WHITEHALL – In the movie “Lost Heart” beloved actor Don Most plays the role of a pastor who is trying to help the lead character Hannah Sweet find her way.
“I play the local pastor in a very small town in a small church. You know he is one of, he’s sort of like a regular guy, he is the pastor, he is very accessible and warm and cares for the people a lot, and is a very genuine guy,” said Most
“[...] He is trying to in the movie find a way to get into the lead character Hannah [sic], played by Melissa (Aschutz), he is trying to find a way in to see how he can help.”
Some might remember Most starring alongside actor/director Ron Howard and actor Henry Winkler on the show “Happy Days” in the 1970s. He played the character Ralph Malph, a jokester, and even had a catchphrase -“I still got it!”
Despite a long and storied acting career, Most said this is only the second time he has filmed in Michigan. The first time was for the movie “MBF: Man’s Best Friend” which was also produced by the film company Collective Development Incorporated (CDI).
In that film Most played a lawyer living in Detroit who had fallen on hard times, and was representing a soldier played by screenplay writer and CDI CEO DJ Perry.
Before Most was an actor he was a jazz singer, and said that career brought him to Michigan on more than one occasion. He performed twice in Bay City and once in Lexington.
“My first love, before getting serious about acting, I was singing. I was 15- years-old singing in a night club act in the Catskills Mountains in upstate New York. I always loved the great standards, the jazz standards,” said Most
“I decided to go back to that about five-years-ago, because I put the music aside for a long time.”
CDI is a film company based out of Lansing, cutting it’s teeth on movies filmed for the Christian market. They have won awards for their film trilogy based on the life of Jesus Christ called the Quest Trilogy.
However, despite the religious themes found in some of their movies, the company aims to not make them overly preachy. Most, who isn’t religious and was raised Jewish, said “Lost Heart” does a good job of not being in your face with its messaging.
“I’m playing a pastor, but I happen to be Jewish, so I’m not super religious. I was bar mitzvahed and went to Hebrew school, but it’s not like the movie harps on those things (religion),” said Most.
“It’s not in your face or on the nose. Some of those (Christian) values are there and presented, expressed. [...] Which I think if you’re religious or not, organized religion or not, are great values and great sentiments that will come through, and I think anyone can relate to.”
Most said what originally attracted him to his role in “Lost Heart” was the script. He said Perry, who wrote this script as well, wrote something he found really interesting.
“I had such a good experience working with this company (CDI) and the people. That had such a big draw and appeal to work with them again, said Most.
“Then reading the script and liking it so much. Then the role it was different than any role I had played before. I found it just very interesting to me.”
Surprisingly, Most was originally contacted by CDI through the social media website Facebook. The company had previously worked with Rance Howard, Ron Howard’s father and actress Bryce Dallas Howard’s grandfather.
Actor Tim Abell was cast in the film MBF, Most shared a similar agent, and knew Rance through his “Happy Days” co-star. CDI viewed his acting reel online and felt he would be a good fit for the film.
“Online there is different websites where you can find actors, sort of a demo reel of samplings of different things you’ve done. So they got in touch with me,” said Most.
As an actor Most said he is still growing, and remains enthusiastic. He believes there are still more chapters to be written in that particular career.
For people who only know him from “Happy Days” he recommends they check out MBF when it is released in November, and to check out the roles he played on “CHiPs”, “Star Trek: Voyager” and “The Yankles.”
“I Played a rocker like a KISS kind of rocker, a rock n’ roll character, a Gene Simmons type on TV once for an episode of ‘CHiPS.’ That was very different,” said Most.
As for the White Lake Area, at the time of this interview, Most said he hasn’t had a lot of time to explore it. He has been busy with shooting, but did manage to play a round of golf at Double JJ Resort, 5900 Water St in Rothbury; which he said was beautiful.
“Lost Heart” will finish filming in the White Lake Area on Aug. 1. It stars Melissa Aschutz, Don Most, Victoria Jackson and Josh “The Ponceman” Perry.