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An Interview with Joe Cornet, Director and Star of Promise

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2021

Joe Cornet on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Promise - in a few words, what is it about?


Promise is a tale of loss and redemption. Four disparate characters who are often at cross purposes are in search of the same thing. A former Union Army scout turned bounty hunter, a mysterious young woman, a psychotic killer and an unsavory saddle tramp set out to find a legendary Confederate treasure and ultimately their paths cross. It is a story about confronting the past to secure the future.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Promise?


Certainly the great films by Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Leone inspired some aspects of this. I also wanted to have a story based on something real in history which Promise certainly has.


What can you tell us about your movie's approach to the western genre?


With this film, I approached it relying on Greek Tragedy. It truly is a western elegy in which the main characters seek redemption for the misfortunes and/or crimes of their pasts.


Promise isn't the first western you've made - so what makes you return to the genre time and again?


I like westerns! I suppose I keep inventing new ideas for stories and they just seem to fit into the western genre.


Where was Promise filmed, what was it like filming there, and how easy or hard was it to find the right locations?


Great thanks to Peter and Maureen Menyhart who own the Whitehorse Ranch. The location has everything plus an amazing wardrobe and prop department. We had filmed there before so the decision to film this story there was an easy one.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


I look at the relationships all the characters have to each other and approach it that way. I always seek the motivations.


You also play one of the leads in Promise - so what can you tell us about your character, what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and did you write him with yourself in mind from the get-go?


I play Ransom, a former Union Army scout turned bounty hunter, who is wracked with guilt over the loss of the love of his life. He’s a very conflicted guy, dark, silent, brooding but with solid character. I wrote the original version of this script a few years ago and after some time to reflect on it, I rewrote it and decided it was time to film it. There is definitely some of me in the character I play.


Do talk about the rest of your key cast, and why exactly these people?


I had the pleasure of one of the finest casts I ever worked with. The great Don Murray! Check out his fine scenes in the film. Kerry Goodwin did an amazing job with the key tragic lead who sets all the story in motion. James Henderson is particularly dark and disturbing as a strange bounty hunter. Curt Lambert does a real tour de force as the menacing yet comedic “Wildeye”, and Trista Robinson [Trista Robinson interview - click here] knocks it out of the park in her performance as the lead, Promise Sawyer. Before I start a production, I always have in mind who I want while I work on the screenplay. I was lucky in this to get everyone I envisioned.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


Many of us have worked together before, so it is like a bunch of old friends having fun. I must say it was the most pleasant shoot I’ve ever been on!


The $64-question of course, where can Promise be seen?


Amazon Prime, iTunes, AppleTV and most streaming platforms.


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Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Promise yet?


We have had a few private screenings and the reception has been great. I am told there has not been a story like this told in quite a while!


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Yes. I am currently in pre-production on another western, Assault On Rio Bravo, with the great action film star Alexander Nevsky.


Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?


You can find us on Facebook and Instagram under "San Rafael Productions" or "Joe Cornet".


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Check out the epic score by composer Sean Murray. I just hope people enjoy Promise! It’s a big movie and it’s fun while also having a serious theme.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD