Echo Boomers is a fast ride in a getaway car to social justice.
How did the realities of a grueling indie film shoot stack up against the dream of directing for first timer Seth Savoy? “I’m going to do this forever,” Seth said.
Your first feature at age 28, how does that feel?
“It feels pretty great. I’m also anxious to see how people are going to react. I think overall they’re going to love it.”
Talk about your experience co-writing the script?
“I wrote it with a guy named Jason Miller. Jason and I grew up in Arkansas together. We went to film school down south for a bit and I ended up transferring to Columbia and we stayed friends. Then I graduated in 2013. I had a whole bunch of debt from going to film school and I got to the finish line and realised there’s no shortage of filmmakers. Serendipitously enough, I came across these headlines in Chicago newspapers about college kids that were breaking into homes. Weirdly, I could understand the frustration on a personal level. I was the exact same. I was in debt too and I played by the rules and everyone just said, ‘Well you know, good luck.’ I brought the idea to Jason and said we should create this movie about encapsulating the angst and rage that this millennial generation has.”
How did the casting come together?
“I found a producer in Chicago named Sean Kaplan who I kind of bumped into. Sean is a guy who flies under the radar. He was the first person who found the script and was really the champion for it. He got Mike [Shannon] involved. We sat down with Mike’s team and we had a decision to make. Do we choose the most popular millennial actors or do we choose the next generation of Michael Shannon caliber actors? We went with the next generation. It took about two and half, three years to cast it properly. But I think we did a beautiful job. Gilles Geary who plays Jack is someone just so underrated, he was incredible. Patrick Schwarzenegger had never been given a role like this before to really shine. Alex [Pettyfer] hadn’t been doing much lately and he comes back with this role. Lesley Ann Warren was just terrific and she’s such a kind person, it’s unbelievable. The whole cast was just great.”
This looked like a fun movie to make. Was it just a blast being on set?
“It was. It’s stressful making your first movie or any movie. Making movies is all about mistakes and having the team that supports you and gets you through those mistakes, and that’s how you grow as a director. That was the beautiful thing about a lot of these actors is that they were patient with me, a first timer.”
As a newbie, how do you direct someone like Michael Shannon?
“When you’re directing Michael Shannon, who has done this 150 times, you’re not going to have all the answers. The thing that made me feel confident in knowing what I was saying to him is that I knew this story better than anyone else. Mike respected that and he knew that I was the captain of the ship because I knew this story inside and out. If I gave him a piece of direction, he definitely took it. But you can tell the way he talks he’s super intelligent and that’s what created a cool relationship between us.”
Were there pain points working on the film?
“It being a completely independent movie, while we were making it there were no studios attached. We raised all of the money ourselves and it was a grind. Because of that we didn’t have the luxury of shooting for six months like these studio pictures do. We shot 26 days. And you’re working 16-hour days and you’re just exhausted, but you know you’re creating something that’s one-of-a-kind and unbelievable.”
Echo Boomers opens November 13 in select US theatres and video on demand. An Australian release is anticipated in early 2021.