Alexz Johnson is an insanely talented musician. We are blessed beyond belief to have her music in this film. Bonus - she’s also an award-winning actress. And again, we are blessed beyond belief that she’ll be acting in The Wasting as well.
When I met Alexz, right away, I saw a kindred spirit, who pours every fibre of who she is into everything she does. We see that most publicly in her songs. Her songwriting and her voice reach down inside you, grab hold of your soul, and give it a wake-up call. (A pleasant “sun-coming-up, smell of coffee”, wake-up call. Not a “some bonehead just pulled the fire alarm and it’s 3 am and I may vomit” wake-up call). She wants her music to speak to people in a way that will make them look at the world, and themselves, differently. I want to do that with films. And neither of us will be stopped by the politics and bureaucracy and naysayers and fearful doubters of the world. Kindred spirits, indeed.
About a year after I met Alexz, I was in the midst of writing The Wasting. My head was full of Sophie and the demons that walk with her. And then I heard Alexz’s song, Walking. I was mesmerized, blown away, (insert superlative here). It was as if she wrote that song for The Wasting. For Sophie. I had to have it for my film. I called Alexz, and she didn’t hesitate. She read the script, she loved it, she saw what I’m trying to say, and Walking became the official song of The Wasting.
But it didn’t stop there. Alexz and her music became ever more intricately woven into the fabric of this film. Last New Year’s I was in Vancouver, working on a TV series, far from home, woefully alone. Recipe for festive season sadness! Alexz, who is from nearby Port Moody, was home for the holidays. I ended up ringing in 2014 with her friends and family. There was music, cool people, a board game about apples. And wine. I had a sleepover. It seemed best. (See: “And wine”) In the morning, when the other wine-addled visitors had gone looking for coffee or eggs or whatever it was, we talked about The Wasting and anorexia and Sophie’s confused, terrifying journey. We talked about music and how artists have to keep telling stories, and keep helping each other to tell them, whether through music or design or film or art.
We talked for hours, and that dialogue has continued since. Alexz’s support and ideas have been invaluable. Her commitment to the film is one of the things that pushes me forward when things have looked as dark as Sophie’s future. I’m so glad she’s in my corner, and that we’re telling this story together.