Consider it a modern take on It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s not that Lance Dreesen intended the story to seem that way, but, as the director of the new Lionsgate release, The Way Home, tells it, the cast and crew began to feel their own story mirrored the film classic. “One of Dean’s [Cain] favorite films is It’s A Wonderful Life and that’s the same for several of us, including Randy [Simpkins],” says Dreesen. “This movie has some of those same aspects of the community coming together to rally around a man who realizes just how wonderful his life is and gets his priorities straight. It really resonated with him.” The Way Home indeed features a similar arc, telling the story of the Simpkins, Randy and his wife, Christal, who find their two-year-old son missing one day and an entire town showing up to join a frantic search to find him. The film moves beyond any notions of mystery or suspense to dive into a man with priorities out of place. It’s a theme that several working on the film could identify with, including the high- profile Cain. “Dean Cain said that was the main reason he signed on for the film,” says Dreesen. “There’s no Stephen Spielberg or Martin Scorsese here. When Lance Dreesen calls you and says he wants you to do his film, Dean Cain doesn’t go, ‘Oh, yeah.’ It’s more like, ‘Who’s that guy?’ Even though I’ve done a number of films, I’m not a main director. So it was all about the script. “He sat down and read the script and was in,” he continues. “He’s a dad and he’s someone who also went through a conversion of having a child where before he was all about the acting all the time to realizing that he really has to change his life and he did. He puts his kid first. So that part of the story really spoke to him about the priorities of parenting and the community aspect of it all.” Not only is the story centered on community; Dreesen said the film’s set took on the same feel. “The whole making of the film became a community-oriented effort and we really became a family,” says Dreesen. “Even an old pro like Dean Cain who makes eight to 10 films a year and is in and out, you could see the change come over him as he’s making the film. He’s a very friendly guy, but everyone also wants to be friends with someone like that. So he kept a professional distance off of the set from everybody at first, but by the end, he was one of the family. It was great.” As the film debuts on DVD, Dreesen hopes the film not only entertains with an inspiring story but also challenges viewers to consider their own priorities of faith and family. “That’s a big thing for working parents who struggle with life’s priorities of providing for your family versus being there for your kids and finding time for your faith as well as giving to your community. So I hope it speaks to all of those things and gets people to think about their priorities.” — Matt Conner For more information on The Way Home, check out Matt Conner is a music writer for the Indianapolis Star, HM, Relevant and Metromix and the founding editor of CCM 65