MOVIEWEB: Exclusive: Vietnam War Veteran Wes Studi Brings His Life to Mending the Line
June 19, 2023
Studi spoke about the film Mending the Line and how he relates to the film's study of a war veteran seeking healing after coming home.
"It was time for me to get back to work," said Wes Studi. That may seem like an odd thing to hear coming from a man with over 100 credits to his name, who regularly appears in four or five titles a year, but like everyone, the pandemic shook things up. What better way to go back to work than heading to the mountainous and river-strewn locale of Montana to do some fly-fishing with Brian Cox?
Studi plays Cox's friend and fellow Vietnam War veteran in Joshua Caldwell's film, Mending the Line, which follows a veteran (Sinqua Walls) returning home from the Middle East for therapy and discovering some healing through fly-fishing. It's an immensely peaceful film that seems to heal the audience nearly as much as its characters, and Studi is a study presence, calm and reassuring. It's a great little performance from the Indigenous actor famous for Dance with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, The New World, Street Fighter, and Avatar, and a great 'return.'
"I certainly wanted to get back to work. I think it was the second film I did after restrictions were dropped a bit," said Studi. "I could learn how to use a fly rod to fly-fish, and to work with Brian Cox, and the rest of the very talented cast that we had."
"It's very catching," said Studi of fly-fishing, which he learned to do with the film and which is a central part of Mending the Line (and actual veterans' recovery, thanks to organizations like Operation Healing Waters). "Being part of the running water, or at least having it all around us, it's actually a kind of soothing feeling, especially through water that's up to your chest or thereabouts. The water just moves around you, and it's quite a feeling of comfort in a way. There's a calming feeling that comes with focusing on one particular motion." He continued: "You have some control, as much control as is possible in a kind of wildlife setting like that. I think that's what produces the sort of spiritual kind of feeling that that can be accomplished when you're doing that. As the picture itself points out, that's one of the goals of finding that Zen and being able to take it with you, away from other parts of your life."
That thing everyone is looking for in Mending the Line, the thing that each of our souls call out for, is a kind of presence, focus, and calm contentment missing from our busy lives. There are many terms for it and many practices aimed to attain it. "It's a part of every culture really, indigenous and otherwise," said Studi. "It crosses boundaries, goes beyond us. It's bigger than the individual or for the practice itself. I think it's a universal."....
Wes Studi found himself in a similar way. It doesn't have to be fly-fishing; many things can center a person and mend the lines of their past. Studi had his own trauma from war, but eventually found acting to be a healing exercise, something which could focus him and bring him into the present moment.