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March 1, 2013

Movies: Adams' 'Phantom' emerges from sea

'Phantom,' a film produced by Columbia native Julian Adams, opens in theaters today. Adams also acts in the film.

PHANTOM PLANET: In the Internet Age, where everything seemingly is a click away, more and more people are probably asking themselves this question: How do I turn what I love to do into a real profession?

Julian Adams doesn’t have all the answers, but he has an answer. It involves persistence and knocking on a 1,000 doors.

“You have to put up with the 999 that (are) slammed in your face,” he said. “That’s the trick.”

Also, you should have what Adams referred to as psychological Kevlar.

“I’m not saying I’m tough. Maybe I’m too stupid to give up,” he continued.

And why should the Columbia native and Hammond School graduate give up now? “Phantom,” a film he produced and co-stars in, opens nationwide (about 3,000 theaters) today. It’s the first wide theatrical release by Solar Filmworks, a production company Adams started with his father.

Written and directed by Todd Robinson, the movie stars Ed Harris and David Duchovny as Russian soldiers wrestling for control of a submarine in a Cold War drama based on a true story. William Fichtner ( “Heat,” “Armageddon”), Jonathan Schaech ( “That Thing You Do!,” “Prom Night,” “Takers”), Sean Patrick Flanery ( “The Boondock Saints,” “Saw 3D”), and Jason Gray-Stanford ( “Flags of Our Fathers”) appear in the movie that was shot, primarily, on a 300-foot submarine.

Adams said the shooting was hot and cramped.

“If you’re 5-9 or above, you’re bumping your head 50 times a day,” Adams said.

A Soviet sub gone rogue in American waters? Sounds like “The Hunt For Red October.” Two men vying for control of a sub’s missiles — one trying to avert a crisis, the other ready to ignite one? That’s “Crimson Tide’s” premise.

“It sounds in a way like a typical submarine movie,” Adams said. “We’d love to be compared to those films. We were just trying to make a small film.

“Our film is completely focused on the two sides of the submarine. What we wanted to do is paint a portrait of these guys.”

Harris ( “Pollock,” “Enemy at the Gates,” “The Abyss,” “A Beautiful Mind”) stars as a captain marginalized by his superiors. Adams recalled sitting on top of the submarine with Harris at 3 a.m. after a day of shooting and talking about the acting craft.

“He talked all about ‘Pollock’, how he put his life into it,” Adams said. “He believes in what he’s doing, and that was inspirational.”

Adams plays one of Harris’ crewmembers. Without revealing too much, Adams said, “I have sort of a role in what happens on the sub eventually.”

Duchovny ( “Californication,” “The X-Files”) is a KGB agent planted on the sub who wants to launch a nuclear missile.

The submarine the movie is based on, the Russian K-129, sank in the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian island of Oahu in 1968. An internal explosion is the official cause, but conspiracy theorists, smelling a cover up, believe a United States submarine bumped K-129.

Before breaking into the Los Angeles film scene about six years ago, Adams was an architect who was a weekend filmmaking warrior. It took Adams two years to shoot “The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adams,” a film he made with his father, Weston Adams. Shot mostly in Hopkins, “The Last Confederate” is the story of Weston’s great grandfather, a Confederate soldier who fell in love with a northern woman.

Mickey Rooney, Tippi Hedren and Amy Redford, the daughter of film legend Robert Redford, acted in the film. (Weston, once a state legislator, is a former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malawi.)

“I’ve been messing around with this stuff for a good decade,” said Adams, who has produced other projects with Robinson. “It kind of takes a little time to get where you want to be. It takes a lot of work and a lot of pushing to get there.

“It’s a matter of each film you do, you’re hoping a little more people see it. I’m very fortunate, and I know that.”

The most important part of doing what you want to do?

“To believe in what you’re doing and to have your family around you believing in what you’re doing,” Adams said. “Turn the corner and go full force.”


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