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Ben Foster, David Lowery Battle Mustaches for ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

There was nothing saintly about filming IFC’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” which had a Cinema Society Gotham screening at the Museum of Modern Art Aug. 13.

“The heat in Shreveport was at least as sticky as it is today and there were times when we were shooting inside and the temperature was 130 degrees,” said producer Jay Van Hoy. “Heat exhaustion was a constant issue that we were monitoring throughout the production.”

For Ben Foster, who was arm and arm with Robin Wright, the Louisiana and Texas filming came after a month of research.

“That’s part of the job,” he said. “If I could just do homework and never make another movie I’d be a very happy man.”

In this ‘70s-set romantic triangle Foster’s sheriff sports a mustache that looks suspiciously like writer-director David Lowery‘s.

“I didn’t ask him to grow it but it was an unspoken understanding that his character needed a mustache,” Lowery said.

“We did a lot of handstands to see whose grew faster,” Foster revealed.

Who won? “I did,” Foster said.

Foster also convinced Lowery to alter an ending which saw the sheriff quitting the law to teach and settle down with Rooney Mara’s single mom.

“David and I had a very collaborative relationship,” Foster said.  “I spent a month in Texas, going to honkytonks, going to bootmakers, and I ended up with the Midland Sheriff’s Dept.  They took me on ride-alongs and I met a lot of good men who were Texas third-generation sheriffs. I saw no reason to make a PC move of putting down a weapon to prove my loyalty to this woman. You could still love someone, be an honorable man, a gentleman, and carry a weapon. It’s a heated conversation in a time of gun laws,” he acknowledged.

Mara, however, limited her research to reading Lowery’s script. “On this movie I didn’t need to do a lot, it was all on the page,” she said.

As for her Texas twang, “That was kind of easy, it’s one we Americans grow up hearing.”

Wright grinned when congratulated on her “House of Cards” Emmy nomination.

“Should we be unhappy!” she said.  “What I’m unhappy about is that Beau Willimon, the creator, the genius, didn’t get nominated.”

Following the screening there was a party at the Refinery Rooftop.

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