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Raul Castillo Talks Working on Surreal ‘Limbo’ Short With Sam Elliott

Variety logo Variety 6/22/2017 Terry Flores

Award-winning live-action short “Limbo,” starring Raul Castillo and featuring the voice of Sam Elliott, will be premiere on Vimeo on June 27.

“Limbo,” adapted from an untitled Meathaus graphic novella by Marian Churchland by director Will Blank and Richard Koponas, tells the tale of a man stranded alone through the desert who encounters a mysterious dying dog.

“There’s no doubt that Marian Churchland’s voice drew me to ‘Limbo.’ Our director, Will Blank, very wisely, included the original source material when he first sent me the script and I felt that if we stayed loyal to Marian’s comic, then we would be in good hands,” says Castillo, who starred in HBO’s “Looking,” “Also, getting to act opposite an animatronic dog voiced by Sam Elliott was a huge plus.”

Director Blank says Elliott was his first choice to voice the dog, and mentioned it to producer Casey Fenton, who said “Why don’t we ask him?”

“I laughed and agreed it was worth a shot,” he explains. After first reaching out to Elliott’s voiceover agent and then having the project featured in IndieWire’s Project of the Day, they heard back. “We faxed Sam the comic and received an enthusiastic yes,” says Blank. “He really blew all of our minds an dit was a true joy to work with him.”

Elliott provided the voice of the mystical dying dog, which was created by creature designer Tim Martin. The design and construction of the fully functional animatronic dog puppet was a key aspect of the production. It was operated by three puppeteers.

Elliott is currently starring in “The Hero,” about an aging Western star facing his mortality and trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter.

Blank said Churchland’s novella resonated with him because he was going through some personal struggles at the time. “I related to the feeling of being untethered, full of regret and uncertain what to do next,” he says. “Against that emotional backdrop, the interaction between the man and a supernatural dog felt fresh and interesting; it was a catalyst I needed in my own life.”

The short, which premiered at Fantasia Fest, recently won Cine Gear’s Independent Short Film Award and has played at a number of festivals, including Toronto After Dark and Fantastic Fest.

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