EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


July 9, 2007

Life of short-story great Dubus featured in film

HAVERHILL - Several stories written by the late Andre Dubus were transformed into screenplays for Hollywood films. Now the camera is being pointed directly at his life.

It catches images of his resting place in Haverhill, the places he frequented, and his family, friends and literary peers who tell the story of his life for a new documentary film.

The film, "The Times Are Never So Bad: The Life of Andre Dubus," is directed and produced by Fall River native Edward Delaney, a journalist and writer who teaches at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island and admires Dubus' fiction writing. The first part of the movie title is borrowed from one of Dubus' short stories.

The movie takes viewers across America, from Dubus' favorite bar in Bradford Square in Haverhill to Stanford University in California to interview famed writer Tobias Wolff - a close friend of Dubus.

Delaney interviews several Dubus family members, including Dubus' son, Andre Dubus III of Newbury, who wrote the national best-selling book "House of Sand and Fog."

As it turns out, telling a compelling story about the elder Dubus, who died unexpectedly in 1999, was easy to do, Delaney said.

"No. 1, this guy had a tremendously interesting life," Delaney said. "And the Dubus family and the extended family are all such great storytellers. It's in the blood with most of them."

Delaney's big break came recently when the film was selected to be shown at the Rhode Island International Film Festival Aug. 7 to 12. He has entered the film in several other film festivals, but he said he has not thought much about whether it will be a hit in theaters. He said it may just be seen in classrooms or by people who buy the DVD when it is produced.

Delaney does not expect to make much money from the film.

"I'm just letting it roll," he said.

Delaney has not scheduled a showing of the film locally, though that may happen, he said.

When Delaney approached the Dubus family with an idea for a film, the younger Andre Dubus agreed - he knew Delaney from literary circles and liked him. He thought Delaney would present an accurate portrait of his father in the first documentary film ever done about the short-story master.

"I just felt that my father was in safe hands with him," he said of Delaney.

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