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Leap of faith: NM-filmed ‘Walking With Herb’ follows grieving grandfather’s spiritual journey

Edward James Olmos, Kathleen Quinlan and George Lopez on the set of “Walking with Herb” in Las Cruces. (Courtesy of Optimism Entertainment)

Kathleen Quinlan keeps adding to her career highlights.

The Oscar-nominated actress got to work with two actors she has admired for years while on the set of “Walking With Herb.”

“I’ve been a fan of Eddie (Edward James Olmos) and George (Lopez) for a long time,” Quinlan says. “At this stage in my life, I’m fortunate to be able to work at all. Then to be able to work with an actor of that caliber. If somebody is really good, I have to work at the same level. Eddie was right, and he pushed me in this role.”

Quinlan plays Sheila Amable-Amo in the film, which was filmed in Las Cruces and Artesia.

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 that 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.

Las Crucen Ross Marks directed the film. It is based on the novel of the same name by Las Cruces resident Joe S. Bullock. The screenplay was written by the late Mark Medoff.

The film was in production in September 2018 for about 30 days. It will begin showing in theaters on Friday, April 30. Allen Theatres in Las Cruces will be the only theater chain showing the film in New Mexico. El Paso and Pueblo, Colorado, theaters will also show the film.

Quinlan is looking forward to having an audience see the film.

“It’s been a pretty dark this last year,” Quinlan says. “I’m looking forward to people walking into a theater and letting the film take them away for a few hours.”

Quinlan enjoyed her time in Las Cruces while filming.

She found out about the movie while she was performing in Medoff’s last play.

Before she got the script, she was hesitant to join the faith-based film.

“What piqued my interest was Edward James Olmos and George Lopez,” she says. “I have followed their career. Then Mark was involved, so it was on my radar. I happen to be an atheist, and I felt honored that they asked me to do it.”

Quinlan had fun with her character.

“Sheila is very family-focused and she’s very faithful,” Quinlan says. “She’s really a good person, and she is rooted in something real. She has a steadfastness to her and has great patience. Those are things I continue to work on. She taught me a lot.”

Quinlan says playing a religious person was a challenge.

“I find all religions interesting,” she says. “I don’t personally believe that God is divisive and full of retribution. Playing Sheila, who is specifically a religious person, was trying for me. But that got turned around.”

Quinlan did enjoy her time in the Las Cruces area and felt at home.

“The people are lovely, and I really love Mesilla,” she says. “Everyone was gracious and accommodating. When you see the scenes of us on the golf course, you wouldn’t realize it was 30 degrees there. We worked hard to make sure it seemed like it was warm. The joys of acting.”

Marks is proud that the film has New Mexicans at the helm.

“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 three years to get it to release.”

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