The Long Haul
by Amy Enser
Following the visionaries behind Seattle’s Moulin Rouge-inspired Can Can Productions, the film documents a reimagining of the limited male revue staples such as Chippendales and Thunder from Down Under. The result is the Buckaroos—a theatrical cowboy western variety show featuring the “everyman.”
About The Project
I’ve been a documentary filmmaker and editor in Seattle, WA for quite some time, but never dreamed I would wind up spending multiple years on a feature film about male strippers. It began with my good friend, Jonathan Houser (a.k.a “Hoss”), a very talented cinematographer and “idea guy”. He called me up to pitch an idea for a documentary, which went a little something like this, “Amy! I have this great idea for a documentary… starring ME… and a bunch of other guys… and we take our clothes off!” Like any red-blooded hetero female, I mean professional filmmaker… I was intrigued by the potential… and after one rehearsal visit, I was hooked. For the past two years I’ve followed the Buckaroos through nearly all their rehearsals, creative meetings, music recordings, performances and spray tanning excursions, as they prepare for their shows. I feel incredibly privileged to have spent this time with them and now it’s my great pleasure (and hopefully yours, too!) to share the experience with all of you.Beneath the cowboy hats and bedazzled thongs, the documentary explores themes of masculinity and sexuality through the vulnerabilities of each Buckaroo. The story unfolds through T-Bone Tucker’s narration, delivered onstage and directly to the audience, mimicking the original Buckaroos live show. T-Bone talks to the audience intimately, steering the story through a series of vignettes and moving seamlessly between stage spectacle and real life verite portraits of six unique male performers—an overweight divorcee; a stoic bass player; a black, gay identical twin; a former opiates junkie; a football star turned contemporary dancer; and Kaleb Kerr as T-Bone, a part-time performer who sacrificed full-time stardom in order to lead a stable middle class life. Each stage performance highlights one of the Buckaroos and serves as a portal into his everyday life.
The lifeblood of the troupe is long time Can Can dancer Jonny Boy as “Bronco”, whose dream is to one day build his own version of the Can Can empire. Having lived a very quiet life growing up with two deaf parents, Jonny struggles to express himself anywhere but on stage. We meet Jonny fresh out of Cornish College of the Arts, which he paid for with his football scholarship. Destined for the stage, he joins Can Can as a busboy, and quickly moves through the ranks. As a test of his improv abilities, he’s asked to perform a strip tease on stage…to April Stevens’ Teach Me Tiger… which kicks off Jonny’s 10-year epic as front man of the small, but mighty theater. The culmination of this long term commitment to the Can Can is expressed through his realization of the Buckaroos, but at 31 years old and nearing the end of a dancer’s career, Jonny finds himself at a crucial turning point and must decide between living the life of a dreamer or following his romantic heart. The news of Jonny’s inevitable retirement threatens to disband the Buckaroos and all that they have gained from the experience.Throughout the film we see the humor, charm, wit and camaraderie that keep the Buckaroos striving to make the experience last. From a bar in rural eastern Washington to contractual “pony play” as a professional sub, the journeys of each cast member stray far from their humble beginnings, but as T-Bone says, “You can take the boys out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of them,” and at the end of the day, they all come back to their roots.
About This Team
When you start telling your friends and colleagues that you’re working on a stripper movie, it’s not a hard sell to get them on board! But I’m not a person who asks for help often, even if it’s a no-brainer. However, I’m a firm believer in collaboration and team-building because we’re all more successful when we work and grow together. It thrills me to know so many talented filmmakers in Seattle whom I’ve worked with and cultivated realtionships with over the years, and I couldn’t be happier with the team I’ve assembled.
The cast of characters above are the elves in Santa’s workshop, toiling away behind the scenes to help me realize this zany vision. The missing piece from here on out is YOU! We invite you to participate in this adventure and join the Buck Buddy club with the rest of us!