SXSW11 Podcast: Spencer Susser Talks HESHER

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Hesher

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Hesher

Our next podcast direct from SXSW is with writer/director Spencer Susser on his first feature film, Hesher.

The film tells the story of T.J. (Devin Brochu) and his family – his self-medicated father (Rainn Wilson) and elderly grandmother (Piper Laurie) who all are all dealing with, in one way or another, the loss of T.J.’s mother. After taking a wrong turn into a construction site, T.J. runs into a troubled and emotionally disconnected runaway named Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in an incredible balls-to-the-wall performance) who suddenly moves in with the family and becomes both a horrifying freeloader and wise mentor, purposely putting T.J. into situations too insane to fathom. Natalie Portman (who also produced the film) shows up as a grocery store clerk who takes a liking to both T.J. and Hesher.

Spencer Susser

In the podcast, Susser deconstructs the character of Hesher and describes how he sees him, his origins and how the character changed throughout the process of writing the screenplay. He also discusses the challenges of making his first feature (he got his start directing music videos and shorts) and how he landed such an A-List cast. Lastly, Susser discusses working with a writing partner in another continent (his co-writer, David Michôd, was living in Australia during most of the writing process).

Note: the interview took place at the Moonshine Restaurant and Bar in Austin, TX, so there is considerable background noise, but the audio still came out really clear. Also, at one point Spencer and I noticed a Google Car drive by (the cars with all the cameras on it that they use for Google Maps), which I kept in the podcast because it was kind of funny… :))

Look for a “Script to Screen” with Susser and David Michôd on Hesher in the May June 2011 print issue of Script.

Trailer for Hesher:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ_cY6NHKVQ

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