Photos courtesy of Svetlana Dreyfuss, Malee Movies
He has battled sharks and aliens in his storied career. But after six decades in film, Oscar winner and screen legend Richard Dreyfuss is taking on a new challenge: a wilderness survival thriller. Abandonment, hitting theatres this autumn, follows Dreyfuss as he navigates a hair-raising rescue of a hiker trying to survive while trapped in a cave on the Appalachian Trail. The claustrophobic nail-biter was written by Annie Malee, who co-stars with Dreyfuss, and also produces under her new production company, Malee Movies.
Malee is a mathematician, AI entrepreneur, and children’s charity founder who recently decided to pursue her own childhood dream of movie making. For her first film, Abandonment, she has crafted a unique story which simultaneously showcases a side of Dreyfuss we have never seen before but also co-stars the wilderness as another character in the thriller. “I can’t wait for movie fans to see Richard in this film. I think this is his finest performance but of course I’m just a little bit biased!” she laughs.
In addition to the Oscar winner and screen legend, the picture also co-stars the gorgeous, immense, and haunting Appalachian forest. “I find this part of the world so magical. The wind whistles differently in the trees somehow. I love it when movies truly immerse you in the surroundings of the story. I wanted ours to do that for audiences with the grand backdrop of Appalachian nature,” says Malee.
The grand expansiveness of the Appalachian wilderness provides a jarring contrast with the claustrophobic rescue that Dreyfuss’ character must navigate to try to save the hiker played by Malee. Dreyfuss navigates both the edge-of-your-seats thriller tension and the protective, heroic tenderness in the quieter moments of the story with expert delicacy. This deeply layered performance, paired with stunning shots of the Appalachian wilderness, immerses the audience in this heart-pounding rescue. It is a welcome breeze of fresh air and a new take on both Dreyfuss and on the wilderness thriller genre.
Abandonment hits theatres this fall.