“Camp Hideout” : Exclusive Interview with Director Sean Olson on His Collaboration with Christopher Lloyd

“Camp Hideout” : Exclusive Interview with Director Sean Olson on His Collaboration with Christopher Lloyd

@Camp Hideout

Synopsis : Noah is a troubled teen who nearly gets caught stealing a top-secret gadget from some big city thugs. After barely escaping, he decides to hide out at a summer camp that’s run by the eccentric Falco and counselors Jake and Selena. As Noah tries to blend in with the rest of the rowdy campers, his crooked partners show up to steal the classified item, now in his possession.

Rating: PG (Slapstick Violence|Thematic Elements)

Genre: Kids & family, Comedy

Original Language: English

Director: Sean Olson

Producer: Jason Brown, Phillip Glasser, Brad Goen

Writer: Kat Olson, C. Neil Davenport, Dave Borde

Release Date (Theaters):  Wide


Distributor: Roadside Attractions

Production Co: Called Higher Studios


Exclusive Interview With Director Sean Olson


Q: This film recalls those good ’80s films such as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club.” They’re all about troubled teens and end with a “have a good heart” feeling. They don’t make those kinds of films lately. How did this concept get started? Talk about Higher studios and the concept of the film?

Sean Olson: I have two boys and a lot of family films that you see are like superhero films or animated films. they’re fantastic and fun, but we’ve lost that ‘80s era live action family film. I’ve done several movies in this genre. I did a movie called F.R.E.D.I and one called Max Winslow — both harken back to that mystic fun, kids leading the way, telling the story. So when Jason Brown of Higher Studios reached out to me, he had seen those films and knew of my love of this specific genre. He pitched this camp movie; it couldn’t have been a better thing for me to work on because for me, summer camp was a big part of my life. I grew up going to one.

I was at boy scout camp almost every summer. My kids go to camp. The transformative power of camp is such a big thing,  when you’re there, you may not be ready to go because you may be a little bit nervous about leaving your parents and home behind. But then, once you’ve spent that week at camp, your parents have to pull you into the car when they come to pick you up since you’ve made these lifelong relationships and friendships.

For me, as a filmmaker and a father, it was exciting to make something that not only my kids could see but their friends could see as well. We didn’t have to worry about the content of it. We treated all of the kids with a lot of respect as the driving force of the movie. We treat it as a smart movie that parents don’t have to worry about when it’s playing in the other room.

Q: What was the process of casting Noah and the other main characters of the movie? you got the right cast member here — he’s great in this film.

Sean Olson: Ethan and I have become really good friends since making the movie. Casting him as Noah was of paramount importance to all of us. We wanted somebody who could play witty, fun, and charming. He had to do so many different things. He needed to be really likable but at the same time, he had to have a little bit of edge to his character because he had gone through such bad circumstances in his life. He’s a foster kid, who’s lost his parents; he doesn’t have his brother and so we wanted him to have that edge. Since it’s a kids’ movie there needs to be a fun factor with it as well.

So everything that he does, even though it might not be age appropriate, it’s always fun. There’s a Ferris Bueller aspect to this movie, like ditching school and all the ensuing shenanigans. We had a great time with it. It’s a big testament to casting director Will Baker who looked everywhere far and wide. He auditioned over 50, or maybe, 60 people for this particular role. Finding Ethan Drew was a great discovery. I think he has a really strong career ahead of him.

@Camp Hideout

Q: You must have been ecstatic when the one and only Christopher Lloyd joined the movie. What was it like to work with him?

Sean Olson : Christopher came on set near the last week of filming. He has such an incredible personality as you can imagine. He’s as larger than life in person as he is in film. I grew up watching a lot of his films, everything from “Back to the Future” and “The Addams’s Family” to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” Getting to work with him was a thrill. It was so great to watch the cast get giddy when he came to the set. I remember Jenna who plays Mallory in the movie. In one of her interviews, she talked about how everyone was fan-girling when Christopher Lloyd came out and it’s so great to see somebody of his stature be so nice.

I think he was the perfect person to play this type of character in the movie. He not only resonates with the kids but parents and even grandparents as well. He’s playing somebody that’s not only larger than life, but he’s kind of a grumpy old militaristic curmudgeon. He plays it with such humor and fun that he’s never really super scary. He was a complete pleasure to work with. It’s something that I’ll never forget and for it to be part of this resume of films is just the icing on the cake.

Q: There are a lot of fun sequences throughout this film such as the food fight scene — how did you filmed them?

Sean Olson: I think the food fight was one of the bigger challenges that we had talked about earlier on. Our production designer Will Drummond, first AD Kyler Wilson and cinematographer Isaac Alongi collaborated on how we were going to set this food fight up. The challenge of a food fight is once everything is all over the place, it takes forever to clean it up. when you’re on a tight schedule, you don’t want to have to spend all your time cleaning it up and resetting the set.

Anna Redmon and her wardrobe team were fantastic with changing out costumes. It was something that we really planned out. We filmed all of the little moments first like certain characters getting their comeuppance. Then we got to the big moment where it’s this big huge, massive food fight and we just let everybody go. Stunt coordinator Jennifer Badger and her team really did amazing work with all the kids. For us, safety was always paramount. It was always the most important thing. She made sure that we had a safe set. What she added was just amazing to the movie.

Q: In working with the screenwriters, how were you able to bring in a life lesson to the forefront? .

Sean Olson: when I had the first draft of the script, there were a lot of really great ideas in it. Our producers Phil Glasser and Jason Brown brought in their ideas. As the movie started to progress, we honed in on what kids wanted to see in a movie. We wanted the parents to love the movie as much as the kids did. My wife was one of the screenwriters and she wrote the final draft of the script. She brought in so many amazing ideas to the table that echoed a lot of my summer camp experience. We have a lot of really fun action scenes and visual humor, but also a lot of heart. The biggest takeaway from this movie is that camp is not just the activities but it’s the relationships that you build in camp that become lifelong friendships.

@Camp Hideout

Check out more of Nobuhiro’s articles.

Here’s the trailer of the film. 

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