Written and directed by Tony McNamara, his latest film ASHBY is inspired by the classic film Harold and Maude from director Hal Ashby, who uses odd coupling of characters to tell a memorable story.
Influenced by this example, McNamara says, "I like the idea of the divergent ways of looking at life, coming together and what they do to each other." In reference to his two main characters, he describes, "Ashby (Mickey Rourke), a retiree, lives by a code, and in very entrenched beliefs about himself, his country, masculinity and his religion." He adds, "Ed (Nat Wolff) is a kid who doesn't have much to believe in or trust." In other words, Ed is a lost boy. Ashby has long since been found. When these worlds collide, fireworks can happen. How true this is with McNamara's ASHBY.
During his awkward teenage years, Ed Wallis (Nat Wolff) and his mother, June (Sarah Silverman) move to a new town just after the divorce of his parents. Ed misses his father and longs to spend quality time together. Sadly, Ed's father isn't as interested shown by the countless missed appointments and broken promises to hang-out together. Disappointed and needing a father figure, Ed reaches out to his neighbor, Ashby (Mickey Rourke).
Ashby, a single retiree, is recently given a terminal prognosis. He has not come to terms with its ramifications, but before he leaves this world, he must settle a few scores. Ashby, also a private man has spent a lifetime functioning as a loner. The secrecy with his government job as a professional hit man has its downfalls. Needless to say, Ashby isn't too welcoming at first to the-new-kid-on-the-block. Ashby trusts no one, even in his retirement years.
Ed tries a different approach to get to know Ashby. Ed asks him for advice as to whether he should try out for the football team as a way to get to know some of the popular kids at school. Ashby has sized Ed up as a non-sportsman, brainy kid and tells him it's a bad idea. Ed takes the advice in a mature manner and proceeds to ask Ashby if he would be willing to be his subject for a paper he has to write about someone from an older generation.
Ashby starts to rethink what could come of befriending the neighbor kid because he needs someone to help fulfill a last will and testament. A bout with depression some years earlier helped to facilitate a relationship with booze that sort of ruined his good driving record. Without a drivers license now, Ashby needs a chauffeur.
Ashby agrees to be Ed's subject for his writing assignment in exchange for driving him around town on occasion in his vintage 1966 Oldsmobile Cutlass. A deal is made. Thus begins an unlikely friendship and a comedic journey with Ed and Ashby. Two generations. Two different ways to get their jobs done. Two ideal helpmates to assist the other fulfill their wildest dreams, unbeknownst to them until their pact is complete. A bond has taken place and the true meaning of life is revealed.