Ben Lanier and Peter Fonda discuss Fonda's role as beekeeper in "Ulee's Gold".
In the spring of 1996, award winning director Victor Nunez purchased a jar of Tupelo honey from the Lanier's stand in downtown Wewahitchka. He then drove to their house, explained that he was planning to make a movie about a beekeeper, and asked Ben and Glynnis to help. Before he knew it, Ben was teaching actor Peter Fonda how to handle bees, and Glynnis, L.L. and Martha were cast as extras. Some of Ben's dialog was used in the script, and he worked with the film crew in an effort to make the beekeeping scenes in the film as true-to-life as possible. All of the swamp lands and bee yards in the film belong to the Laniers. For those of you that have been lucky enough to see this fine film, the old truck where the money was hidden is still there!
Fonda's leading role portrayed a Vietnam veteran who lives in a small community in Florida tending his bees. The great story line finds the reluctant hero dangerously involved with bank robbers in an attempt to protect his daughter-in-law and his grandchildren. Fonda's character is aided by a neighbor, played by Home Improvement's Patricia Richardson. Other cast includes Christine Dunford (Tony Danza Show), Tom Wood (The Fugative), Kenneth Campbell (The Abyss), Jessica Biel (Seventh Heaven), Vanessa Zima, Steven Flynn, Dewey Weber, Traber Burns and Ryan Dumford.
Ulee's Gold was the Centerpiece Premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 1996. Ben and Glynnis attended the event, and watched with pride as Robert Redford introduced the film, and as Victor Nunez presented the festival's host with a jar of Lanier's Tupelo Honey.
Since then, Ben and Glynnis have continued to be involved with the film, traveling (among other places) to New York City for the film's promotion.