Identical twin brothers Noah Miller and Logan
Miller, the writers, directors, producers and actors of their film "Touching
Home", seated here at the very table where their late father had dinner with
Logan. The film is dedicated to their father, who passed away in January
2006. In the film, Ed Harris plays their father. (All photos: Omar
Fueled By A Father's Love, The Miller Twins
Salute Their Dear Departed With A Debut Film
Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel
June 15, 2008
Today is a special day for fathers everywhere, more special than all the other
Fathers' Days of the year. Logan Miller and Noah Miller will no doubt
reflect today on the gift of their departed father and praise him as their
inspiration for a foray into filmmaking. Last week, both reflected on
their father's life and what he meant to them.
The Millers are identical twins. Born in Lagunitas, California, seven
miles to the north west of the small town of Fairfax in Northern California, a
more local town than its more touristy neighbors to the south, Sausalito and
Tiburon. Fairfax, about 30 minutes north of San Francisco, has been home
to Logan and Noah for virtually all their lives. Neither has traveled
outside of North America or Mexico, but they said they'd loved to if they could.
The twins grew up with a father who cared for them but cared just a little more
about alcohol. The Miller Brothers talked about the effects of their
father's addiction to drinking. "He'd just forget where he was . . . we
spent a lot of time you know, driving around, looking for his truck.
That's what we depicted in the movie. That's something we did quite a
bit," said Logan, who is seven minutes younger than Noah. Logan, wearing a
plaid shirt on what has turned out to be a boisterously hot second Saturday in
June, looks like a young Bobby Kennedy. Noah, in a white t-shirt,
resembles a tall, athletic-looking Michael Rooker. Both are lean and
muscular. "Alcoholism -- the thing about alcoholism is that you're going
to be confronting someone who's extremely irrational," said Noah, who went on to
describe the myriad occasions on which they'd find their dad staggering around
in Fairfax, incoherent and in no man's land. Noah is quick to point out
that alcohol, which had an oppressive grip on his father, was by no means the
only memory of him and that the twins were not looking to travel down an avenue
that meant the glorification or romanticizing of a continuous drunken stupor.
The hard life caught up to Daniel Miller who died on January 5, 2006 in Marin
County Jail. Mr. Miller, a blue-collar man, was a hardscrabble,
get-the-hands-dirty industrious type, laboring very hard for a living.
Pure grit and industry, he was the personification of the term "working stiff".
He lived in his truck in a nearby park in the woods, where skyscraper-tall
redwood trees had dominion over him providing shelter, though mother nature's
raindrops ultimately had the final say. Mr. Miller was picked up for yet
another violation -- public drunkenness -- and Logan and Noah never got to
properly say goodbye to him.
By the time they did it was January 6.
Daniel Miller had spoken with his twin sons about making a film about his life,
and he had given them the green light to make it happen. The twin Millers
had never made a film before but they managed to get themselves to a place where
they had to just move forward when the tragic news came their way. Called
"Touching Home", Logan and Noah Miller's film, in which they wrote, produced,
directed and acted, stars Ed Harris as their father, named Charles in the film.
The film which is poignant, heartwarming and wonderfully rendered, is a stunning
achievement both in its cinematography by Ricardo Gale' and edited by Robert Dalva
(a member of the original Zoetrope Studio group headed by Francis Ford
Coppola in San Francisco), and its storytelling. With one exception, all
of the film locations were actually where specific events in Daniel and the
twins' lives occurred.
"Touching Home" is inspired by a true story, but it is clear that virtually
single moment in it is a hallmark of Logan and Noah's lives with their father
growing up. Wary as Logan and Noah are of being depicted in the ways that
identical twins typically are chronicled by the press in societies the world
over, they politely declined a photo shoot request that would have exemplified
the duality and symbiotic aspects of their unique twosome, for lack of better
terminology. In true twin-speaking style though, their responses to nearly
all of the questions were not interruptions of, as much as they were
interactions with, each other.
"When he was sober," remarked Noah, "he was a wonderful, he was a wonderful
person, you know he was a very loving and he had a great sense of humor, I mean
he worked every single day. There was also, I think --
"Dichotomy is what causes the pain really," said Logan. "If somebody's an
asshole all the time, you write them off."
"Yeah", Noah chimed in.
"Big deal. But when you have all these lovely and very endearing
attributes and then they have this sort of, this sort of . . . "
A ladybug has just landed on Logan's neck as he has been talking. And the
older brother is laughing as he takes aim at the minute creature, flicking it
off. Within seconds Logan and his questioner are also laughing.
"Touching Home" had its world premiere on April 26, 2008 at the San Francisco
International Film Festival. The road to that day in April was not an easy
one, from the time the film got going -- the Miller Brothers shot for 29 days
spread over the course of one year, beginning in March 2006 and ending in early
April 2007. Schedules of the some of the cast members meant that the only
time that they could be available was at very specific times, accounting for the
wide sprawl of time over the one year period.
The film and its details of how it came about will be fully explored in part two
of this three-part story later this week, but on this Fathers' Day the focus is
the memory of Daniel Miller.
As Logan and Noah -- who describe themselves as very optimistic -- talk about
their father their words evoke a sincerity and genuine aspect to him, which also
comes across strongly in "Touching Home".
"You have all this hope and optimism that maybe you had a great time with him
the last time we saw him. And say you're hopeful that next time is going
to be like that . . . " Logan said.
"And that he's gonna quit drinking," Noah added.
"And then boom -- you see him and he's drunk and he's even worse and so then it
drops you back down and you've got to pick up. So I think it's all those
vicissitudes, you know, those emotional sort of ups and downs, those
fluctuations that are just something that -- you just learn to deal with . . .
", said Logan.
We walk through the woods of a nearby camp, Camp Samuel P. Taylor, off Sir
Francis Drake Boulevard where Daniel Miller made his home, specifically in his
truck. "He was about five-ten, so maybe six feet by twelve, fifteen feet,"
said Noah, speaking of his dad's living quarters, a trailer initially. "It
was a box," Logan said. There is a wooden bench we approach. It is
the exact bench where Logan Miller and had dinner with Daniel Miller.
"We spent many meal nights with our father here," Logan said.
"It was cathartic in that way, because when Log [pronounced Logue] -- the first
day that we filmed with Ed . . . ", said Noah.
" . . . just emotionally we had a lot of guilt (toward their dad) that because
of our station in life. We couldn't help him very much -- we didn't have
any money, so there was a lot of guilt that we felt when he passed away.
We didn't get to say goodbye . . . it was so abrupt," Noah said.
Both Logan and Noah played baseball and had aspirations of making it to the big
leagues. Logan played catcher with the Dunedin Blue Jays, a Single A Minor
League Baseball outfit of Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays. Noah
was a pitcher in college. And through it all, their father always
steadfastly supported their paths in life. A wonderful moment between
father and son occurs toward the end of "Touching Home", and it is a moving
representation of the relationship between the three.
Later on, both would admit that there were a lot of times that where they were
so angry at their father that they wanted to slug him. "Oh yeah," said
Noah. "Are you kidding me?" Logan agreed. "There were times
that we were mad at him," but "we loved him very much".
There's no doubt that on this day, that Logan and Noah wish Daniel Miller a very
Happy Fathers' Day. On this hot Saturday in early June one noted that
they've looked skyward on one or two occasions, and that surely was no accident.
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