One of the many films to world premiere at this year’s SXSW was The Peanut Butter Falcon. Written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, the extremely well reviewed movie is about Zak (played by Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from his care home to make his dream of becoming a wrestler come true. Along the way, he has a pretty epic adventure, and meets a number of fascinating people played by Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Thomas Haden Church, Jon Bernthal, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, and Mick Foley.
Before getting to see the film, I sat down with Tyler Nilson, Zack Gottsagen, Michael Schwartz at the Collider studio at SXSW. They talked about what the film is about, how Shia LaBeouf inspired the rest of the cast with his commitment, what they learned from early screenings, how they managed to get such an amazing cast on their feature debut, why there were a lot of group hugs on set, and so much more.
Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about and the official synopsis.
Finally, I’d also like to take a moment to give special thanks to our Collider Studio partner, A-List Communications. At the Supper Suite venue in Austin, libations were flowing courtesy of El Tesoro Tequila, Blue Moon Belgian White, and Hint Water. Without these fine folks, we wouldn’t be able to share conversations about movies like The Highwaymen with all of you, so another big thank you to our partners for their support.
Tyler Nilson, Zack Gottsagen, Michael Schwartz:
- What it was like seeing the reaction at the world premiere.
- What Peanut Butter Falcon is about.
- Putting together the film’s stacked cast.
- What it’s like to direct actors like Bruce Dern and Thomas Haden Church.
- Why there were a lot of group hugs on set.
- How Shia LaBeouf inspired the rest of the cast with his commitment.
- How the film changed in the editing room and what they learned from early screenings.
- A lesson they took from making this film that they’ll use forever.
- Why they don’t want to pitch any other projects while still getting Peanut Butter Falcon out there.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Peanut Butter Falcon:
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON is an adventure story set in the world of a modern Mark Twain that begins when Zak, a young man with Down syndrome, runs away from a nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler and attending the wrestling school of The Salt Water Redneck. Through circumstances beyond their control Tyler, a small time outlaw on the run, becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor, a kind nursing home employee with a story of her own, to join them on their journey.