From space hero to space junkie, actor Robert Leeshock has ventured far and wide into the vast expanse of the science fiction genre.
Best known for his role on the sci-fi tv series ‘Earth: The Final Conflict’ from the early 2000’s, Robert returns to the genre he loves dearly in his latest flick, Star Leaf, a film he describes as a mixture of “weed, veterans and aliens”.
If that isn’t enough to peak your interest (how couldn’t it?), Star Leaf in greater detail is a film about hikers who stumble upon a secret crop of extra-terrestrial marijuana and must fight for their lives after the aliens guarding their stash seek to protect what’s their’s. With a tagline like ‘Some highs are out of this world’ you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking this was a film that could be stored into the ridiculous category along with movies like Sharknado. But, Star Leaf is more than meets the eye or should i say high 😉
At it’s heart, under a layer of cringe worthy set-up, is a strong message on marijuana use and PTSD, something Robert Leeshock was proud to be a part of spreading.
“Our job is to take the clear and present issues of PTSD as it affects soldiers from countless wars and through a very sneaky process we like to call ‘entertainment’, we introduce an alien sci-fi motif to provide a platform for marijuana to be used a gateway to the unconscious, while at the same time promoting responsible cannabis use.”
In the film, a soldier suffering from PTSD finds an escape in the extra-terrestrial cannabis he stumbles upon. Although in the movie veiled behind science-fiction, Star Leaf scratches the surface of marijuana’s ability to help those suffering from PTSD. Robert and the rest of the cast and crew on the film had a vested interest in the topic with Robert telling me about the extensive research that’s gone into seeing what benefits cannabis can offer sufferers.
“With the aid of cannabis, the subconscious can be accessed which then enables the rerouting of responses to PTSD triggers, providing a remedied response to stimuli associated with this disorder.”
Looking back Robert feels like the film served their purpose of educating and entertaining.
“We take the audience on a journey of self discovery, yeah kind of like a ‘trip’, but also guided by a multitude of characters, including a Park Ranger serving as kind of ‘kharmic police’ to balance both the real and the unreal. Trippy stuff…”
Although advocating it potential uses, Robert is quick to emphasise that the film doesn’t encourage marijuana use amongst our most vulnerable.
“We are not advocating marijuana or alcohol use for kids or the undeveloped mind and psycho-emotional states of our youth. But, we’ve got to rethink this and take away big Pharma’s suppression and the Federal government’s reluctance to acknowledge the benefits of this naturally occurring plant!”
Before he was battling drug wielding aliens, Robert had a successful stint on sci-fi tv show ‘Earth:The Final Conflict’ just over a decade ago. Looking back, Robert recalls the ups and the downs of being part of the show.
“I was lucky to be a part of the most dynamic seasons where the show really got massaged and reworked and it was really an exciting time. The foundation for the show was pretty awesome and I am fond of the work that the writers and the late Majel Roddenberry had done along with Kevin Kilner to facilitate that first season. The mythology was set up quite well. I only wish we could have really nailed down the arc of seasons 2 to 5 up front. Then it would probably remain as one of the more memorable Star Trek derivative series.”
In amongst both these appearances Robert found the time to write the short film Godmachine, which explored AI power, the beginnings of the universe and unification of man and machine. Robert notes how unique and demanding it was writing a film saying, “Well, writing is re-writing and Godmachine was always being rewritten. We ultimately came up with a pretty awesome story.”
With a fond and seemingly endless love of the science-fiction genre Robert says when it comes to sci-fi it can’t just be serious, “it’s still gotta be “goofy” and fun! Otherwise, it’s just physics class and b-o-r-i-n-g.” With Star Leaf, Robert has certainly stayed true to his belief.
If you thought it couldn’t get any wackier than Star Leaf, Robert shared some details of his next film Wulfkrieg.
“It’s about a German family of werewolves who are being recruited by the Nazis for their supernatural powers to fight against the Allies in WWII. It’s an awesome story! Sci-fi reigns supreme, I can’t fight it!!”
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