American actor and filmmaker Jim Cummings’ most well-known work is his 2016 short film Thunder Road. In 2018, he turned it into a full-length feature film by getting the project funded through various sources like a Kickstarter campaign and other investors who reached out to him due to the popularity and critical acclaim of the original short.
Brilliantly shot in one take, Thunder Road presents the funeral of the mother of a police officer (played by Cummings himself). When he is asked to come up to deliver the eulogy, he indulges in a manifestation of his raw emotions by singing and dancing to Bruce Springsteen’s eponymous song.
To produce the wonderful short, Cummings had to jump through a lot of hoops. While working at the popular comedy company CollegeHumor, the filmmaker wrote the screenplay during his commute. Thunder Road ended up receiving widespread praise and won the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
“I just feel like acting is self-directing anyway,” Cummings explained in an interview. “It’s like anytime I’m in the frame, I’m thinking about how much I should turn so the camera can see me and if somebody’s walking in front of me how much they’re gonna block… and you know, I really trusted people behind the camera and so that’s really helpful.
“I can trust them to make it great so when I come back behind the monitor and I’m like, I think I got it, I think that was the best performance I’ll do, and they go, ‘I think we got it’, then I’m like ‘cool, we can move on, we don’t have to watch playback, that’s good.’ It’s taken years to do that, but it’s nice to have that now.”
Watch Jim Cummings’ award-winning short film Thunder Road below: