Director Jack Plotnick’s retro-futuristic comedy “Space Station 76” rolled into this year’s SXSW on the heels of some pretty impressive news, with Sony announcing it had acquired the film on the morning of the premiere. So spirits were understandably high when we sat down with Plotnick and star Patrick Wilson for a not-too-serious chat.
METRO: So where exactly did this story come from?
JACK PLOTNICK: I’m going to give you the longest story yet, but I’m going to tell it really fast. What happened was …
PATRICK WILSON: (pretends to nod off, snores)
JP: Oh, Patrick, too late. He fell asleep. (laughs) About 10 years ago I was doing a lot of live shows, and I wanted to do something that explored what my childhood was like in the suburbs, but I didn’t want to set it in the ’70s, and I was obsessed with the future as we imagined it in the ’70s. So I brought my absolute favorite actors together and we all met in my living room …
PW: I was not one of them.
JP: No, because I didn’t care for his work back then. It was good, but it was needy. Almost cloying.
PW: OK …
M: So Patrick, since you’re not one of his favorite actors …
JP: It was a younger Jack, a much more innocent Jack. I’ve learned that there are many “special” actors.
PW: Special is in quotes.
JP: Right. And I rolled my eyes when I said it.
M: What were some of the big ’70s space movies that were touchstones in establishing the look of this?
JP: I loved that the crew members in “the Black Hole” were wearing turtlenecks. It kills me, so that was definitely plucked straight from “the Black Hole.” But you know, “Space 1999,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” a dash of “Logan’s Run,” a little bit of the first “Alien” movie. But for me, my obsession with ’70s future started when my parents took me as a little kid to Walt Disney World where I visited the Contemporary hotel and I rode on a monorail and I was in heaven.
M: Heaven has a monorail?
JP: Heaven definitely has a monorail.
PW: But where does it go?
M: Also, congratulation on the big news.
JP: Yes, thank you! Sony acquired the international rights. So we’re just looking for a domestic partner.
M: So you’ve been to SXSW before …
JP: No, I haven’t. Please stop lying to your readers. (laughs) I’ve been to Sundance a bunch of times, but never as a director of a film. So this is my first festival experience as a director.
PW: This is my second or third SXSW.
M: How are you approaching the festival?
PW: A lot of booze?
JP: Just as much f—ing as possible. Just booze and f—ing.
PW: We are also looking for domestic partners, not unlike the film. (laughs)
JP: (laughs) That’s the one. Best answer today. That’s the one. (laughs) You know what I keep thinking is really my job is over, you know? I’m just here to witness and take it all in. I’m just loving watching the cast talk about what their experience of making the movie was. It’s fascinating for me.
M: Because they didn’t tell you while you were making it?
JP: No, actually they wouldn’t talk to me on set. It was very strange.
PW: Yeah, I have a thing in my contract.
JP: Because your behavior was puzzling. Now I know. OK.
PW: Yeah. “Please tell the director that…” (laughs) The thing about this festival over many others, this is the perfect fit for this movie. They love a lot of quirky comedy with heart here, and they take great chances here. When you get one that you’re proud of the film, you’re proud of everyone in it, you think it would be great to come and talk about, you’re excited for people to see it.
M: So you’re not just saying nice things because Jack is sitting next to you?
PW: I’m sorry, who’s Jack?