You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Playback: Brett Haley on ‘Hearts Beat Loud’ and Wearing Inspirations on His Sleeve

Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.

Director Brett Haley has been Mr. Sundance lately, premiering his last three films at the independent film festival. This year his latest, “Hearts Beat Loud,” closed out the festivities in Park City. It was one of the more popular players at the event, perfectly in tune with Haley’s brand of delightful, character-driven storytelling, starring Nick Offerman as a widower who strikes up a band with his daughter the summer before she heads off to college. They cook up a hit track in the process. Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson and Toni Collette also star.

Listen to this week’s episode of “Playback” below. New episodes air every Thursday.

Click here for more episodes of “Playback.”

“I think I wear my inspirations pretty squarely on my sleeve on this one,” Haley says. “There’s a dash of ‘High Fidelity.’ There’s some ‘That Thing You Do.’ There’s a little ‘Inside Llewyn Davis.’ There’s a bit of ‘Once.’ I love those movies. I really feel a connection to those films. [The idea for this movie has] always been kicking around. As a filmmaker I’m constantly thinking about ideas and genres that I kind of want to be in. I’m a huge musical fan, but I also love band movies and movies about music. I’m a bit of a music snob and this was an avenue and a way to kind of get that part of me out there.”

Regarding Sundance, many at this year’s festival felt it was a weak slate, no doubt spoiled a year after an edition that included major Oscar players like “The Big Sick” and “Call Me by Your Name.” But Haley saw the 2018 fest as more in keeping with typicality, featuring a string of films many attendees enjoyed and talked about, rather than one built on one or two monsters that drown out the rest.

“I think it was a good Sundance when the dust settled,” he says. “Everyone was freaking out at the festival like, ‘Oh, things are a little slow.’ There was that feeling. But if you look at it, ‘Sorry To Bother You’ is getting a huge release and ‘Blindspotting’ is getting a massive push. We’re getting a push. It was more spread around. I think that’s good, when there isn’t one movie that everyone is talking about but rather five or six or seven movies where everyone is like, ‘I like these movies.’ That’s more ideal.”

There is also discussion of the independent film landscape, which Haley deems “incredibly healthy” thanks to the various avenues in place for filmmakers to connect their work to an audience. His recent films have often been released by the newer kids on the block — Bleecker Street for “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” The Orchard for “The Hero” and now Gunpowder & Sky for “Hearts Beat Loud” — but he maintains an affinity for movies of all scales, and distribution platforms of all stripes.

“The studio system, and I don’t blame them, is relying on IP and big things everybody knows,” Haley says. “Netflix is giving avenues for big movies to filmmakers and auteurs that maybe normally wouldn’t be there. Amazon is doing the same thing. To me it’s all good. You’re just looking at different stakes, basically. When your movie comes out in the theater, you’ve got to deal with how are the critics going to respond, because that’s going to drive business. How is the box office going to be? And then there is awards at the end of all of that. It’s just stress upon stress upon stress. And there’s something about this idea of, ‘Well, my movie’s on Netflix. There you go. I’m moving on with my life. I’m moving on to the next project.'”

For more, including discussion of Offerman and Kiersey’s chemistry and what it took to get Danson behind a bar again (not as much as you’d think), listen to the latest episode of “Playback” via the streaming link above.

Hear more episodes of “Playback” at iHeartRadio.
Subscribe via iTunes.

More Film

  • Beijing Festival Unveils 'Max Max,' 'Bourne'

    Beijing Festival Unveils 'Max Max,' 'Bourne,' Kurosawa Screening Series

    The upcoming Beijing International Film Festival will give space to high profile Hollywood franchise movies with screenings of all films in both the “Mad Max” and “Bourne Identity” series. Classic Hollywood fare will also feature prominently in a line-up that, as usual, features an eclectic grab bag of titles. The local government-backed festival opens April [...]

  • J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church

    SXSW Film Review: 'J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius'

    Like 8mm films of 1960s “happenings” or videos of 1970s performance art, “J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius” chronicles a cultural footnote that perhaps should be filed under the heading You Had to Be There. The satirical-absurdist “religion” founded by some Texans actually caught fire among hipsters in the 1980s, influencing some [...]

  • 'Roll Red Roll' Review: Piercing Documentary

    Film Review: 'Roll Red Roll'

    “Roll Red Roll” is a piercingly relevant and disturbing documentary about an infamous high school rape case that took place in Steubenville, Ohio (pop. 18,600), on Aug. 11, 2012. Steubenville, the sort of Friday-night-lights small town that boasts signs that read “Kick off for Jesus,” is a place that’s good at keeping secrets. When the [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild, Hollywood Agents Negotiate With Deadline Looming

    The Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents have held a sixth negotiating session with a deadline for a new deal 16 days away — and it’s uncertain whether progress is being made. The Association of Talent Agents made counter-proposals at Thursday’s session that contain provisions for more accountability and transparency by agencies for clients [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Fox Layoffs Leave Staffers Stunned and Saddened

    Fox employees knew this day was coming. For over a year, the men and women who work at the Century City lot have talked of little else but severance packages and job searches. They knew that when Disney wrapped up its $71.3 billion acquisition of much of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets, thousands [...]

  • Alan Horn Disney

    Disney Clarifies Film Leadership After Harrowing Day of Fox Layoffs

    Following the dismissal of top executives in distribution, marketing and strategy on Thursday, new 20th Century Fox owner Disney has clarified its new top leadership. Five distinct Fox labels and a portion of their leadership have been welcomed into the Disney fold, the company said. This includes Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Family, Fox Searchlight Pictures, [...]

  • Janelle Monae

    Film News Roundup: Janelle Monae to Star in Film From Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz

    In today’s film news roundup, Janelle Monae will star in a Lionsgate movie, Bill Nighy joins “Emma,” and documentaries on surfer Bethany Hamilton and Asbury Park are dated. CASTINGS Janelle Monae will star in an untitled Lionsgate movie directed by the duo Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz. The film will be produced by QC Entertainment’s Ray [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content