Casting Latino leads was important to Ross Marks.
Which is why he is excited about landing Edward James Olmos and George Lopez to star in the film, “Walking with Herb.”
The upcoming film will be heavy on the New Mexico side.
Las Crucen Marks is slated to direct the film. The script is based on the novel by Joe S. Bullock, also of Las Cruces.
To top it off, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Mark Medoff has adapted the screenplay.
“It’s an all-New Mexico film,” Marks said. “It’s really exciting to bring this home-grown story to life.”
The film will begin production in September and film for 30 days — 26 in Las Cruces and four in Artesia. It will employ 80 New Mexico crew members.
The film follows 65-five-year-old Joe, played by Olmos, who is struggling with his faith as his 3-year-old granddaughter and her father have just died.
While at work, he receives a message from God on his computer screen that tells him he has been chosen to deliver an inspirational message to the world that the seemingly impossible is possible.
God tells Joe, a former amateur golfer, that he is going to play in the World Golf Championship tournament, and if his faith is strong enough, he will win.
Joe embarks on this spiritual journey along with God’s personal messenger and motorcyclist, Herb, played by Lopez. On the way, he learns that to make a difference he must have confidence in his abilities and commit to God before he can succeed.
“I wanted to do this project because, at the time, I was looking more into my faith,” Marks said. “Then I came across Joe’s book and asked who wrote the script for it. I gave it to Mark just for notes and he wanted to write the screenplay for it. It’s taken about two years to get it all done.”
Marks, who also teaches at the Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University, said growing the film industry in Las Cruces has always been one of his goals.
“I’ve been trying to do it by teaching at CMI,” he said. “The only way it could happen was to grow it ourselves. This is one example of the community pulling together to get it done.”
The film will also star Mary McDonnell, Jon Heder, Christopher MacDonald and Billy Boyd.
John Hummer and Brad Beasley are co-executive producers and raised the money for the film.
New Mexican Keagan Karnes is the line producer.
“Keagan used to be a student of mine,” Marks said. “Now, I’ve hired him for the production.”