It’s the late 1800’s, and the Old West is coming to an end. One-time cattle rustler and bandit Hoss Williams is one of the last remaining members of a vicious gang that once terrorized the New Mexico territory. He’s getting too old for his life of crime and he knows it. With the rest of the old gang dead or scattered, he hasn’t pulled off a big job in
years, and the price on his head is too small to be worth anyone’s trouble.
As the movie opens, one of Hoss’ old companions, Bill Hobbs, is killed by a mysterious stranger in black. Hoss arrives to discuss a new heist he’s planning only to find Hobbs dead and buried at the meeting spot. Without any idea who killed him or why, Hoss decides to form a new gang and go ahead with the plan.
The new gang has six members, each with a specific role to play in the crime. There’s an inside man, a Sherriff’s deputy, a safecracker, and two bitter enemies whose well-known rivalry will make it easy to stage a believable distraction. Hoss himself will handle the actual holdup. Everything seems to be going according to plan, until one of
them starts playing by his own rules.
The gang scatters, each taking a different route to avoid pursuit. As they ride, greed and betrayal begin to turn them against each other. Meanwhile, the mysterious stranger in black has caught their trail, hunting them down according to his own inflexible code of justice. They all converge at the rendezvous point, where betrayal and bullets will decide who gets away with the loot and who ends up in the ground.
ABOUT THE MOVIE
The Righteous and the Wicked is a blending of two classic movie genres: the Western and the heist film. It combines the stark landscapes, stark loneliness, and stark morality of the old west with an old-fashioned crime plot. It turns the Western convention of a lone gunman facing off with a gang of bad guys on its head by following the planning, execution, and consequences of the heist from the gang’s point of view. To them, the stoic loner in search of justice is not a hero, he’s a hidden and malevolent menace.
The setting and tone draws inspiration from the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci, as well as the American-made westerns of Budd Boetticher and Clint Eastwood. Writer/Director Craig A. Butler points in particular to Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing and the Randolph Scott western Seven Men From Now as having a lot to do with the genesis of this story.
The human element is ultimately what makes The Righteous and the Wicked a successful story; each of the characters has their own backstory and motivations. In particular, Butler wanted to play with the age-old concepts of good guys and bad guys in the Old West, and mix things up by switching who the audience was rooting for and why.
“Hoss Williams isn’t a good guy,” says Butler, “He’s a life-long criminal and a killer. But he’s sympathetic because it’s easy to connect with his desire to be successful and to do
right by everyone who works for him. Meanwhile, the lone gunman who’s hunting him down for his past crimes, the guy who we’d usually want to win, is pretty scary.”
This switching of roles extends even to the secondary characters. “Every member of the gang has his own angle,” says Butler. “Vargas is pressured into crime to support his family, while Gage is so self-centered that to him the money isn’t even the goal. This is a western in which the irrational, emotional guys are the ones we sympathize with,
while the guys we hate, we hate even worse because they’re logical, rational. We hate them because we know they’re right.” Shooting a complex, character-driven Western on a tiny budget was no easy task.
“I had to write the script knowing that there would be only so many days I could afford to be in the town,” says Butler, “and only so many days we could have horses, only so many gunshots. But it helped focus the script on the characters.” Filming was completed in only 16 days in the hottest days of summer in 2009. All the wilderness scenes were shot on private land near Cerillos, New Mexico. The town scenes were shot at Bonanza Creek Ranch just south of Santa Fe, on the same set that would be used for Cowboys and Aliens a year later.
ABOUT THE CAST
CRAIG MYERS – Hoss Williams
Craig has been an active member of the Albuquerque, New Mexico theater scene for almost twenty years. He played The King in the Albuquerque Civic Light Opera’s production of Cinderella, Major Metcalf in an Albuquerque Little Theater production of The Mousetrap, Pseudolus in Music Theater Southwest’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and many others. From 1992 to 2010, he produced, directed, and acted in Albuquerque’s Mystery Cafe Dinner Theater. His first feature film role was as police captain Willard in Southern Belles(2005). In 2009, he was cast as the lead role in the independent feature western The Righteous and the Wicked(2010), and a year later was cast as Gage in 5 Shells(2011). He still lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Carol, his wife and collaborator.
JUSTIN TADE – Marion
A veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, SCUBA diver, expert skiier, and pilot, Tade graduated from Drake University Law School in 1993 and began a successful career in law, including trying two murder cases. In 2005 he added feature film acting to his resume, landing a role in Seraphim Falls(2006) as Lt. DeButts. His feature filmography includes low-budget, independent feature films such as Fugue State(2008), Stiffed(2010), and The Righteous and the Wicked(2010). He acted with Gary Oldman in The Book of Eli(2010), and has acted for television in the series Cowboys & Outlaws and The Legend of Jedidiah Smith. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
JEREMY OWEN – Leonard
Jeremy was born in Great Falls, MT, and shortly thereafter moved to Denver, CO with his family. He was bitten by the acting bug at an early age, and went on to get his degree
in Musical Theatre at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO. Since then he has been in many feature films, most notably the film Paul(2011) (directed by Greg
Mottolla), The Righteous And The Wicked(2010), Pornography: A Thriller(2009), and the upcoming Rotgut(2011). As well as his work on screen, he has been a member of The Crisis Company (a group of actors who offer role-player services for training police, doctors, and other personnel for crisis intervention). In addition to acting, he also works as a recording engineer and editor for audiobooks with Siren Audio Studios. Jeremy is also an illustrator and writer on his upcoming comic book series “Bludgeon”. He
currently lives in Albuquerque, NM.
BILLY GARBERINA – Gage
Indie Actor, Director and Producer veteran Billy Garberina has starred in and generated numerous projects across the United States and, recently, abroad in Alex Birell’s thriller “Braincell”, shot in Liverpool, UK. An accomplished juggler, martial artist and film technician, Billy has been heralded as an “Independent Film Guru” by the press in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. After graduating from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre and Acting, he became a pioneer of the newly emerging technology of digital video by directing and starring in his first feature-length movie, Collecting Rooftops(2002). He went on to be cast in Feeding the Masses(2004), The Stink of Flesh(2005), Land of Entrapment (2007), and Wedding Slashers(2006), before directing Necroville(2007). Since then, he’s developed a substantial following in the world of indie Horror, with roles in Wicked Wood(2009), Psycho Holocaust(2009), Taintlight(2009), and Dozers(2010). In late 2009, he directed his third feature, the horror/crime drama Stiffed (2010). Billy has several more exciting feature length projects in post production and is now finishing a master’s degree in social work from NYU. He currently resides in Queens.
PHIL DURAN – Vargas
Phil Duran was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. He joined the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department in 1989, where he worked in a variety of law enforcement capacities, including patrol, civil process, court security, public speaking, recruiting, and investigations, as well as a full-time assignment to the BCSD Regional Law Enforcement Academy as a staff member and instructor responsible for training and supervision of new recruits. It was during this assignment that he developed an interest in acting, as he was very involved in designing and implementing role-play training programs for his students. It was also during this assignment that he began writing, authoring three books before retiring after 20 years of service. Since retiring Phil Duran has worked on several short films and four feature length films including Missing You(2011), a film which he wrote and directed. He received stunt training at a 6-day Stunt Boot Camp at the L.A. Stunts Training Center, and provided training for the students of several Stunt Boot Camps on the subject of Realism in Law Enforcement Roles.
ALEXANDER THORNE – Wenkel
Having an affinity for performing from an early age, Alex created and performed skits and sang songs in church and put on exhibitions in his neighborhood. He also performed in choir as a first chair tenor in Jr. High as well as High school. Having spent his twenties and thirties working nine to five, he has come back to what he realizes instills passion into his life: the art of performing. Alex began acting professionally in August of 2008 and now has three independent features under his belt: I Heart You(2011), The Righteous and the Wicked(2010), and The Bigfoot Election(2011). He lives in Los Angeles, recently booked his first SAG Feature and could not be happier.
A.J. ROME – Pete
A.J. Rome was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and started acting at sixteen when he landed a role in a local theater production of Vaudeville Memories. He went on to do a local production of Shakespeare’s King John. Then he decided to try out film acting while attending the University of New Mexico. He worked his way up from
extra roles and standing in (Terminator Salvation (2009), Swing Vote (2008), Paul (2011)), to principal and lead roles (The Righteous and The Wicked (2010), Q’ntana Trilogy (2011), Scoundrels (2010), The Santa Fe TV Show (2010)). He still lives in Albuquerque and studies with multiple private acting coaches in New Mexico.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
CRAIG A. BUTLER – Writer/Director
Craig A. Butler is a New Mexico-based low-budget filmmaker born and raised in Albuquerque. After graduating from the University of New Mexico with a degree in business, he moved to Los Angeles for three years and began working in the film industry as a grip/electrician. In 2004, he went back to New Mexico to shoot his first feature film, Land of Entrapment. Before setting out on his next feature, Craig wrote and directed two noir-inspired shorts called Duke City Nights. In 2008 he worked as the Director of
Photography on Stiffed, a supernatural crime drama. In 2009 he set out to try making a Western on a tiny budget. Inspired by classic heist movies like Kubrick’s The Killing and by Budd Boetticher westerns like Seven Men From Now, he crafted a script for a heist western focused on the drama between characters rather than expensive action sequences, and the result is The Righteous and the Wicked. Shot near Santa Fe in the hottest part of summer 2009, the production lasted 16 days and was a great success. After finishing post-production on R&W in early 2010, Craig went on to produce Rotgut, a horror/comedy feature, and somehow got stuck editing it. He is currently finishing up post-production on Rotgut and developing his next round of projects.
PETER FISHBURN – Producer
Peter Fishburn moved to Albuquerque as a child in 1969 and has called New Mexico home ever since. A graduate of UNM, he began working in the field of public health with
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1990. Peter began working with independent film production in 2004. He served as Assistant Director on independent features Necroville (2005) and Wedding Slashers (2005). He directed and produced a television commercial for The Original Phone Love (2005). In 2006, he worked as the Associate Producer and Location Coordinator on Gimme Skelter (Winner best Feature: Halloween Horror Picture Show) with additional duties in Casting. He has since served as a producer on Stiffed (2008), The Righteous and the Wicked (2010), and Missing You (2011), and as Associate Producer on I Heart You (2011).
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Camera used: Panasonic HVX-200, with Redrock Micro lens adapter and Nikon 35mm
Shooting schedule: 15 days, July 5 – July 19, 2009.
Locations: Cerillos, New Mexico and Bonanza Creek Ranch (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
505 FILMS PRESENTS
A PEEKABOO DOG PRODUCTION
THE RIGHTEOUS & THE WICKED
A. J. ROME
CRAIG A. BUTLER
CRAIG A. BUTLER
Director of Photography
Second Unit Director
M. REBECCA NADLER