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If there were any doubts on my part about how talented an actor Josh Wiggins is, and there weren’t many after seeing his powerful performance in HELLION, they disappeared when I met the first-time actor. Where his character, Jacob, is angry and rebellious, Wigigns is like a ray of sunshine with a wicked sense of humor.
When I spoke to the actor and the writer/director of his film, Kat Candler on April 28, 2014, one of the things I most wanted to know was where Wiggins had gone within himself to find such rage, and from Candler how she had found this young man, and worked with him to get such a visceral performance. In the course of the conversation, I leared that film directors assign homework, hanging out with co-star Aaron Paul is cool, and that a grilled cheese sandwiche can be a personality barometer.
HELLION is their film about growing up, letting go, and being an adult. Wiggins stars as Jacob, a thirteen-year-old coping with the death of his mother, and the loss of his father to grief. Left to sort things out for himself, he embarks on a course of vandalism and filial rebellion that lands him in trouble with the law, and to his brother being removed to the custody of his aunt. The film co-stars Aaron Paul as his father, Juliette Lewis as his aunt, and Deke Garner as his brother. Chandler directed from her own script. Candler’s previous work includes CICADAS, and the short, BLACK METAL. HELLION received special mention with the SXSW Gamechanger Award. She is also a film lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin.