Star enjoys his bright spot at Film Fest

Phillips says late substitution, 'Courage Under Fire,’ shows some of his best work

LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS greets young fans Saturday in front of the Avalon Theatre during the Independence Film Fest of Colorado. Organizers had to substitute a Phillips film, “Stand and Deliver,” with “Courage Under Fire,” in which he played a Gulf War veteran, starring with Meg Ryan and Denzel Washington.  “If you didn’t bring your A game, they would blow you off the film,” Phillips said of his co-stars.

It’s not every day that movie-goers are treated with the opportunity to watch a movie literally alongside one of its stars.

But Saturday at the Avalon Theatre, a handful of Grand Junction’s film buffs took in “Courage Under Fire” with actor Lou Diamond Phillips during the second day of the Independence Film Fest of Colorado.

Despite a last-minute change of films because organizers could not get a usable copy of the scheduled movie, “Stand and Deliver,” and some audio difficulties during “Courage Under Fire,” Phillips was in good spirits and signed autographs for fans before the movie started.

Phillips said he was happy with the change in movies because he considers “Courage Under Fire” some of his best work.

“My first thought when I got the job was, ‘Yeah, I get to work with Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan,’” he said. “My next thought was, ‘Oh my God, I’m working with Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan.’ ”

Phillips plays a soldier from Desert Storm in the 1996 movie in which Washington’s character investigates whether Ryan deserves to be the first woman awarded the Medal of Honor.

“If you didn’t bring your A game, they would blow you off the film,” Phillips said of his co-stars.

Phillips discussed his latest projects in front of and behind the camera, including a small role with Benicio del Toro in a movie about Che Guevara, and “Love Takes Wing,” a Hallmark Channel movie he directed.

Phillips said he spent the summer doing theater, and he encouraged young actors to take the stage because acting teaches good character development.

Today is the final day of the festival, and Cliff Robertson, who won an Academy Award for best actor in 1968 for his role in “Charly,” will be on-hand for a showing of one of his older films, “P.T. 109,” about President John F. Kennedy’s war experiences. Today’s younger movie-goers may more readily recognize Robertson as Uncle Ben Parker in the “Spiderman” franchise.

The film festival will conclude with an 8 p.m. showing of “Grease.” Randal Kleiser directed the musical, along with other movies such as “White Fang,” and will introduce his movie and have a question-and-answer session with the audience after the show.


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