September 18 will see the release of a touching Rhode Island film, Randy’s Canvas. Adam Carbone stars as a young man with autism, facing new dynamics in his personal life. Carbone relayed the genus of the idea and the film’s arduous road to production. With a cast of more than 50, the film allows audiences to peer into this unique landscape.
Carbone explains the origin of Randy’s Canvas. “The concept of Randy’s Canvas was created by director Sean Michael Beyer over 10 years ago. Sean brought on writers Matthew Andrews and Kevin G. Schmidt to co-write and really helped make it what it is today. After working with Sean on many other projects, he cast me as Randy against all odds; because he knew I was right for the part. We also ended up shooting it in Rhode Island, which was amazing for the film. (The state) became a character.”
Now using a character’s diagnosis – especially one that is (it hurts to say this, but…) “trendy” — currently, a cause celebre — can become a crutch. The misunderstood disease could easily be a tool to manipulate audience’s sympathies. Beyer and Carbone saw these trappings and decided to roll that into the character. Carbone agrees. “The film is really about an aspiring artist who is trying to find his place in the subjective world of art while falling for a taken girl at the same time. The fact that he has autism is almost a side note. (The film) is about an artist who happens to have autism.”
Approaching this role was a delicate trek for Carbone. He had to open himself to new experiences and visualize through a unique lens that most people do not consider. “Me being able to play Randy was such a humbling and eye opening experience. Before this movie came around, I really wasn’t too versed about the spectrum or the people on it, aside from a couple of friends. I did a whole lot of research and studying with the wonderful people at the Autism Project to help figure out what makes Randy tick.” Those unfamiliar with autism may have a myopic view of autistic behaviors. This makes any writer or actor subject to a labyrinth of tropes and stereotypes. Carbone continued, “I think the most challenging thing was keeping Randy on track to being likable. It was a fine line of him having outbursts and being sometimes selfish, because he has autism, and coming across not likable. I do believe we stayed on track based on the overwhelmingly positive reaction we got for the movie and Randy so far.”
Having shot 18 days in July and August of 2016, the following two years were meticulous and thorough exercises in post-production. Before seeking distribution, Carbone recalls, “Countless flights back and forth to LA for editing, sound designer studios, color correction, music placement, ADR and lots of TLC. I’m very picky with my edits, so I made sure that I sat next to all the different editors to make sure nothing slipped through the cracks.”
After the pre-release screening on August 24 at The Greenwich Odeum, the world will be able to view and ingest the particulars and journey of Randy as he copes with the trials of what every human explores. People have seen it, and Carbone is elated by the response. “The feedback has been nothing but stellar. We’ve had two screenings now and each one we’ve sold out and received standing ovations. We got accepted in to The Autism Society’s Film Festival: Autfest. We were sharing the night with the cast of “The Good Doctor” and “Atypical,” and to our surprise, we won best picture and I won best actor. Such an honor.”