynolds
Cast: Sam Shepard, Johnny Dark
Running time: 92 minutes
Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and, despite leading very different lives, remained close friends ever since. Shepard became a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (Buried Child) and an Academy Award®-nominated actor (The Right Stuff), while Dark was a homebody who supported himself with odd jobs.
Through the decades, they stayed bonded by family ties. Dark married an older woman named Scarlett, and Shepard married her daughter. For years, the two couples lived together, until Shepard broke away for a relationship with Jessica Lange in 1983, leaving Johnny to help father his first son. Nevertheless, he and Dark continued writing to each other, amassing hundreds of letters.
Director Treva Wurmfeld began filming the two friends in 2010 during a period of transition and reflection for Shepard. At the time, he had quietly ended his relationship with Lange and agreed to publish his correspondence with Dark. The task required them to meet and sift through years of their shared history, stirring memories both good and bad.
Steve Dollar of the Wall Street Journal describes the film as “tragic and tender, full of the passion of lives lived fully on their own terms.” Wurmfeld captures these complex lives over eighteen months, tapping into subjects of love, illness, fatherhood, money, art, grief, passion, and isolation. A richly emotional story, Shepard and Dark is an arresting exploration of the joys and perils of long-term friendship.