The movie train continues rolling though Michigan, and An Honest Thief is the next exciting film that’s making a stop in Detroit.
An Honest Thief, starring Detroit’s own Tom Sizemore (Heat, Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down), will be filming in Detroit this winter and is a passion project from brothers Tom and Aaron Sizemore. Both born and raised in Detroit, they wanted to capture the grittiness and flavor of their hometown and created a thrilling story that features the Motor City.READ MORE: COVID-19 Vaccines Saved Nearly 20 Million Lives In First Year, Study Says
Written by Aaron Sizemore, An Honest Thief is a tale of three thieves, led by Tom Sizemore, who attempt to steal a valuable baseball card collection from a Detroit pawnbroker. A thrilling ride of twists and turns, An Honest Thief features an impressive cast, including some familiar faces: Sally Kellerman (MASH), David Proval (The Sopranos), and Danny Trejo (Machete).
The Sizemore brothers are incredibly proud to bring their first professional collaboration to their hometown…and 80% of the filming will be done in Detroit!
CBS 62’s Detroit Proud caught up with Tom Sizemore to talk about his new film, Detroit, and the Tigers! Check it out!
You’ve been an actor in many successful films, but An Honest Thief is your first time producing, right?
Yes, first time producing. It’s a little frustrating, but the victories are great. It’s a new experience, it’s cool, but I prefer acting. Guys like Michael Mann are great producers, they can do it all, and he’s a director and producer.
What does mean to work with your brother, Aaron, on a project like this?
It means a lot, feels like I’m getting back to my beginning. I’ve come full circle. Aaron was the first person I told I wanted to act. He’d say “don’t tell Mom and Dad, they’ll think you’re crazy”! I acted out my first scenes in front of Aaron, I’d do voiceovers and scenes from Taxi Driver when I was 16 years-old. He was impressed, he’d say “You’re really good at this, better than you are at football.” I was a good football player at the time, Aaron has always been supportive.
Tell Detroit Proud readers why you and Aaron were inspired to create a film that’s a tribute to your family.
My father had three siblings (my uncles Carl and Keith, and my Aunt Sally), and my brother Aaron and I were close to them. My dad grew up differently from his brothers – he went to Harvard, while my uncles were involved with drugs and crime. My uncles were good guys, but couldn’t keep themselves away from that world. They were great to us growing up though, we had no idea about their troubles until Aaron and I were much older. They used to get us involved with other activities, they were smart and funny guys, and had a great curiosity about life. When I was 11 or 12 years old, we used to read Catcher in the Rye together out loud. Uncle Carl exposed us to jazz artists like Thelonious Monk and Chet Baker. They were a great influence on our lives, our parents kept us kids separate from the bad things. My Uncle Carl used to write down the “Top 100” songs from the radio countdown every Christmas, and we used to debate the list as a family. It was a fun experience, we lived a nice life for a long time.
Years later, both of my uncles died due to complications from drug use within a short period of time. Uncle Carl died from a heart attack caused by his heroin addiction, and Uncle Keith walked out in front of a bus and was killed while high on heroin. Shortly after, my Aunt Sally died from cancer. It was a rough time for my family, especially my dad. I had never seen him cry or show so much emotion, he was always reserved. When my dad called me to tell me Aunt Sally died, it was the first time I’ve ever heard him break down and cry. He kept repeating “I’m an orphan” over and over. I realized he had lost his family, and it broke my heart. He had lost his parents and now his siblings, who he was very close to, even though they lived very different lives.
Out of the fond memories of your uncles, how did An Honest Thief come to fruition?
About six or nine months after [the phone conversation with my dad], my brother Aaron called me and said he’d like to make a short movie for our dad’s birthday about Carl and Keith. He asked if I could send him a copy of a screenplay, just so he could see how it was formatted. Aaron is a full-time lawyer in the Detroit area – he’s never written a screenplay, and he just wanted to see how it was put together. So I sent him a screenplay! A little while later, I received an email from Aaron that was titled “Thieves”- it was a screenplay he had written.
I started reading it with Thomas Jane [of HBO’s Hung] and about 40 pages into the screenplay, Thomas stopped and said “this is really, really, good” – and it was! We kept reading, and after, I said to my friend and producer, Charles Lago, “I wanna get ‘Thieves’ made”!READ MORE: Michigan Ballot Initiative Aims To Protect Abortion Rights
You’re crowd-sourcing your film with IndieGoGo – how did the idea to crowd-source the film come about?
We spent the next few years trying to get the movie made, running into obstacles here and there. Other producers wanted to move the film to Vancouver and have the setting be Detroit. That was a deal-breaker for Aaron. We want it done in Detroit…it’s a Detroit story. We tried to go the traditional way, but couldn’t get it done. The idea of starting a Kickstarter and IndieGoGo was suggested, and honestly, I was ignorant to all that kind of stuff. As I learned more, I said, “We could do that!” and six months later, we had the site set up. The people at IndieGoGo have been fantastic, very helpful. Now we have to deliver what we promised.
Talk about Detroit, from your perspective…and the connection An Honest Thief will have to the city.
Aaron and I grew up here, I’ve always felt a strong connection to Detroit, and my first job was working on the Boblo boat. We are going to shoot here and hire a Detroit crew to help us film. The film takes place in Detroit in the 1970s, and the movie is going to reflect the industrious, creative, and driven spirit Detroit has always had.
I lived in Utica for a while, but moved back to the city. I loved Detroit as a kid. Detroiters are hardworking and have a “never say die” quality about them. Both of my grandfathers worked in auto assembly plants – they worked hard, but they were gentlemen.
It was shocking when I came back to Detroit and saw the state of the city. I had heard the stories, but didn’t realize the gradual change in the city until I saw it firsthand. I know there are positive changes happening now. I did a movie with Aaron Paul [Breaking Bad] that was produced by Dan Gilbert’s brother. I know Dan is working hard to bring Detroit back.
Detroiters have a lot of pride. Detroit is full of great people. As an actor, I’ve traveled all over the world, and there is something special about the people of Detroit.
When you’re visiting Detroit, where do you like to visit?
I used to hang out a lot at Joe Muer’s and in Greektown. I love Greektown, I used to spend a lot of time there. I went to Wayne State, so when I was there, I used to hang out and the bars and diners around campus. I’m a die-hard Tigers fan, I always check out the Tigers!
Think this is the year the Tigers win the World Series?
I don’t know, I hope Justin Verlander gets straightened out. They have so many great pitchers – David Price and Max Scherzer. I know Justin hasn’t had a great year, but he’s a young guy…hard to think he won’t rebound. Verlander is gritty like Detroiters, he’ll figure it out! Frank Tanana was a fireballer like Justin, and after Tommy John surgery, he had to change his style [to be] more of a junk ball spot thrower. I don’t know if this is the year they win, but if Verlander can get back on track, they could go all the way.
It’s Lions season, would you think a Super Bowl win would be a bigger deal for Detroit versus a World Series win?
Definitely a Super Bowl! The Lions haven’t won anything since the ’50s, and Lions fans have suffered through 0-16 seasons. The Lions could do it. Detroit is unique where there are so many great sports teams. The Bad Boy Pistons had to battle the Lakers and Celtics for years before they could win it all – they were gritty and tough just like Detroit, it’s that kind of city. And Hockeytown – Detroit has the Red Wings, too! Lots of great teams.
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Detroit Proud wants to thank Tom Sizemore for taking the time to talk about Detroit and An Honest Thief!
The crowd-sourcing effort for the film offers Detroiters an exciting chance to support the movie. Want to be an extra in the film, help produce An Honest Thief, or get your hands on exclusive movie items? Now is your chance! Visit their IndieGoGo page to view exclusive opportunities to be involved in An Honest Thief. For filming updates, check out the Twitter and Facebook pages for An Honest Thief!