Editors observe: Deadline’s Read the Screenplay collection debuts and celebrates the scripts of movies that will likely be elements on this 12 months’s film awards race.
Filmmaker Sean Baker (The Florida Project) had an surprising inspiration for his newest movie Red Rocket, which facilities on fast-talking, washed-up porn star Mikey Saber (Simon Rex) who, having exhausted his choices and goodwill in Los Angeles, returns to his Texas hometown the place he shortly exerts his charming con artist patter to bend the locals, together with his ex-wife, to his self-indulgent will.
Baker mentioned the revelation that sparked the movie got here out of analysis he and co-screenwriter Chris Bergoch did for a earlier venture, Starlet, which was additionally set within the porn trade.
“Getting to know people within that industry, we realized there was this archetype, because we met a handful of men like Mikey Saber – and they even had a term applied to them within the industry, slang term: ‘suitcase pimp,’ ” Baker not too long ago mentioned on a panel at Deadline’s Contenders Film: Los Angeles. “We found their psyche to be so complex and interesting and disturbing, we wanted to tackle that as a character study.”
The lives of suitcase pimps, Baker defined, “are all about exploitation and utilizing the ladies they’re with. The ladies make 1000’s whereas the boys are making tons of at finest. So they should stay off the ladies, financially. There’s a self-denial, a holier-than-thou perspective, an obliviousness, an ignorance that these guys have.
“We took the archetype and then, using a bunch of other anecdotes from characters we’ve met over the years, constructed this story of a suitcase pimp crawling back to his ex,” Baker mentioned. “After burning every bridge in Los Angeles, he turns back to his high school sweetheart who he got into the industry with, back in the day, and begs for forgiveness.”
Baker mentioned the lead character is an inveterate man-child who sugarcoats his trainwreck existence as a lot to delude himself as to deceive others. “He’s feeding his head with positivity because he can’t really face the negative place he is in. It’s literally the only way he can cope. Everything is always somebody else’s fault.”
“That’s definitely an American characteristic, somebody who is striving for success and it doesn’t matter who’s left trampled on the sidelines,” added Baker, who cites movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and There Will Be Blood as extra epic-scale cinematic incarnations. “These ruthless guys who exploit to get to the top.”
“I’m using comedy to a degree to soften Mikey, to show how one could be attracted to him. But I’m not ennobling him,” mentioned Baker. “He doesn’t think about the future. He doesn’t care about ramifications. I think the word we kept using was: surviving. Mikey’s just trying to survive.”
Click under to learn Baker and Bergoch’s script for the pic, which A24 launched in theaters December 3.