“It’s good to be home,” said film director Michael Hoffman at the opening of his benefit screening of “The Best of Me” on Oct. 12. He gathered with about 550 of his friends and fans for the event at the Egyptian Theatre that raised funds for Boise Contemporary Theater and the Agency for New Americans. The benefit raised about $25,000 for the two organizations.
He also brought along two of the film’s stars: Michelle Monaghan (“Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang,” “True Detective”) and Liana Liberato (“If I Stay”), who play older and younger versions of the character of Amanda. The two actors and Hoffman shared some of their insights about the filmmaking process with the audience and some behind-the-scenes stories in a post-screening Q&A. Monaghan and Liberato were both engaging and elegant as they spoke at the theater before and after the screening and at the packed post-screening reception at Berryhill & Co.
There are a lot of Boise ties to the film through Hoffman, including a song on the soundtrack by his daughter Phoebe. "Crossroads" plays through the end credits.
“The Best of Me” opens nationally Oct. 17. Hoffman co-wrote the screenplay for the romantic drama based on the Nicholas Sparks novel.
In it, Amanda and Dawson (played by Luke Bracey and James Marsden) fall in love as teenagers. They are from the opposite side of the tracks and find their love torn apart by tragedy. They reunite 20 years later after the death of a friend to find their love still burning, and the forces that separated them still at work.
This is one of many Boise premieres Hoffman has created to benefit the community. For past films, he has brought Sally Fields (“Soapdish”), Michelle Pfeiffer (“One Fine Day”) and Calista Flockhart (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) to Boise to help raise money for different causes. The last one — "The Last Station" in 2009 — also benefited BCT and the Agency for New Americans.
Hoffman is working on several ideas for television — one with longtime friend Hugh Laurie (“House”) and the other with his son Atticus, a writer who lives in Beirut, Lebanon. He also revealed that he has been hired to write a screenplay for a film based on the siege of Leningrad (modern-day St. Petersburg) that happened during World War II. So after filming his first romance, he plans to make a Russian war movie, he told the audience.