Dylan Baker is probably ideal remembered because that playing several of the most horrific villains imaginable (“The great Wife,” “Happiness”). Yet his extensive career has contained wild comedies (“Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” “Anchorman 2”), historical drama (he to be Robert McNamara in “13 Days”), and even a musical (“Across the Universe”). He has actually just taken on a new role together a movie director because that the very first time v “23 Blast,” based upon the true story that a Kentucky high institution football player who shed his sight and, thanks to a supportive coach and also team, kept playing. The told me the story of just how this film come together, virtually worthy the a movie itself.

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How walk you pertained to not just show up in this movie but likewise direct it?

Yes, this is mine directing debut. I have actually directed around a dozen plays but I kind of believed that directing a movie was no going to occur for me. I kind of said, “Well, directing a movie is going to take every this time and also so ns think ns will simply let that be and also I to let go on the bucket list.” yet then all of a sudden Toni Hoover that is in reality a high institution friend of my wife, they were cheerleaders together, she involved us and also asked united state to act in the movie around five or six years ago and then she sent us a script and asked me for a small help ~ above it and so I began working top top it and also I aided her a little bit with casting, small bit more and then 3 years back she inquiry me to straight it and also I said, “Well, i don’t recognize when that’s walk to occur again.” So i jumped top top board and also all this happened.

Was this her very first script?

Yes. Toni has actually never created anything before really. And also she had actually three children with she husband Vin and they were living in Tampa Florida and also they both felt like they wanted the children to reap sort of a childhood in a small town and Vin was from this little town in Corbin Kentucky and so the thought, “Why execute we go ago there?” and Toni to be not precisely on plank at first. She demanded the he buy she a camera. And also so she started walking the sidelines of the high college games, taking video clip of the games and people type of looked in ~ her prefer she was sort of strange. She didn’t know what she was doing/. And then she found a small local TV station,she started editing and enhancing it with each other on their equipment, and then at the annual awards dinner, lock said, “Stay said. We’ve acquired something new. Mrs. Toni Hoover has a film for everybody to see.” and it was her highlight reel. And of course, every the kids went nuts! They had never checked out anything prefer that. For this reason she was there v her kid Bram Hoover who actually dram Jerry the quarterback in the movie. She basically composed it because she to be trying to aid Bram gain a break. And also we were great friends the Toni and also Vin i said, “Well, good, go for it, walk ahead, compose it, we will certainly act in it.” us didn’t in reality think it would certainly happen yet when i actually read the script and I experienced the story the she was talking around and the fact that it was based on a true story and once I got to view the actual Travis Freeman, ns was hooked. I simply thought it to be an impressive story and I wanted to it is in a component of it.

So Toni was the one who did the tie in through Jerry Baker who of course likewise was a real human being in Corbin and saw these two young civilization who together they got into high school, started sort of getting attracted apart from each various other – Travis in the direction of his phone call in the ministry and the Jerry with this sort of tempt of teenage problems specifically drinking. And also so she felt choose that contrast could monitor them through. And what ns really loved was the they were 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 view at the finish of the film that he has passed away.

Well, it’s no a quite story. He finished up having actually real alcohol and drug problems. About a month after his kid was born, Jerry was functioning as a roofer for his uncle. This someday as you can tell in the movie, Jerry was choose I guess a very stubborn guy and kind of had actually his very own thoughts about things and he was functioning up on this roof and his uncle said, “Jerry, you can’t go up there today, it’s as well slippery i don’t desire you there.” and he dropped off the roof and also he died about four years later from injuries continual from that fall. His daughter really only obtained to recognize him together a paralyzed male in a wheelchair and also he died when she was around five or six. Kaylee is simply such a spunky young woman and she appears in the end of the film. Lock are very supportive of our efforts and are happy that this is the assumed that Kaylee will have actually for her father as a male who had actually a good heart and also just had a challenging time sticking to the straight and narrow.

The Hollywood version of the story would go in a different way and ns really respect the film telling a really honest story the I believed was really compelling since it didn’t traction its punches in that way.

Thank you an extremely much. Ns think that is a an excellent tribute come Toni and also the reality that she felt prefer it was a story that required to it is in told and we weren’t going to sugarcoat it at all.

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

I was able to open up mine black address book and call up mine friends; Stephen Lang for the coach and also I found Becky Ann Baker, I simply rolled over in bed and also there she was, she theatre the mobility coach and also I think go a good job. I’m pretty crazy about her. We’ve been married because that 27 years currently actually. But Tim Busfield, Fred Thompson, they were all human being that ns had operated with in various other capacities and also they every signed on. I was shocked as soon as everybody agreed to it.

In casting and also then in directing teenagers, exactly how do you occupational with them and also what go you talk to castle about?

I didn’t know too countless actors that period so ns went out to Los Angeles and they collection up part sessions. Ns met mark Hapka, that plays Travis Freeman and then ns met Max Adler that was from “Glee” and also Alexa Vega.

And each one of them simply showed me in the room the they can take the parts and also just punch them out of the park to mix metaphors between football and also baseball. But I was thrilled due to the fact that to tell girlfriend the truth, few of the various other actors I simply felt favor they to be so modern and they had actually such a sort these days feel to them with type of, ns don’t understand an LA accent or whatnot. I’ve constantly loved the movie “Hoosiers” and I wantedto have that specific kind of timeless quality to it. Girlfriend will an alert there are no cell phones, I want it to kind of be able to happen at any type of time and each of this actors had actually that ability of type of removing us from the current day and what happened yesterday and also how kids are talking. They had actually sort that a an ext timeless feel to them as well.

Now I need to say as soon as Toni called me that she want Bram to play the part of Travis in the movie, i said, “Tony, this might be a deal breaker however I’ve got to accomplish Bram. Ns don’t know him. Ns did not obtain to talk to him.”

And for this reason my fellow producer who I turned to best away as soon as Tony request me to direct the film, Jerry Donatelli, we talked Tony into bringing Bram the end to brand-new York wherein we both to be based; Bram remained in LA, and also he come out for around a week and we go to different things and also maybe went and also saw a movie and then i said, “Well, why don’t you come up and read for us on the camera and we will do a small audition.”

And the said, “Great.” At the time that was reserved to read for Travis Freeman. And also I said, “Would you additionally look in ~ this role of Jerry Baker?” because of course, Bram has actually that black curly hair and the blue eyes and also he is developed like Adonis. Therefore he did it read for us and he go a an excellent job through Travis yet boy, as soon as he started analysis for Jerry Baker, it to be a herbal fit and he had actually such a wonderful type of devil may care look, a good mischief behind his eyes. As quickly as us were done ns turned and I said, “Bram, if ns were going to actors you in this film, that’s the function I would actors you in.” and also he said, “That’s the function I like.” therefore I called up Toni and she said, “Sounds good.” and we had our Jerry and he relocated forward native there.

You have a little but important function as the father of the key character. How did you develop that performance?

Well, ns met Larry Freeman after i had chose that was the best part for me and also basically once Toni offered us the manuscript six years earlier she said, “Just pick everything roles you men want come do.” and as ns was functioning on the script with Toni and also we were transforming things here and there, one thing I really wanted was to try and keep Larry’s participation down to a minimum due to the fact that I knew I would be directing it and also I figured, “Well, let him simply stand there.” Also, meeting the man, Larry is an extremely soft talked but an extremely direct, very honest and just a lovely person being. And watching him and also Mary and Travis together talk about their faith and also talk about their experience with Travis walking blind and his reaction come it which was nothing short of heroic, he just said, “Well, i am fascinated to see what God has actually in save for me. And I look front to finding a method to use this to lug go to the world.” and that’s what is trying to do. That is make the efforts to happen that message along.

Larry was this very an easy guy and also I observed an opportunity to take benefit of the in a pair of areas to include a little bit of comedy. I said, “Now Larry, this is not a reflection on you in ~ all however if I can get a laugh here and also there I would certainly rather carry out it.” due to the fact that I feel like with the film that there are some moments the are just so tough or the you space asking world to go v a tough journey and so a little levity doesn’t hurt. Ns have always felt that way.

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How to be you maybe to acquire the resources you needed to do the film?

When we started, we didn’t have every one of our money with each other for the budget. I had a meeting v Daniel Snyder who is just one of our executive producers and he basically gave us a chunk of readjust that allowed us to be able to do the film. We would have pretty lot been shut down. The didn’t happen until march of 2012 and we started shooting on April 2. When we got in to post-production, we found our various other executive producer, Misook Doolittle, and she acquired us enough money to finish. We had to obtain all kinds of good help indigenous people. Us literally had people in Corbin who readily available of their homes, the manufacturing team, we continued to be at Vin Hoover’s sister’s residence in Corbin and also there were a pair of actors that continued to be at one more house. So we did anything we can to stretch our dollars as far as us could.Our whole spending plan was under just roughly $1 million. So that was yes, really is a small engine of good.