In an interview published on Tuesday, August 16, director Eric Parkinson told TMZ that the inspirational movie will be dedicated to the 53-year-old star, who died on Friday, August 12, one week after she crashed her car into a Los Angeles home. He noted that the dedication will appear just after the final scene, immediately before the credits roll.
The family film, “inspired by the hit song by Michael Martin Murphey … tells a story of redemption and forgiveness as a young girl releases a dark secret through the friendship she develops with a wild horse,” the upcoming movie’s official synopsis reads. Heche starred as the character Diana Jones, while her 13-year-old son, Atlas — whom she shared with ex James Tupper — portrays the role of J.J.
Parkinson also recalled the Another World actress’ gumption and impressive dedication to the part of rodeo trainer Diana, in which she decided to do her own stunts with her horse in the film — despite not being an experienced rider.
One jaw-dropping moment in the pre-pandemic shoot occurred when the I Know What You Did Last Summer star asked her stunt double to get off the horse — and Heche proceeded to ride in a full gallop, even performing an advanced barrel race turn. When Parkinson expressed his shock and told Heche he didn’t know she was such a skillful horseback rider, she replied, “I’m not … but my character is a champ!”
The Six Days and Seven Nights star, who also shared son Homer with ex-husband Coley Laffoon, crashed her vehicle 30 feet into an L.A. residence on August 5, per the Los Angeles Police department. A law enforcement spokesperson later stated that Heche’s “blood sample results showed there was a presence of narcotics,” but noted that “additional testing is required to rule out any substance that was administered at the hospital.” The investigation into the fatal, fiery accident is ongoing.
Though Heche was conscious and able to speak with firefighters soon after the accident, she fell into a coma on August 8 and never regained consciousness.
Heche ultimately succumbed to the injuries she sustained in the crash, and was declared “legally dead according to California law” on Friday, the late actress’ rep told Us Weekly in a statement. Her spokesperson noted that “she has not been taken off of life support” at the time in order to “find [organ donor] recipients who will be a match.” She was taken off life support two days later and was celebrated with an Honor Walk, in which hospital staff line up in the operating room hallway to pay tribute to the organ donor.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!