"All our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions."
Leonardo Da Vinci
Contemporary life has made us quick to judge—outrage and hot takes rule. This can be warranted, but I’ve had a growing feeling that we are being discouraged from seeing nuance, or holding conflicting ideas in our heads at once. The world seems to serve us—and profit from—conflict and easy answers.
Scott (Sheppard, writer and lead actor) and I wanted to tell a story that appears straightforward, comedic even, but to then complicate it as much as possible. Comedy is easy, but is often wasted unless it’s used as the tip of the spear to explore something darker and richer. Scott has achieved wide acclaim for this approach in theater—his recent play ‘Underground Railroad Game’ was named one of the ’25 Best American Plays of the last 25 years’ by the New York Times. We wanted to explore how his voice would translate to the screen.
Heaven’s Leg watches like a bottle episode. We kept it simple—which I think has it’s positives and negatives. We left a number of cinematic tools on the table, but as a portrait, it keeps you in an intimate place. We were careful not to apologize for Scott’s character; it should be clear Pastor D deserves what is coming to him. The point is that he comes by his opinions honestly—he had traumatic experiences in his life that have shaped his worldview, and led him to both sincere belief, and to some very poor decisions.
When you see the whole story, it’s hard to know exactly how to feel. It’s funny, and sad, and weird, and fucked up, all at once. It’s not an easy headspace to be in, but for me, staying with that complexity feels more and more important with each passing day.