The trials and tribulations of two former couples play out in Lecturer Bryan Poyser’s latest film “The Bounceback.”
The romantic comedy may not have been possible without the help of some of Poyser’s former students from Texas State and the University of Texas who served as crewmembers on the set.
Poyser, former Austin Film Society director of artist services, said though the students’ roles were unglamorous, he believes the experiences were educational and beneficial to understanding the ins-and-outs of filmmaking. Nearly every crewmember makes an appearance in the film.
Actors Sara Paxton (“The Last House on the Left”), Ashley Bell (“The Last Exorcism”) and Marshall Allman (“True Blood”) star in “The Bounceback,” which premieres next month at the South by Southwest Film Festival.
JGP: What was the casting process like for “The Bounceback”?
BP: It was almost a year, actually, that we spent casting from when we started sending out the script to when we started shooting. That was kind of a frustrating year because it was my first opportunity to really cast things the normal way, like by submitting the script to agents and managers. Our producer on the movie, Trace Sheehan, the guy who actually optioned the script and brought it to (producer) Megan Gilbride and I, handled a lot of that process. The process is essentially sending the script to some of the major agencies such as William Morris and having them read it. Some agents would send a list of some of their clients they thought were good for the movie. We would be getting a couple dozen names for each of the parts. I’m someone who doesn’t watch a whole lot of TV and a lot of the names that we were being sent were people who have been on TV shows. I had to do a lot of research by watching movies and TV shows and familiarizing myself with the people’s work. But there were a couple of people who I really knew and really wanted to try to get in the movie, like Sara Paxton. She is someone I came to know through this movie called “The Innkeepers,” a ghost story by Ti West that actually played at South by Southwest a couple of years ago. I just thought she was really great, so we met her and ended up casting her as one of the leads.
JGP: When you were co-writing the screenplay for “The Bounceback,” was it always going to be set in Austin?
BP: Yeah. The script came to me through our sales agent for my last film (“Lovers of Hate”) when it played at Sundance. His company had optioned the screenplay. It was actually called “The Rebound” when we got it, and it was written by these two other guys, Steven Walters and David DeGrow Shotwell. Steven is actually a Dallas guy, but he was on “Friday Night Lights” and actually spent quite a bit of time in Austin getting to know it. Through personal experiences he became inspired to write the story and set it in Austin. When the script came to me I wanted to try to put more of Austin, or at least my experiences of Austin in it. So, there are quite a few scenes that take place in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. That’s something I brought to the script and wanted to present—an authentic version of Austin. I wanted to only shoot in places where we could use the names.
JGP: I saw on your Facebook that you said you had just watched the “oh-so-nearly-final-final cut of ‘The Bounceback.’ ” What did you think?
BP: I really love it. It’s a different movie than other stuff that I’ve done. I think it’s a movie that’s less challenging for an audience. The other films that I’ve done have been sort of deliberately tough to watch sometimes in terms of the subject matter (or) in terms of what the characters do. (“The Bounceback”) is a movie that’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be entertaining and funny. That was the goal with every scene. We asked, “How can we make this funnier? How can we make this more ridiculous?” It’s a movie that still makes me laugh.