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Durango High School graduate can be seen in new film ‘The Post’

Durango High School graduate Abbey Hunt, center, plays Penny Sanders in the new film “The Post.” (Courtesy of Justin Hunt)
Movie will open Oct. 20 at the Gaslight Theatre

For 2021 Durango High School graduate Abbey Hunt, Oct. 20 will be a homecoming ... of sorts.

Durango friends, family and movie buffs will be able to see her on the big screen at the Gaslight Theatre in the new movie, “The Post,” which was written and directed by her father, Justin Hunt, and also features her brother, Lantz.

“The Post” is a revenge thriller set in Central Texas, Justin said. It opens with the body of a teenage boy being found in a park. A video was posted on social media of him getting beaten up, and the boy’s father, who doesn’t get a lot of support from authorities, tries to find out exactly what happened to his son.

“I’m challenging some of the nonsense that social media brings to our culture,” Justin said. “And so the dad goes to the school administration and the authorities to try to get some help on figuring out who it is. And he doesn’t really get any help for reasons that are eventually disclosed throughout the film. So he starts trying to figure it out on his own.”

Abbey Hunt is a 2021 graduate of Durango High School. (Courtesy of Justin Hunt)

Justin said the majority of the film was shot in Albuquerque, but a few things were shot in Farmington using San Juan Regional Medical Center and San Juan County Detention Center.

"The Post“ is currently in six theaters around the country, he said, with three of those in Allen Theatres in Farmington and Gallup, New Mexico, and the Gaslight Theatre in Durango.

In the film, Abbey plays Penny Sanders, daughter of the protagonist, Jett Sanders, and sister of Jake, the boy who gets killed.

If you go

“The Post” will be shown Oct. 20 at the Gaslight Theatre, 102 E. Fifth St. For movie times and tickets, visit https://tinyurl.com/bddf2z4v.

“The Post” also includes William Sterchi (“Outer Range,” “Hell or High Water,” “Gold”), Lincoln Castellanos (“Gray’s Anatomy,” “Cry Macho,” “Fear the Walking Dead”) and Lize Johnston (“The Exorcist: Believer,” “Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities”).

Abbey is no stranger to being in movies – this is, in fact, her fourth, Justin said. When she was 9, she was in his first narrative film, “Far Too Far.” A cool side note: Last year, it got optioned by a London-based company that’s planning a British remake. As a gesture to the original, Abbey has been cast as a babysitter.

After that appearance, Abbey, who’s now 20, took a break until “The Post.”

"(’Far Too Far’) kind of gave me some experience,“ she said. ”I didn’t do anything after that, until this year. And then I started again, and I was like, ‘Yeah, this is really fun.’“

But just because she’s the director’s daughter, don’t get the idea that she was just handed the part. Justin said she had to try out for the role.

“She showed an interest in being in the film, and I said, ‘OK, but you have to audition like everybody else,’” he said. "She auditioned against about 30 other girls and our casting director made the decision ... she had to do what everyone else had to do.“

For Abbey, auditioning was the most challenging aspect of being in the film.

“That honestly might have been the most nerve-wracking part when he told me that because I don’t have the setup that professional actors have,” she said. “I had to record my own tape and then I had to Zoom with the casting director and go over a scene. Inside I was freaking out.”

Once on set, though, Abbey said that not only was the work fun – “I would do it every day if I could” – the cast and crew, including her father, made her feel at ease.

“I was very comfortable the whole time,” she said. “Everybody on set was super awesome. And also my brother was there for part of my scenes as well, so I was just surrounded by so much love and support.”

And when it comes to family members working together – especially parents and kids – the dynamic can either be one of fun or ... not so much. For Justin, Abbey and Lantz, it’s the former, Justin said.

“It’s really special. I’ve got a very strong relationship with my kids,” he said. "My relationship with them has never been this hierarchy-type thing where you do what I say because I’m dad. We have a very strong relationship that’s full of communication. And it’s been like that since they were little ... It’s so special working with them, especially at this age – 22 and 20 – because they’re aware of how hard I’ve had to work to get this opportunity. And so, the three of us are celebrating the success together because they get they get what I’ve gone through.“

Lantz, Justin and Abbey Hunt attend a screening of their latest film, “The Post.” (Courtesy of Justin Hunt)

Abbey, who is currently majoring in accounting in college, said her studies are her priority, but she’s not discounting future acting roles.

“I’m going to see where this one goes,” she said. “I’m going to keep continuing my college career, but if for some reason something happened, I would definitely be open to trying out some more things.”


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