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OTRC: Mariel Hemingway promotes suicide awareness with new role

Mariel Hemingway appears in a still from the 2008 film, 'The Golden Boys.' (Roadside Attractions)

Mariel Hemingway has spent much of the last decade promoting suicide awareness, which is perhaps why she joined the cast of "Archie's Final Project," a film formerly known as "My Suicide."

"There's been at least seven suicides in my family, so obviously appearing in the film had great significance for me," Hemingway told the Associated Press.

The actress' older sister Margaux and grandfather, novelist Ernest Hemingway are among those who took their own lives. While Hemingway attributes their deaths partially to a chemical imbalance, she mostly blames lifestyle choices.

"Creative families such as the Hemingway's tend to have substance abuse, they tend to have depression, and all kinds of things," Hemingway continued. "There are lifestyle choices you can make that can at least lessen the severity."

"Archie's Final Project," which had a limited release on September 23, deals with teen suicide through the point of view of a disenfranchised high school student, who announces that for his school video project, he will be filming his own suicide.

The film has started a national dialogue about suicide and through the use of social media, started the IamAnArchie awareness and prevention campaign.

"Because there's a lack of a sense of future when you're that age, there seems to be this very dramatic response that life doesn't seem to make sense," Hemingway said.

26-year-old Gabriel Sunday, who co-wrote, edited and starred in the film as Archibald Williams, said "Movies and mainstream media treat teens as emotionless and clueless ... but this film honestly portrays them."

Hemingway agreed that the film's relatability and humor is helpful in dealing with the difficult subject, especially with teenagers.

"As serious a message as they are getting, they're resonating with the humor," she says. "Still, it's a powerful statement that pulls the wool off of everybody's eyes and says, 'take a look, kids are really unhappy.'"

Though social media is helping "Archie's Final Project" to become a cult film sensation, Hemingway acknowledges that the internet has changed the way young people grow up and learn about the world.

"I didn't grow up like them. I didn't grow up having access to any information I want via the Internet," Hemingway said. "They have too much information, and a lack of experience to absorb it."

Hemingway earned an Oscar in 1979 for her supporting role in the Woody Allen film, "Manhattan." She has also starred in films like "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," "The Suicide Club," "Delirious," "Deconstructing Harry" and "The Golden Boys."

The 49-year-old actress also appeared on several TV series including "Civil Wars," "C.P.W." and on two episodes of "Roseanne."

"Archie's Final Project" had a limited release in New York, Los Angeles and Santa Fe and will be released on DVD on December 6. Watch a trailer below.

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