Listen to Looch: 'Shepard & Dark' explores a longtime friendship


Mary Lucia talks about the 2012 documentary 'Shepard & Dark' from Music Box Films. (The Current)

I saw a documentary that stayed with me for days, and that's always a good sign for me.

It's a documentary called Shepard & Dark, and it's about the relationship between a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and playwright, Sam Shepard, and a guy named Johnny Dark, and their letter-writing correspondence over the course of 40 years.

Shepard & Dark originally released in 2012, but it is available for streaming on YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes and Sling TV.

From the press notes: Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and, despite leading very different lives, remained close friends ever since. Shepard became a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright (Buried Child) and an Academy Award-nominated actor (The Right Stuff), while Dark was a homebody who supported himself with odd jobs. Through the decades, they stayed bonded by family ties. Dark married an older woman named Scarlett and Shepard married her daughter. For years, the two couples lived together, until Shepard broke away for a relationship with Jessica Lange in 1983, leaving Johnny to help father Sam's first son. Nevertheless, Shepard and Dark continued writing to each other, amassing hundreds of letters.

Director Treva Wurmfeld began filming the two friends in 2010 during a period of transition and reflection for Shepard. At the time, he had quietly ended his relationship with Lange and agreed to publish his correspondence with Dark. The task required them to meet and sift through years of their shared history, stirring memories both good and bad. Wurmfeld observes the two men over a period of 18 months and captures an indelible portrait of a complex male friendship rarely depicted on screen.

Official Trailer

External Link

Shepard & Dark - official site (Music Box Films)

4 Photos

  • 'Shepard & Dark' press image
    Poster for the 2012 documentary 'Shepard & Dark,' directed by Treva Wurmfeld. (Music Box Films)
  • 'Shepard & Dark' press image
    Johnny Dark and Sam Shepard, a still image from the film 'Shepard & Dark,' directed by Treva Wurmfeld. (courtesy Music Box Films)
  • 'Shepard & Dark' press image
    Sam Shepard reads a letter from his friend Johnny Dark in the 2012 documentary, 'Shepard & Dark,' directed by Treva Wurmfeld. (Music Box Films)
  • 'Shepard & Dark' press image
    Director Treva Wurmfeld (courtesy Music Box Films)