Director Seth Savoy sheds light on the multiple facets driving the generational divide in the crime/drama - 'Echo Boomers' (a term which is a synonym for Millenials). Based on a true story, the film centers on a group of downcast thieves who rob the houses of the wealthiest people in Chicago, starring Michael Shannon, Alex Pettyfer, Patrick Schwarzenegger, and Gilles Geary.
Director Seth Savoy, who co-wrote the film with (Kevin Bernhardt and Jason Miller) recently spoke with Borrowing Tape on working on the film's production - from co-writing, casting, filming, cinematography, plus his personal filmmaking influences. Echo Boomers will be available in Theaters, On Demand, and Digital on November 13, 2020.
Millennials and baby boomers are the ones that are going to have the most fun with the story. The contradicting beliefs of the two generations should start extremely interesting conversations. Gen Z is another demographic that will probably know the feeling the film explores all too well. We talked about the meaning of the term “Echo Boomers” a lot on set. For the movie’s sake, I’d say there is a second definition: “a derogatory term for a millennial who has a college degree but can’t get a job”.
You had a fine cast: Patrick Schwarzenegger, Michael Shannon, and fresher face Gilles Geary - who exhibited a distinct brand of charisma on screen required to play the role of Jack. How was the casting process for Echo Boomers? Did you provide directions/notes to the cast during pre-production?
It took 3 years to find the cast that I was truly head over heels for. An old director once told me that casting is 80% of a director’s job and I kept remembering that piece of advice. Allison Estrin and Henry Bergstein guided me through the casting process so gracefully - they’re actually the ones who suggested Gilles. Gilles was someone who I knew right away would play this role better than anyone else could. There was a moment where he had to choose between a play or Echo Boomers and I almost jumped on a plane to NYC to convince him to do the movie. Patrick is amazing — he’s going to get swept up by one of those superhero movies in the blink of an eye.
How was the process of collaborating with screenwriters Kevin Bernhardt and Jason Miller during pre and post-production? Did you find inspiration in true crime cases or other movies during the screenwriting process?
We found a lot of inspiration in Steven Soderbergh’s early work. Kevin and Jason are the guys behind the curtains that deserve all the praise. They are the ones who made this script pop. They knew exactly what would be relevant and I think they created something that will be weirdly timeless.
Echo Boomers gets right into it with some style and substance in the form of smart editing: inter-cutting, montage, news footage, still photography, and text on screen "the Lesson/Rules" helped communicate an extraordinary amount of information fast — the political, financial, societal, and personal aspects driving Lance and the group's operations become well defined to the viewing audience. Can you tell us about the post-production process with Editors Dean Gonzalez and Ken O'Keefe?
It was really important for this film to feel a little bit like social media. Always something stimulating, fun, and flashy movements - an overload of content almost. As soon as I vocalized that, they ran with it and we loved the style. I need an editor who thinks about the scene in their sleep like I do. This sounds extreme, but we ended up putting an editing suite in Ken’s house for a little bit. I wanted Ken to be able to edit anytime something came to him. If he couldn’t sleep and [he] came up with a new idea for a scene, he could begin sculpting it immediately. I think Ken really enjoyed that luxury.
How was the process of working with Cinematographer Carlos Verón to form the aesthetic for Echo Boomers?
I have so much respect for Carlos as an artist. Every step of the way he had this undeniable passion for crafting this film, it reminded me of watching an artist paint. Carlos has this thing that is simply unteachable, and that aspect of Carlos is what gave Echo Boomers its signature look.
Being a first-timer I had, and still have, so much to learn - but Michael let me make mistakes. He created this environment that allowed me to explore and find my voice as a director. I’m really thankful for that. Weirdly enough, I felt like there was this unspoken understanding of “I care about you as an artist.” Whether that only happened in my head or not, I’m not quite sure, but it was a big confidence boost creatively.
What were your favorite scenes in Echo Boomers - while on the set filming and in the final cut?
The last scene in the motel is something that just makes your heart drop every single time. The movie is so fast-paced and fun, then there’s the motel scene. Its pace is completely different from everything else in the film. Patrick and Gilles do such an unbelievable job of ending the movie with a bang. I still get chills when I watch that scene.
What is the message that you hope for audiences to take away from your film after seeing it?
I really want this movie to provoke meaningful conversations about the subject matter. I think this movie shines a light on the ugly underbelly of both sides which is a great conversation piece. I’m not going to say what the message or meaning is because I want the audience to talk about what they think it means.
Which films/directors have influenced you as a filmmaker and specifically your film, Echo Boomers? Which directors and movies do you personally adore and on your Essential Viewing List?
Steven Soderbergh's Oceans 11 and Fincher’sFight Club were two movies that were consistent influences on Echo Boomers. We wanted this fun and flashy feel that almost makes you forget that you are watching political commentary. Two directors that are a part of this new young wave of cinema that I personally adore are Damien Chazelle & Barry Jenkins. Whiplash is one of my all-time favorites.