Talented Trio Document Powerful Stories of War for Upcoming Film Thunder Road

Steven Grayhm talks about the inspiration and hard work behind his much anticipated screenplay Thunder Road

From left to right: Charlie Bewley, Matt Dallas, Steven Grayhm

Actor Steven Grayhm crafts a screenplay dealing with the difficulties of war

Throughout his impressive film and television career, Steven Grayhm has tackled many a heady subject, often being called upon to channel any and all forms of emotion within his fine body of work.

Nothing however, would rival the subject matter of his current project, Thunder Road, a revealing portrayal of the difficulties enlisted personnel face in civilian life upon their return home following tours of active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Inspiration for Thunder Road

Having been nominated for a Discovery Award at the 6th Annual Hollywood Film Festival in 2003, the multi-faceted actor decided to uproot his life in Vancouver and head south at just 21-years-old.

It was there that Grayhm had a life-changing epiphany.

“I had only been living in Los Angeles for three months when sitting in rush hour traffic, I heard President Bush declare war on the radio,” he recalls. “I pulled over to hear him address the nation and couldn’t believe my ears. My grandfather was a POW of the Second World War and his stories of dehumanization and his own plight for survival during wartime were instilled in me from an early age. Could this really be? War? In my time? That week I was so consumed with our new reality of war. I think initially, perhaps as a form of catharsis, I began to write a journal: a story of allied soldiers, of innocent civilian casualties, of families torn apart on both ends. It was pretty basic but it had heart.”

“I didn’t have cable TV at the time and instead was glued to my computer, reading the most current reports coming in from Baghdad Shock and Awe. Two days later I awoke to the first American casualties as the invasion had begun from the US position in Kuwait. That became the genesis of Thunder Road.”

War and Friends and Film

Nine years later, Grayhm has travelled across the country doing research for his screenplay, documenting incredibly emotional stories and amassing first-hand accounts of those involved in combat.

“I’ve travelled a total of 10,000 miles across the United States with Matt Dallas (Kyle XY), Charlie Bewley (Twilight: Saga) and our documentarian Jupiter Baudot meeting with US Veterans and their families in a sponsored Prius, kindly donated by Toyota Santa Monica.”

This direct interaction allowed Grayhm to personally connect with a number of his subjects in a variety of ways.

“I lived in the attic of the sister of a former US Sgt. in Pittsburgh for the month of December,” he cites among his most emotional experiences. “I attended a Gold Star family member’s event at the White House with a mother whose only son was killed in action in Iraq on June 4th, 2008.

As for how this talented trio of actors came together on the project: “I called Charlie from Los Angeles over Skype in the UK late one night in Dec 2010,” says Grayhm. “I told him about the script, shared with him my ambitions for that following year and also offered him a role of the main British Military veteran. He didn’t know what to expect during this late night/early morning Skype conversation but his face lit up at the proposal and from there we banded together to see it through.”

“Three months later, I worked with Matt Dallas on the western Wyatt Earp’s Revenge (recently released on DVD by Sony Classics). We got talking about my script and he was very encouraging. So both he and Charlie joined me on the road trip and see for themselves, the hardships, the pain, the triumphs and the truth.”

Despite overwhelming support for a project of this nature, one’s personal involvement can sometimes take a bit longer. “Initially, it was really difficult getting people to commit to sitting down with us,” adds Grayhm. “Trust was an issue; the stigma of Hollywood was an issue and it was never easy. I think once those we met with saw that we were very serious about what we were doing and that we all had personally put our own time, money and hearts into giving them a voice, the word spread in the veteran community. We are nothing short of humbled by the supportive reaction we have received. There is no film out there like this – nothing that focuses on the psychological aspect, the human element of this war – nothing for our generation.”

Grayhm tells me that a completed first draft of the screenplay of this incredible story should be completed shortly. “We’re hoping to be in pre-production by the summer, he says, “and likely a 2013 theatrical release.” It’s an ambitious undertaking to be certain, and one I look forward to seeing.