Melissa Leo didn't hesitate to accept The Parting Glass role

Anna Paquin and her husband also recruited Ed Asner and Rhys Ifans to the low-budget drama.

Actress Melissa Leo jumped at the opportunity to reunite with Anna Paquin on new movie The Parting Glass, even though she was warned filmmakers had no money for the project.

The movie is actor Stephen Moyer's directorial debut, and he recruited his wife Paquin to star in and co-produce the dark drama, about a family struggling to come to terms with the suicide of a sibling.

Together with screenwriter and co-star Denis O'Hare, they managed to use their connections to recruit Leo, Cynthia Nixon, Rhys Ifans, and Ed Asner for the independent film, even though the budget was slim.

Oscar winner Paquin was upfront about the financing when she reached out to Leo, her co-star in a 2004 New York theatre production of Neil LaBute's The Distance From Here, but that wasn't of concern to the Frozen River actress - and she didn't even get to the end of the screenplay before agreeing to join the cast.

"Melissa and I had done an off Broadway play years ago and stayed in touch," Anna recalled to Variety. "I emailed her the script, told her we had no money. She read a third of it and said, 'I'm in'."

Paquin reveals Sex and the City star Cynthia happened to be a friend of O'Hare's, while Moyer was already pals with Ifans, but scoring industry veteran Asner was a real surprise.

"He was a gift from the gods," she smiled. "We didn't have any connection (to him). He read it and it was an immediate yes."

The topic of mental health is central to the story of The Parting Glass, which is based on O'Hare's personal experience, and Paquin explains the timeliness of the subject matter was what drew her and Moyer to the project.

"We always wanted this to be part of the de-stigmatisation and discussion of mental health issues by sharing a personal story," she said. "(If we have open conversations), then perhaps people in their desperate moments might not feel they cannot reach out."

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