Writer-director brings home ‘Power’

Leone Marucci’s friends have been hearing about his movie idea for “The Power of Few” for years.

Tonight that talk becomes a reality.

The film will premiere locally at Cinemark Tinseltown in Boardman, where Marucci graduated from Boardman High School in 1991. Opening day officially is Friday, but there is a 10 p.m. screening tonight.

“The movie is filled with zig and zags and twists and turns,” Marucci said. “I don’t want to give too much away.”

“The Power of Few” looks at same 20-minute period through the eyes of five different characters, and he described the story as religious conspiracy colliding with urban crime.

“It’s sci-fi / action / drama, but we’re also hearing it’s a very hopeful film,” Marucci said.

While Marucci may be known in his hometown, the cast he assembled for the film is known nationally and internationally. It includes Oscar winner Christopher Walken, Christian Slater (“Heathers”), Q’orianka Kilcher (star of Terrence Malick’s “The New World”), Anthony Anderson (“Law & Order,” “Guys with Kids”), Jesse Bradford (“Bring It On,” “Guys with Kids”) and rapper Juvenile.

Kilcher was the first name actor to sign onto the project, and she also became a producer.

“We were able to get it (the script) in front of Christopher Walken, and he really responded to the material,” Marucci said. “That first conversation over the phone, hearing that iconic voice, it was pretty surreal.”

Each person who signed on added credibility to the project and made it easier to attract others, but many of the pieces only came together in last month or so before filming in Louisiana.

Not everything worked out as originally planned. Franka Potente was supposed to play a woman who runs a corner store. And for his movie that uses non-linear storytelling, Marucci was excited to have Potente, star of one of the most famous non-linear films with “Run Lola Run,” as part of the project. But the day before he was supposed to shoot her scenes, they became aware of a work visa issue for the German actor, and she was replaced at the last minute by Moon Bloodgood (“The Sessions,” “Falling Skies”).

“Twenty days into filming, she jumps into the role, and it’s one of my favorite parts,” Marucci said.

Marucci’s company Steelyard Pictures is distributing the film, which opens here and in Columbus (Marucci graduated from The Ohio State University) this week and is slated for other markets in the following weeks. How wide the movie plays theatrically will depend in part on how well it performs in those initial cities.

“The distribution landscape is changing right under our feet with video-on-demand, Netflix and all of these different platforms,” he said. “‘The Silver Linings Playbook’ has shown the power of the slow release.”

The filmmakers also have been using the internet to build up interest in the movie since pre-production. They solicited casting information online (thepoweroffew.com) and sponsored a contest that allowed movie fans to submit their cut of one of the movie scenes.

Marucci said they plan to put the experience they acquired making “The Power of Few” to use in developing more film projects as well as acquiring other films for distribution through Steelyard Pictures.

“We have a lot of projects in various stages of development,” he said. “We didn’t just make a movie, we built a studio. “We learned the tax credit game … Now we’re taking on distribution, at least theatrical. We’ve positioned Steelyard as a mini studio, acquiring films and fostering young filmmakers.”