Tom Schulman Chats ‘Double Down South’: Inspiration, Filmmaking Challenges, and the Enduring Legacy of ‘Dead Poets Society’ Image

Tom Schulman Chats ‘Double Down South’: Inspiration, Filmmaking Challenges, and the Enduring Legacy of ‘Dead Poets Society’

By Alan Ng | March 1, 2024

NOW ON VOD! The video features an interview with Tom Schulman, the writer, director, and producer of Double Down South, a movie that is currently in theaters. Schulman discusses the plot of Double Down South, revealing it as a con film centered around a unique pool game called Kino pool, played in a backwoods Georgia pool hall. The game, which involves a special board with holes for each ball in the rack, allows players to potentially double their bets with successful shots, leading to high stakes and significant losses for the unwary. The narrative follows Nick, played by Kim Coates, who runs the establishment and entices high-stakes players to the game, and Diana, portrayed by Lily Simmons, an attractive woman keen to play Kino. The story evolves into a complex relationship between Nick and Diana as she competes against some of the best players in the world, weaving into the broader themes of con and hustle within the genre [0:14-1:36].

Schulman shares his inspiration for the film, rooted in his youth spent in pool halls and a particular game of Kino he observed. This experience, combined with a challenge from his wife to write a female-centric story, led to the creation of Double Down South during the second year of the pandemic [2:02-3:22].

Addressing the gap between his projects, Schulman explains the challenges of getting movies made, noting that even though he has been active since his last notable projects, the lengthy development times can give the impression of inactivity. He discusses the industry’s evolution, highlighting the difficulty of breaking into Hollywood and the shift towards mid-range indie films financed by angel investors. Schulman emphasizes the love for cinema that drives independent filmmaking despite the financial constraints and challenges faced by the industry [3:33-5:11].

The conversation also touches on Schulman’s return to directing with Double Down South, his previous directorial work, and his perspective on storytelling within the con film genre. He elaborates on the importance of power dynamics and character status in creating engaging narratives, particularly in films involving high-stakes scenarios like gambling [5:13-10:00].

Schulman offers advice to indie filmmakers, encouraging persistence and creativity in the face of an industry that seems more accessible yet challenging to navigate. He suggests that new technologies and platforms offer unprecedented opportunities for storytellers, even with limited budgets, pointing out the potential for innovative, low-cost productions to break through [10:16-11:47].

Finally, Schulman reminisces about the creation and unexpected success of Dead Poets Society, detailing the journey from script rejection to eventual production and acclaim. He reflects on the film’s enduring impact, attributing its success to the collaborative effort of the cast and crew, led by director Peter Weir and star Robin Williams [11:48-16:21].

Double Down South is available now on Video On Demand.

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