McCorvey, who became a Christian after the Roe decision and is now a strong pro-life advocate, appears in the film as a an elderly woman who reaches out to a young woman who is pregnant and contemplating an abortion. The film’s writer and director, Peter Mackenzie, told the Hollywood Reporter that he decided to pursue McCorvey for the role because he wanted to cast someone with the background and understanding of the gravity of the abortion issue, and who would be able to tell that part of the story without being preachy. “I thought she encapsulated American thinking on the issue,” he said.
Before actively pursuing McCorvey for the role, Mackenzie chose to shoot the movie in the small Texas town of Smithville, not realizing that McCorvey lived there. When Mackenzie began to search out McCorvey for the part he said things “got a little spooky” when he realized that she actually lived in the little town, population 3,902. For McCorvey’s part, she told the Hollywood Reporter that “I guess you could say the project chose me. God told me to move there two years before but didn’t really tell me why. So I obeyed. I had no family there, no friends. I just obeyed.”
While Mackenzie said that McCorvey was suspicious about his motives in wanting her for the movie, she was won over by the script. “Our movie has people talking not about whether abortion should be legal or illegal,” Mackenzie said, “but about something that we should all be able to agree on: Every abortion performed means that something is lost.”
Schneider told FOX News that he wasn’t sure what to expect when told that “Jane Roe” would be acting in the movie. “I expected her to be a complicated, protective, and cerebral person,” he said. “I was surprised to find that she is so down to earth, open, and unaffected. Working with Norma was a study in opposites. Who you think she’ll be, and who she really is. A living, breathing, historical contrast.”
McCorvey is not the only actor in the movie drawing media attention. Chosen for one of the leading roles was Joe Estevez, brother of Hollywood superstar Martin Sheen and uncle of controversial actor Charlie Sheen, who has been self-destructing in front of the media over the past two months.
Estevez, who is a Christian, told AOL News that after realizing his own movie career was less than satisfying, “I had a talk with myself and a lot of praying and meditating about making movies that make a difference. I asked God, ‘Can you send me movies that do this that I can also make money at?’”
Estevez said that God answered him by giving him work in films such as the upcoming Doonby, in which he plays a less-than-admirable town doctor. “I’m the bad guy,” he told AOL News, “but it’s true that the villainous roles are often the best because you get more leeway with the character.
When asked about the hard times his famous nephew is going through, Estevez emphasized that he wants to be there for Sheen. “I want to tread lightly here,” Estevez told AOL News. “Charlie is on his own journey. I respect it and love him unconditionally, and I am here if he wants to talk. My heart breaks for him. I know he’s going through a lot of pain.”
While most of the world sees the Two and a Half Men star as a self-absorbed Hollywood brat-packer who thinks he’s indestructible, Estevez said the truth is far different. While Sheen may have a big ego and like to hear himself talk, his uncle pointed out that the actor has also “given millions of dollars to charity and never says a word about it.” Added Estevez, “He is not a selfish man, but he’s on a journey, and we wish we could help him along with it.”
Doonby is scheduled for a September release in theatres and director Mackenzie said that while the movie has a pro-life undertone, he expects it to resonate with a broad range of viewers. “Even though we hope the film will be of interest to conservative and faith-based moviegoers, I wrote this movie to appeal to a mainstream audience,” Mackenzie told FOX. “Everybody can disagree about pro-life and pro-choice, but we all should be able to agree that every life matters and Doonby expands on this and asks important questions. People tell me it might be controversial but my hope is that it will appeal to all kinds of different groups of Americans.”