The movie tells the story of Jefferson Bailey (Morgan Simpson, who also wrote the film), an aspiring blues singer with a severe case of stage fright, alcoholism and bad luck. Augy (Duncan) finds Bailey in Austin, Texas, and breaks bad news: Bailey's grandfather died. As the executor of the will, Augy is tasked with bringing Bailey back to Huntsville, Ala.
Although reluctant to ride alongside a total stranger across state lines, Bailey is left with no choice after Boyd (powerfully played by Luke Perry) comes after him for revenge for a few mishaps - one involving his wife, Jackie (Taryn Manning).
The car ride serves as an escape for Bailey, as well as a time for him to bond with Augy and overcome his demons. However, as secrets are revealed, the men learn the true meaning of redemption, forgiveness and the blues.
Peebles said he was attracted to the script because of the characters' life-affirming qualities. He said, "It's kind of an interesting time to see a film where two men have to really grow and forgive. I like that quality."
The film was originally titled "Black, White, Blues" but the director said the current title is much more reflective of what the script was about. Duncan agrees, saying the original title didn't add enough to the redeeming qualities of the leading characters.
"There is a road that they follow. There is a road that both of us must go down," Duncan said. "They have to face reality at the end of the film. Augy is the type of guy (who) has to redeem himself from something that he did. He has to do this, to redeem himself if he wants to be a better person."
Augy and Bailey travel from Texas to Alabama in the film, but everything was filmed in Nashville. Van Peebles said the city had so much music and served as a good setting, visually and musically.
"I wanted to have a timeless quality to it so you feel the music and the movie could have been made 10 years ago or 10 years from now," Van Peebles said. "The music was woven into the context of the film from the very beginning."
In addition to musicians, Van Peebles hand-picked Duncan for the role of Augy, even coming to his home to convince the actor to star in the film.
"He has such a great presence," Van Peebles said. "He gets the scope of life. He's a big dude, but he has a gentle quality about him. He rolls with the punches."
Duncan was equally excited to work with Van Peebles, saying, "He is a really good director and the writing was excellent. (Van Peebles and Simpson) told me I was the only person that they wanted to play the role. With all of those factors in the pot, it was very easy for me to get into this role."
The actor said Augy was unlike any character he had ever played. He also serves as a co-producer on the project.
Van Peebles said audiences will take away a variety of messages when they see the movie.
"At this time, we often forget some of what makes America great. It's our divisions. It's our commonalities," he said. "I think in this film - what people get when they come out - is that if these two guys can get past all of what they have to get past, then surely we can do it."
"Redemption Road" also features Tom Skerritt and Kiele Sanchez. Visit www. redemptionroadmovie.com for more.