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Dylan Baker is probably finest remembered because that playing few of the most horrific villains imaginable (“The great Wife,” “Happiness”). Yet his considerable career has contained wild comedies (“Planes, Trains, and also Automobiles,” “Anchorman 2”), historic drama (he was Robert McNamara in “13 Days”), and also even a music (“Across the Universe”). He has just taken on a new role together a movie director for the an initial time through “23 Blast,” based upon the true story the a Kentucky high school football player who shed his sight and, thanks to a supportive coach and team, maintained playing. The told me the story of exactly how this film came together, virtually worthy the a movie itself.

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How go you come to not just appear in this film but likewise direct it?

Yes, this is mine directing debut. I have directed around a dozen plays but I sort of thought that directing a movie was no going to occur for me. I type of said, “Well, directing a movie is going come take every this time and so ns think i will simply let the be and also I missed on the bucket list.” but then every one of a suddenly Toni Hoover who is in reality a high institution friend of my wife, they were cheerleaders together, she came to us and also asked us to action in the movie around five or 6 years back and then she sent us a script and also asked me for a small help top top it and also so I started working ~ above it and also I aided her a little bit v casting, tiny bit much more and then 3 years ago she asked me to straight it and also I said, “Well, ns don’t understand when that’s going to happen again.” So i jumped on board and all this happened.

Was this her an initial script?

Yes. Toni has never written anything prior to really. And also she had three youngsters with her husband Vin and they were living in Tampa Florida and they both felt choose they want the youngsters to reap sort the a childhood in a tiny town and Vin to be from this little town in Corbin Kentucky and also so that thought, “Why perform we go back there?” and Toni to be not precisely on board at first. She demanded that he buy she a camera. And also so she started walking the sidelines the the high school games, taking video of the games and also people kind of looked in ~ her prefer she was type of strange. She didn’t understand what she to be doing/. And also then she uncovered a small local TV station,she started editing it together on your equipment, and then at the annual awards dinner, lock said, “Stay said. We’ve got something new. Mrs. Toni Hoover has a film for everybody come see.” and it to be her highlight reel. And also of course, every the youngsters went nuts! They had actually never viewed anything like that. So she to be there with her son Bram Hoover that actually plays Jerry the quarterback in the movie. She basically composed it due to the fact that she to be trying to aid Bram obtain a break. And also we were good friends that Toni and also Vin i said, “Well, good, walk for it, walk ahead, create it, we will certainly act in it.” we didn’t actually think it would happen yet when i actually review the script and I observed the story that she was talking about and the truth that it was based on a true story and also once I gained to see the actual Travis Freeman, ns was hooked. I just thought it to be an impressive story and also I want to be a component of it.


So Toni to be the one that did the tie in v Jerry Baker who of course additionally was a real human being in Corbin and also saw these two young people who as they acquired into high school, started kind of getting drawn apart indigenous each other – Travis in the direction of his phone call in the ministry and also the Jerry with this type of tempt of teenage problems specifically drinking. And so she felt choose that contrast could follow them through. And also what i really love was that they to be able to continue their friendship, if only on the football ar where lock both had mutual love the football.

What occurred to the actual Jerry? We watch at the finish of the film that he has passed away.

Well, it’s no a quite story. He ended up having actually real alcohol and also drug problems. About a month ~ his boy was born, Jerry was working as a roofer because that his uncle. This one day as you have the right to tell in the movie, Jerry was favor I guess a very stubborn guy and kind of had actually his own thoughts about things and he was working up ~ above this roof and his uncle said, “Jerry, friend can’t walk up there today, it’s as well slippery i don’t desire you there.” and also he fell off the roof and he died about four years later from injuries continual from that fall. His daughter yes, really only acquired to recognize him together a paralyzed man in a wheelchair and he passed away when she was about five or six. Kaylee is just such a spunky young woman and she shows up in the finish of the film. Lock are very supportive of ours efforts and also are happy that this is the assumed that Kaylee will have actually for she father as a man who had a good heart and also just had a difficult time sticking to the straight and also narrow.


The Hollywood variation of the story would go in a different means and ns really respect the film informing a an extremely honest story the I believed was really compelling due to the fact that it didn’t traction its punches in the way.

Thank you very much. I think the is a great tribute come Toni and also the truth that she felt like it to be a story that necessary to it is in told and also we weren’t going to sugarcoat it in ~ all.

You assembled a an extremely impressive actors of talented actors, consisting of your wife.

I to be able to open up my black attend to book and call up my friends; Stephen Lang because that the coach and also I discovered Becky Ann Baker, I simply rolled end in bed and there she was, she plays the mobility coach and I think walk a an excellent job. I’m pretty crazy around her. We’ve to be married because that 27 years now actually. Yet Tim Busfield, Fred Thompson, they to be all human being that i had operated with in other capacities and also they every signed on. I was shocked when everybody agreed to it.

In casting and then in directing teenagers, how do you job-related with them and also what go you speak to castle about?

I didn’t understand too plenty of actors that age so ns went out to Los Angeles and also they set up some sessions. Ns met note Hapka, that plays Travis Freeman and also then ns met Max Adler that was native “Glee” and Alexa Vega.


And each among them simply showed me in the room that they might take the parts and just knock them the end of the park come mix metaphors between football and baseball. However I to be thrilled since to tell you the truth, some of the various other actors I just felt choose they to be so modern-day and they had such a sort of today feel come them with sort of, i don’t recognize an LA interval or whatnot. I’ve always loved the movie “Hoosiers” and I wantedto have actually that particular kind that timeless high quality to it. Friend will notice there room no cell phones, I want it to sort of be able to happen at any kind of time and each of this actors had that ability of type of removing us from the existing day and what taken place yesterday and how youngsters are talking. They had sort of a an ext timeless feel to them as well.

Now I have to say once Toni called me that she want Bram come play the component of Travis in the movie, i said, “Tony, this can be a transaction breaker yet I’ve acquired to meet Bram. I don’t know him. I did not acquire to talk to him.”

And for this reason my other producer who I turn to best away once Tony request me to direct the film, Jerry Donatelli, us talked Tony into bringing Bram the end to brand-new York wherein we both were based; Bram remained in LA, and he came out for about a week and we go to various things and also maybe went and saw a movie and also then ns said, “Well, why don’t you come up and read for united state on the camera and we will do a small audition.”


And the said, “Great.” At that time he was scheduled to read for Travis Freeman. And I said, “Would you also look at this function of Jerry Baker?” since of course, Bram has that black curly hair and the blue eyes and he is built like Adonis. So he did it check out for us and also he walk a an excellent job through Travis however boy, once he started analysis for Jerry Baker, it to be a natural fit and he had actually such a wonderful sort of evil one may care look, a great mischief behind his eyes. As soon as us were done i turned and also I said, “Bram, if i were walk to cast you in this film, that’s the duty I would actors you in.” and also he said, “That’s the function I like.” so I dubbed up Toni and also she said, “Sounds good.” and we had actually our Jerry and also he relocated forward native there.

You have a small but important function as the dad of the key character. Exactly how did you create that performance?

Well, ns met Larry Freeman after i had decided that was the best component for me and also basically as soon as Toni offered us the script six years back she said, “Just pick whatever roles you men want to do.” and also as i was functioning on the script with Toni and we were an altering things here and there, one point I really wanted was to try and keep Larry’s participation down to a minimum because I knew I would certainly be directing it and I figured, “Well, allow him just stand there.” Also, conference the man, Larry is an extremely soft talked but really direct, extremely honest and just a lovely person being. And also watching him and Mary and Travis together talk around their faith and talk around their endure with Travis walking blind and also his reaction to it which to be nothing short of heroic, he just said, “Well, i am fascinated to watch what God has in keep for me. And also I look forward to detect a method to use this to carry go come the world.” and also that’s what is trying come do. The is make the efforts to pass that article along.


Larry was this very straightforward guy and also I witnessed an chance to take advantage of the in a pair of locations to add a little of comedy. I said, “Now Larry, this is not a enjoy on you in ~ all yet if I can get a laugh here and also there I would certainly rather do it.” since I feel prefer with the film that there space some moments the are simply so difficult or the you are asking world to go v a challenging journey and also so a small levity doesn’t hurt. I have always felt the way.

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How to be you able to get the resources you necessary to make the film?

When we started, us didn’t have every one of our money together for the budget. I had actually a meeting with Daniel Snyder who is just one of our executive, management producers and also he basically gave us a chunk of change that enabled us to be able to do the film. Us would have pretty much been close up door down. The didn’t take place until march of 2012 and we started shooting on April 2. Once we gained in come post-production, we uncovered our various other executive producer, Misook Doolittle, and she got us enough money to finish. We had actually to get all kinds of an excellent help from people. Us literally had people in Corbin who readily available of your homes, the production team, we stayed at Vin Hoover’s sister’s home in Corbin and also there to be a couple of actors that remained at an additional house. So us did something we can to stretch our dollars as much as us could.Our whole budget was under just approximately $1 million. So the was really is a little engine the good.