While most people know the late Col. Bruce Hampton for his music and cosmic presence, Hampton was also known to dabble in acting. Prior to his stranger-than-fiction onstage death during the encore of his star-studded 70th birthday celebration in May of 2017, Hampton had finished filming a new movie, Here Comes Rusty, in which he stars opposite the late, great Fred Willard and Joey Lauren Adams as the owner of a dog track. Here Comes Rusty also features appearances by a slew of musicians—at Bruce’s behest—including Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Nikki Glaspie, and George Porter Jr.
Pierce Worthan, one of the Here Comes Rusty writers, summarized the plot of the movie in a 2015 interview with Live For Live Music, explaining, “Col. Bruce plays the lead role of Dicky St. Jon who is the proprietor of Magnolia Greyhound Park. Over the years, he has neglected the track, and it has fallen on hard times. Dicky learns he is broke, and with the bank nipping at his heels, makes the bet of a lifetime with his chief adversary and brother in law, Mak [played by Fred Willard]. The bet pits Magnolia Park against Mak’s Used Car Ranch, winner of the Magnolia Derby takes all.”
The movie, filmed in Mobile, AL, was premiered at a few film festivals in 2016 but never received a full release due to a variety of roadblocks, from red tape to tragedy. First, in 2016, producer/writer Ross Smith passed away suddenly. Hampton made his exit less than a year later. Ross Smith’s brother and co-writer/co-producer, Hughes Smith, then launched a fundraising campaign to pay the music licensing fees necessary to fully release the film. The campaign was ultimately unsuccessful. In the time since, Fred Willard has also passed away, and the young Brandon Niederauer featured in Here Comes Rusty has grown into a well-known, nationally-touring bandleader.
In July of this year, Cinedigm purchased the rights to the film for digital release this fall. Per Variety, “the deal was negotiated by Josh Thomashow on behalf of Cinedigm and [director, Tyler] Russell on behalf of the filmmakers.
Now, at long last, Here Comes Rusty has been officially released. You can watch the film via digital platforms including AppleTV, Amazon, FandangoNOW, and Google Play. Watch the official trailer below.
Here Comes Rusty – Official Trailer
[Video: Here Comes Rusty]
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