First time filmmaker Seth Savoy has been working on this film for years after seeing a few headlines about college students breaking into rich people’s homes to help alleviate their own debt. There was something about this Robin Hood style tactics millennials were taking that inspired Savoy to pen the film, in fact not only that, he related. Being fresh out of film school and already in debt, the young writer-director understood the angst the group must have been feeling. So, “Echo Boomers” was born. The film stars Michael Shannan, Alex Pettyfer Patrick Schwarzenegger and Hayley Law.
Savoy sat down with Metro to discuss what went into making his first feature film.
You’ve been working on this film for a few years, what was it about this story that made you want to start working on “Echo Boomers”?
It kind of found me in 2013—I just graduated film school in Chicago and I was feeling the pressure of finding my first piece and working on it. I just piled up a ton of debt from going to film school and I realized there is no shortage of filmmakers in the industry, and I just felt cheated. Then serendipitously, I came across these headlines in the newspapers about these college kids breaking into the homes of the wealthy. Weirdly enough, I could understand their frustration on a personal level. I understood how this group of broke college kids who had played by the rules their whole life and were now in debt felt this angst and rage, and so I took that and ran with the idea and it turned into ‘Echo Boomers.’
When writing the script, did you talk to anyone who was involved or did you take your own creative liberties from headlines?
That’s the best way to put it—I found these headlines and I put a bit of research into them and then I took creative liberties of what I felt and how I was feeling, because I’m sure it was really similar to how they were feeling. That’s kind of how it started and then I just kind of ran with it.
What do you think millennials who feel the same way will feel about watching this film surrounding this hot button issue?
I feel like the people who are already in debt are going to relate to this film so much. But I think it’s also for this Generation Z, this generation who is just coming of age and they’re just leaving college or just getting there. It’s kind of a message to them that you don’t have to do it the standard way, this educational system of going into debt at the beginning of your life is extremely toxic. These kids would have never done this if this hadn’t been the case. I think it’s really important and I think Gen Z will hopefully break this mold.
What went into casting this film?
Michael Shannan jumped on in 2016, and we sat down with his team and we sort of made a conscious decision that we had two choices: We could go with casting the hottest millennial stars of the day, or we could this other way of finding the next generation of truly respected actors like Michael Shannan—there was something about that second choice. Stars are stars and that’s fun and all, but I want to work with actors who really take their craft seriously, so I went with that route which probably made the movie a little less marketable, but at the end of the day it all worked out. It probably took about three years to find the correct actors, so it was just a long auditioning process and I wanted to have actors that I really fell in love with. When Alex Pettyfer jumped on, I saw he really had this X factor and he [also] brought me this actor named Gilles Geary who plays Jack. Gillis I think is one of the best actors of his age group for sure and then Patrick [Schwarzenegger] and Hayley [Law] all jumped on and it went perfectly.
For your first time directing, how was that experience?
It’s interesting because I had Michael Shannan and Leslie Ann Warren who are both nominated actors and I felt so nervous because they had done this so many times whereas I’m doing this for the first time. Once they arrived, it kind of all disappeared because there was this kind of unstated respect and they let me make mistakes and they were patient with me. It turned out great because of it.
Were there any scenes in particular that you were most excited see come to fruition on screen?
There’s this last scene at the hotel, and it’s this really beautifully acted moment where all the glitz and glam from filmmaking goes out the window and it’s just about these two actors in a hotel room giving the performance of a lifetime. That is what I was over the moon about, once I saw how well they had taken the content and given it life, it was the moment I realized that I’m going to do this for the rest of my life for sure.
Do you think the ends justify the means?
I don’t want to give too much away, but I think there is a clear statement that is being said and I don’t know the answer to that statement, but I think it is a great conversation point. I really wanted to make something that was political commentary but was so fun and flashy that you almost forget that it is. I think that it does a good job of that.
“Echo Boomers” is now open in theaters, and available through On Demand and digital.