Take home today, July 18, the drama Pray for Rain. The film follows a young New York journalist, played by Annabelle Stephenson, who returns to the idyllic Central California farming community where she was raised only to find it has been ravaged by drought and has become a place ruled by gangs, violent threats and greed. She is forced to investigate the suspicious circumstances of her father’s death even though it puts her in great danger. Her mother is played by talented actress Jane Seymour. Directed by Alex Ranavirelo. Written by Christina Moore and Gloria Musca.
Pray For Rain also stars Nicholas Gonzalez, James Morrison, Ali Afshar, Paul Rodriguez, and others. I had the pleasure to speak over the phone with Nicholas Gonzalez who plays Sheriff Nico. Let’s check it out the interview:
What was it about this project and your character Nico that got your attention to do it?
First of all, it was at the wine country, one of our locations, it was before I’ve even read and it was shot in Central Valley. Honestly, it was the subject matter. I thought that Sheriff Nico was a very upstanding that have a voice too to predict deaths among the farmers in the Central Valley during the droughts. So, for me, it was very important to tell this story.
Do you have any similarity with Nico?
I think we share some particular traces. He is a guy who believes in justice, he is the person who cares about to
those around him, especially in his community and his family. So, I found a lot of places that I can agree with him. Someone who has to step up and take the initiative share where no one else is willing to. He is a farmer, someone who has to step up in a situation like that… someone like me.
How was it working with Annabelle?
Annabelle is great! She is loving to work with and we hit it off immediately. And humor was kind of our way of making through those long shoot days. But we both wanted to be there and we were so excited to shoot together. We had great time and she is constantly professional and I’d worked with her in second again.
Any challenges during filming?
The challenges were weak the cow meadow, the flies… some of the ranches sets, the flies were just so crazy. And we had really hot days sometimes and super cold nights and days sometimes too. The weather was all over the place. But whenever you are doing a film like this, you are moving so fast and that’s the biggest challenge.
How was it working with director Alex Ranarivelo?
Alex is great! I told him after we are done working, it was like “man, if you have anything else you wanna do, just let me know.” He is enjoyed to work. He knows what he needs, he knows what it’s going to cut together, he just had an eye for things and he is really smart. He did a lot of editing on the spot, re-writing; he is on the ball. I really enjoyed working with him.
What steps do you think people can take to support our current climate issues?
I think there is always the little things that anyone can do, just like you see in hotels ‘try not do unnecessary washing of the towels, the sheets’, this kind of stuff. “Turn it off the water when you are brushing your teeth” or “take shorter showers”; people are a little prevalence with water to realize how much the precious resource is.
What do you think viewers will take from this important story about drought?
I think people will realize just how important it really was and how we are not ever clear of that possibility again, you know, just to feel everything now, people fell like we got a drain, we are back, we are not on drought again… but there are still areas on the Southern and Central Valley that the water won’t be replaced for decades to come.
Before we finish, I need to ask about The Good Doctor. How is the story about and talk a little bit about Dr. Neil, your character and your relationship with Dr. Shaun, Freddie Highmore’s character?
I played Dr. Neil Melendez and he is a brilliant head surgeon at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital where Shawn Murphy is one of my new surgical residents alongside with Antonia Thomas’ character. My relationship with Freddie’s character is that I don’t want him to be there and I don’t think he should be there.