Dave Matthews will appear in Because of Winn-Dixie a feature film directed by Wayne Wang (Smoke, Maid in Manhattan), which is currently in post-production with plans for a theatrical release later this year.
"What originally drew me to it, after reading the book and the script, was I thought it was a really sweet story, and it's a small story," Matthews says. "By no means do I think it will have the effect of judging me as an actor as if I've thrown myself into some giant spectacle. It's a small spectacle."
The role is actually Matthews' second, though it might be his first to be seen by viewers nationwide. He had a part in the update of Where the Red Fern Grows, which was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival last May, but due to financial troubles has yet to see a theatrical release.
In Winn-Dixie, based upon the popular young adult novel by Kate Dicamillo, the DMB frontman plays Otis, an ex-con drifter who arrives in Naomi, Florida, and settles in as the owner of a pet shop, where he imparts his wisdom to Opal, the young girl at the film's center.
Matthews also plans to contribute new songs to the film's soundtrack; his character has trouble stringing thoughts together without a guitar in his hand. "I always said that if I ever do a part in a movie, I would refuse to play music," Matthews says. "But I realized that this is the perfect part for me. I got to write some songs and, in a way, try not to be myself. Although I can't really escape the way that I write, it was fun to pretend."
Next for Matthews will be the writing process for the next Dave Matthews Band album, the follow-up to 2002's Busted Stuff.