Andrew Shue (at left) with "Gracie" director Davis Guggenheim.

There's a moment in the new film "Gracie" when time seems to stop. Fourteen-year-old Gracie Bowen (Carly Schroeder) lies in bed as red police lights flash across her ceiling. She's about to find out that her older brother, the star of the high school soccer team, has been killed in a car crash. She spends a season training hard to take his place, becoming the first girl in South Orange, New Jersey, to play varsity soccer and help bring the team to victory.


"Gracie" is based on real-life events in the family of former "Melrose Place" star Andrew Shue and his sister, Elisabeth Shue, best known for her Oscar-nominated performance in "Leaving Las Vegas." Like Gracie Bowen in the movie, Elisabeth Shue had fought to become the first girl to play on the varsity soccer team at her high school. The Shues lost their older brother, William Shue, a talented soccer player, in 1988. Although that death occurred several years after Elisabeth Shue's graduation from high school (the film takes liberties with chronology), the Shues regarded their brother as their role model, and his death devastated them.


"When Will died, our whole world stopped," says Andrew Shue, who co-produced and co-wrote "Gracie." Both he and his sister have roles in the movie: Andrew (who briefly played soccer for Los Angeles Galaxy) as the soccer coach who encourages Gracie and Elisabeth as Gracie's mother. "Gracie" is set in 1978, around the time that Elisabeth Shue was in high school, and filmed in South Orange, where the Shues grew up. Andrew Shue, who is married and has three sons, now lives in New Jersey again.


Enlisting as director his sister's husband, Davis Guggenheim (who just won an Academy Award for "An Inconvenient Truth"), Andrew Shue turned "Gracie" into a family movie in the truest sense, raising the money himself to produce it without backing from a studio.


After your brother died, your siblings told each other, "You can do anything." Was that a thought that propelled you forward in the making of this film?


After a devastating loss, your whole perspective shifts, and you're kind of in a blank space. You feel like on one side nothing matters, and on the other side a freedom because nothing matters.


Freedom in what sense?


In the sense that you're not being held back by what society thinks you should be. Once you get that blank slate, that's key to then being able say, "Why not? Why not go to Africa and play soccer?" And that is something our brother had—this freedom of just going for life. We told each other we could do anything, and it's really just saying that we found the courage to take on our brother's gamble and go for it without worrying about tomorrow. Thinking about what was going to happen—that's what held us back. A lot of things that we did—what my sister's done, what my younger brother's done, what I've done—they're all just ventures in trying to live a passionate life.

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