‘Green Mile’ Actor on ‘Cabrini’: ‘She Was an Amazing Woman’

‘Green Mile’ Actor on ‘Cabrini’: ‘She Was an Amazing Woman’ March 4, 2024

“Cabrini,” the highly-anticipated follow-up from “Sound of Freedom” director Alejandro Monteverde, releases Friday, on “International Women’s Day,” from Angel Studios. The film shares the story of Saint Francesca Cabrini (Christiana Dell’Anna), a poor, audacious Italian immigrant who used her willpower, courage, compassion and business skill to secure housing and healthcare for society’s most vulnerable.

David Morse, a popular character actor who has appeared in “The Green Mile,” “St. Elsewhere,” “The Rock” and “Contact,” appears Archbishop Corrigan. In this interview with Reel Faith’s DeWayne Hamby, he talks about what drew him to the film, what roles he’s most remembered for, and what he believes audiences will experience when watching “Cabrini.”


What was it that drew you to “Cabrini?”

Well, Alejandro, the director had asked me to do a couple of other movies and those did not work out. So, I particularly paid attention when this one was sent to me. I knew he was a good director. I was interested in working with him already. But it always has to be the script, and it has to be the character. If those don’t work, I’m not going to do it. But this one, the storytelling was really good, about Mother Cabrini and my character. I get asked to play some hard cases pretty often. What I liked about it is he was he starts off that way. But he has a real journey that he goes on. And by the end of it, he is really helping her and friends with her. And she teaches them a teaching a pretty good lesson about how far he has strayed from, from being, in his words, a shepherd. So I liked that.


“Sound of Freedom” became so huge for Alejandro that that this is like a highly anticipated follow up. So, it has so much enthusiasm around it. What do you think people will kind of get from it when they walk away? It’s an inspirational story.

Yes, it’s completely an inspirational story. She truly was an amazing woman, and Christiana Dell’Anna, who plays her, is absolutely fantastic. I can’t imagine anybody playing this role truer or better than her. And she’s a wonderful human being. You can feel it when you watch it. The quality of her melding with the quality of this woman. In a lot of ways, this is a kind of storytelling and filmmaking we don’t get to see a lot anymore. Because Hollywood isn’t making these movies. And Eustace Wolfington, who was the inspiration behind getting this done, he said, “If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do this right. And that means spending money.” And I’ve never been an independent movie that has spent the kind of money that he’s spent on, on making this. When you watch it, it’s all there of creating that world.


It’s beautiful. The images, some of them could be paintings or hung on the wall. I mean, they’re just really framed so beautifully.

Completely. He was originally into it before the pandemic. So he had two years basically to do nothing but storyboard this movie, and originally was going to do it in black and white. He designed it to be shot with those, you know, those old black and white, beautiful lighting and image and all, all of that and framing. And right before they started shooting this, the producer said, “You know what, I love that you’re, you’re inspired to do this in black and white, but we can’t do that. It’s got to be color.” But the lighting all comes from that those two years of working those black and white images and transferring them to color and framing. It really is spectacular.


What was it like working with John Lithgow? H

You know, we hadn’t. But it was really fun. Because we’d known about each other forever. And he had actually asked me when I was doing “St. Elsewhere” in the 1980s to do a reading of a script that he wrote, I couldn’t do it. I was so disappointed to read the role that he would have done. In this movie, he walked into the makeup trailer when he got there. And the first thing he said was, “So, here’s the man has been stealing all my roles.” We got together.


When somebody approaches you on the street, what’s the first thing they say? What’s the first role they associate you with?

Well, always “The Green Mile.” It just shows all the time all over the world. It’s not just in the street here. I go to another country, they’re stopping me because of it. And what a great movie to be remembered for. “St. Elsewhere.” I can’t believe how many times people say to me, now it’s mostly people saying, “Oh, I used to watch you with my mother when I was a kid.” And “Contact” too.  “Contact” is another big one. You know it because it’s a movie that meant so much to people. It’s nice to be remembered for those things.


Are there any particular memories that you take away from the from the filming besides John Lithgow ribbing you?

Alejandro, because he’s a director, we didn’t get to spend that much time together, but Christiana, just my scenes were with her. And the quality of her as a human being and her and her husband. The friendship, that that to me is, is probably the big thing and the most important thing.


“Cabrini,” starring stars Cristiana Dell’Anna, John Lithgow, David Morse, Giancarol Giannini, and Federico Castelluccio, releases Friday, March 8, from Angel Studios.

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