By Role Mommy contributor, Kristin Torgen Flannery
Rolemommy sat down with some of the key players of Earth to Echo to find out some of the secrets of the set. We sat down with Dave Green (Director), Andrew Panay (Producer/Co-Story Writer), and Henry Gayden (Screenwriter and Co-Story Writer) to discuss a return to the movies we watched as children, newer shooting styles and a great young cast.
The cast was made up of some newer actors (Brian “Astro” Bradley, Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig and Ella Whalestedt) and they were really adorable and had such good chemistry. So, how was the casting process?
Andrew Panay explained that the casting process was tough and the turn around was even harder “We weren’t panicked at all. We’re like, “We’re shooting in five days and have no cast.” I remember we were looking for authenticity. We also believe that we casted these kids because they felt real. You know, the whole point of the movie is to speak to the next generation of kids, right, and for parents like you guys and for our age, to hearken back to some of the movies (E.T. and Goonies) that we used to see when we were growing up kind of thing.”
Dave Green took us through the process “When we got them all together in the room for the first time, I just told each of them–’cause there’s a lot of pressure when you’re auditioning, and there’s a camera and there’s strangers and it’s just a little weird. So, when I first got the group of the four of them, I said, “You’ve each been chosen because you’re all awesome, and you’re all very special and you’re all wildly talented. And I want you all to feel super comfortable on the set and you should have the freedom to just tell me, I’m the storyteller and I’m not telling the story that way.”
The film is shot in such a way that you believe the kids in the movie are filming themselves but when we asked where the camera was, we were impressed to find out it was the same type of camera used to shoot big budget movie.
Dave Green revealed “It was a big camera. It’s a Red camera. It’s what they shoot all the 3D movies on. So, it was actually an old person behind the camera for the whole time. There is no difference. It’s all manipulation. Except the first scene with Tuck where he’s doing the confessional at home, and then the scene Munch [Reese Hartwig] is in the truck. Those are both on the iPhone.
When we sat in the theater with our children watching Earth to Echo, we couldn’t help but think back to the first time we sat in the theater as a child ourselves as E.T. played on the big screen. That is exactly what the Earth To Echo team was hoping for.
Andrew Panay elaborated “I wouldn’t call this movie a kids’ movie. I think it’s unfair. I think the movie’s a family movie, and I think every family has moments where the door gets shut and your daughter or son is crying, and that’s just the bottom line. I mean, if that’s not going on in your family, I want to live with you, you know?
Everybody has experienced the pain of when a childhood friend moves away and it’s heartbreaking. We were wondering when they wrote the original screenplay, did they decide that they still would move apart?
Andrew Panay concluded “Is like, you know, we say that–when we mean not be superheroes, we mean, like, flying in the air, but as far as human superheroes, emotional superheroes, a hundred percent. That’s what the movie is about. The movie’s about it does take superhuman strength to say goodbye or overcome, like, a night like that or know that, if you’re small, you can overcome something so big.”
Earth to Echo is in theaters beginning July 2nd and it is a movie you don’t want to miss.
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