A Newfoundland boy's quest to belong: "Hold Fast" goes from book to film
BAULINE, N.L. - The classic Newfoundland novel "Hold Fast," ranked by Quill & Quire as second only to Anne of Green Gables for Canadian children's books, will soon be a film starring Molly Parker, Andy Jones and soulful newcomer Avery Ash.
Fourteen-year-old Ash hails from the tiny coastal community of Hant's Harbour, N.L. on the Bay de Verde Peninsula, a tight-knit town not unlike the fishing outport that his character, Michael, calls home.
In the book, Michael is suddenly wrenched from everything he loves most when his parents are killed in a car wreck. He and his little brother, Brent, are separated as the younger boy stays with their aunt and grandfather, while Michael heads to a larger city to live with his Aunt Ellen, played by Parker of NBC's "The Firm," and Uncle Ted, played by Newfoundland actor Aiden Flynn.
Michael bonds in that troubled house with his cousin, Curtis, but soon begins to crack under the weight of his grief, taunts at school and his Uncle Ted's heavy hand. When those pressures build into a major blowup, Michael takes off with Curtis in tow to the woodlands that were once his refuge.
Their timeless quest for both freedom and belonging is set against the spectacular backdrop of Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park and postcard-pretty fishing villages such as Bauline. It's an adventure film based on a story that still resonates almost 35 years after it was first published, Ash said during a brief break from filming.