'Miles To Go' brings to life the dark journey of overcoming drug addiction
'Miles to Go', earlier titled Junkie, is a film which tells the story of a junkie and her journey to overcome her addiction. It is based on a real-life story of the producer of the movie, Shawnda Christiansen.
In the movie, Shawnda's character has been brought to the screen as June Taylor who is played by Anna Easteden.
The film is directed by Tim Russ and touches upon the darkness at the core of drug addiction and all that surrounds it. June Taylor takes you through the life of a junkie and how complex the problem of drug addiction is.
"The one thing that stands out about June is the fact that she is still strong even though she is weak. It's within her to save herself," Anna shared with us the core idea of the movie.
Shawnda speaks to Meaww and shares how it was not easy to write her story but how she was eager to tell the world and people going through a similar dark phase that there is always hope.
Having been down the not-so-pleasant path herself, she feels that it is more than necessary to share this story with others to let them know that "not only can you change your life but you can actually do so much more with it".
She also went on to add that people "do not need to be prisoners of their past" and you have to pick yourself back up and move on.
Prior to the movie, Shawnda was interested in film and filmmaking and felt that this was one of the best ways to "speak to a lot of people". Being a writer, she also found it very therapeutic to express herself this way and was able to accept all that she had been through as overwhelming as it was.
When it comes to 'Miles to Go,' Shawnda was clear with what she was trying to say and even insisted on retaining some of the darker scenes in the movie, with the hope of telling the truth about addiction.
"The one scene I was keen on having was that of the suicide attempt in the bathtub where the water in the bathtub turns red. This is the first moment where I realized that I have lost my mind and I knew I had to change".
The movie is full of twists and turns but beautifully showcases the transformation of a junkie to a smart, successful, and most importantly, a happy woman.
Shawnda shares how she played a part in choosing the people who would bring her true story to life. She recalls seeing Anna Easteden's audition video and how she immediately knew that Anna was perfect to play the character of June. Shawnda also shares how well things came together and Anna definitely did justice to her story.
Anna Easteden plays June Taylor in the film and she shares how she "loved playing a character that is totally different from who I am in real life."
Anna spoke about the fact that she does not drink alcohol or do any drugs and had to do some research on what it means to be an addict. The role of playing an addict only opened her eyes to how much more goes on beyond the surface of drug addiction and it made her feel for them.
"Knowing that the character I played is from a real-life story(Shawnda), it hit home for me."
"When I'm shooting its hard work(weighs on me) Not really fun cause I take it so seriously. But then it's important to show characters like this on film. It's also to send a positive message to drug addicts that there is a way out."
"You can always rise above what you have been through and do something different with your life," Shawnda adds. She also spoke about asking yourself a very important question which is "What is it costing you?" and this is not monetary but more in terms of all that you are sacrificing for your addiction.
Shawnda recalls how there came a point when she "was tired of being miserable and there was a possibility to be happy."
The miracle came about when she went to a treatment center and got help. Eventually, she also went on to become a substance abuse counselor at the same treatment center in the hope to help other people battling similar problems.
When it comes to bringing an intense character like June to life, Anna says that she felt no pressure. "When I started shooting I didn't know it was a real-life story, I found out in the middle that it was Shawnda's story."
However, Anna was so into the character of June by then that she was able to do justice to the character very well.
"It is interesting because it's difficult to play characters, but it was somehow almost easy for me to play something that I am not. It's easy to play someone who's completely opposite of the real me. What helps me to get into the character is going for a walk and trying to see the world from the character's perspective," she added.
The cast also includes Christian Kane who plays the role of Sheriff Corbin, James Duval who plays Kie Alexander, and many more talented actors and actresses who were able to bring Shawnda's story to the screen and tell it well.
"Everyone was on the same page and things flowed very smoothly. The whole cast was amazing and totally all in," Shawnda shared.