14-year-old African-American Eli (Myles Truitt) lives in Detroit with his adoptive father Hal (Dennis Quaid), a compassionate yet strict construction site supervisor and widower who senses Eli falling into delinquency. While exploring an abandoned building site looking for materials to scrap for extra money, Eli happens upon the aftermath of an otherworldly shoot-out. In the debris, he finds an unusual-looking metallic box and takes it home. He doesn’t know what it is, but holding it seems to activate it, and Eli decides to guard it preciously.
At the same time, Eli’s older, white brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor) – Hal’s biological son – has just come home from a prison stint, eager to reconnect with Eli and mend an estranged relationship with their father. But Jimmy also harbors a most pressing need: to pay back local gangster Taylor (James Franco), the man who kept him alive inside.
After Jimmy’s dangerous attempt to secure the money ends tragically, he hits the road, with Eli – and his strange new possession – in tow. Chased by a criminal bent on revenge, and two otherworldly beings in pursuit of their missing hardware, Jimmy and Eli are forced to go on the run. With the help of a friendly stranger named Milly (Zoë Kravitz) they pick up along the way, these lost brothers realize quickly the consequences of their actions, and their secrets.
But for Eli, learning what this mysterious and powerful weapon can accomplish becomes more than just a case of protection – it might also reveal his destiny.
For the filmmakers, “Kin” is in some respects a twist on a classic tale. “This movie was our version of the Sword in the Stone fable,” says Josh Baker. His brother Jonathan adds, “It’s about a boy who has experienced loss and is drawn to something that only he can hold and ultimately wield. This is the sci-fi version of a very familiar tale. Only here we have a 14-year-old boy holding an alien weapon.”
Because Eli represents the heart of the story, as well as the link between its everyday elements and its sci-fi possibilities, it was imperative that the filmmakers cast a young actor who could portray something earthbound, deep, and yet naturally inquisitive the way all fourteen-year-olds are. Recalls producer Jeff Arkuss. “We narrowed the search down to three boys, all of whom traveled to Boston where Jack (Reynor) was shooting a movie. We read with him, and I think it was pretty clear to everybody that Myles Truitt was the one. He had a soulful quality that connected everybody to him right off the bat.”
Truitt says he was very impressed with “Bag Man.” “I watched the short film,” he says. “And it was very quiet. It was all about the emotion and movement in his eyes. And then I saw this huge alien weapon and I thought, ‘I have got to be a part of this!’”
The directors marveled at how quickly Truitt, with little experience, learned the ropes of professional acting in a big feature. “It was quite impressive,” says Josh Baker. “By the end, you could really see the maturity. He reflects his character, Eli, perfectly. In many ways, he went on the same journey as Eli.”
“Kin”opens August 29 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.