Sundance: NEVER GOIN’ BACK Director and Cast Interview
02 Feb, 2018
NEVER GOIN’ BACK (2018), by writer/director Augustine Frizzell [MINOR SETBACK (2015)], is a rebellious and adventurous take on two teenage high school dropout BFFs, Jessie, portrayed by Camila Morrone [model and actress] and Angela, played by Maia Mitchell [The Fosters (2013-2018)]. The two best friends live with the worst deadbeat roommates who sell drugs to get by. The girls want to desperately escape their adult responsibilities as waitresses in a local diner and retreat to a tropical beach, at all costs. The film also stars Kyle Mooney, Joel Allen, Kendal Smith, and Matthew Holcomb.
80% of the film is based on Frizzell’s real-life growing up in the midst of a wild, parentless working-class environment. She wanted to explore the idea that even in the worst of circumstances, people are capable of finding some joy in their situation. Both Morrone and Mitchell do a perfect job of portraying two friends that never let each other down no matter what challenges they face, causing the audience to reminisce about their teenage escapades and think about similar things they valued as teenagers. The two actresses possess a chemistry that draws the viewer in, exhibiting great humor. The scenes in Frizzell’s movie take us on a joyride of off-the-wall, hysterical, unforgettable situations generating smiles and laughter throughout the film.
[Top Featured Photo:
Never Goin’ Back – Press Line: Actor Cami Morrone, Director Augustine Frizzell and Actor Maia Mitchell attend the World Premiere of Never Goin’ Back by Augustine Frizzell, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Copyright: 2018 Sundance Institute | Photo by Ian Tilghman.]
Dig In Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Cindy Maram caught up with Augustine Frizzell, Cami Morrone and Maia Mitchell at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to learn more about this entertaining film, which takes audiences on a fun ride:
Cindy Maram, Dig In Magazine: It’s so nice to have you guys here. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with Dig In Magazine and congratulations on the film NEVER GOIN’ BACK. First of all I want to start with Augustine, how did this film come about and what attracted you to the film project?
Augustine Frizzell: So, I based this on my actual life experience of being a teenager growing up in Garland. I had an unusual upbringing in unusual circumstances and it wasn’t all positive, but I really wanted to show my experience in a positive or semi-positive light. You know, put a comedic spin on things that might otherwise be portrayed in a really serious or dramatic way.
DIM: have you done comedy before?
Augustine: No, this is the first.
DIM: How was the experience? Was it challenging or was it fun?
Augustine: It was really fun. I love to laugh and I cast people who make me laugh on set, all day every day and so that was amazing. So, I think once the casting was done, my job was really easy. It was just like, let them do their thing and maybe make an adjustment here or there and feel it out, but it was pretty fun.DIM: Maia and Cami, how did you guys get attached to the project?
Maia Mitchell: Well, we were sent the script and then before we put ourselves on tape, we had a Skype meeting with Augustine to kind of prep us for the self-tape. Then we did some taping and then…chemistry read. We chemistry read with a couple different people and our chemistry was the best. So we both got the role.
DIM: Cami, what were the highlights of the filmmaking process and working with these two lovely girls here?
Camila Morrone: Well, I’m much less experienced…in this industry, because I’ve only really been acting for a year. The project that I’m on right now and have signed up [with] has been a very big, big learning experience for me and just adjusting to this new industry, the craft, the lights and cameras and just being a sponge and absorbing everything. When you work with someone—you know, Maia has been on a TV show and she knows a lot more than I do and she would kind of guide me and help me in certain areas where I needed it. Whenever you have a co-star that you’re working with or someone that’s super collaborative, and obviously we’re super collaborative, as well, it just makes the whole experience smooth sailing.
DIM: I watched some of your videos from the [Vogue] makeup and fashion kind of things. Those are really cool. How is the experience different, working on a film?
Camila: It’s a whole different ballgame, just the level of the production is so much bigger and you know, there’s more takes and it’s more emotional and you have more eyes on you. I don’t think it’s even comparable in that sense. I think that kind of stuff can help you in getting comfortable in front of the camera, but I think the most learning you can ever do is just to throw yourself in and completely immerse yourself in acting and film, and being on set.
DIM: Maia, how do you choose the projects that you worked on and why did you want to work on this project?
Maia: For me, just coming from the teen TV world—you know, not to discredit that or the opportunities that it’s given me, but moving forward, I’m kind of trying to branch out of that and challenge myself. I don’t want to be pigeon holed into that and so I really needed to find the right project that challenged me acting wise, but also was a different tone and something edgier and something funny. I’m on a very serious show and I wanted to do something that was completely different and unexpected. So, I feel like we did that. That’s kind of how I pick my projects, what’s going to be unexpected and what’s going to challenge me the most and try and take me to the next level, potentially.DIM: Augustine, Maia and Camila, I was wondering if each of you can tell me how excited you are to have the film here at Sundance Film Festival and what it means to you to have the film premiere here?
Augustine: It is the epitome of what you hope for when you make a film. I mean, it feels so out of reach when you’re making a film, at least it did for me, because growing up, I always saw films that felt so much bigger. They just seemed [to be] in a whole other universe of filmmaking. All my favorite filmmakers…have these incredible pieces of art. It didn’t feel real. It still feels surreal, but it’s the best. It’s unbelievable.
Maia: Yes, I’m not going to act cool about it—it’s so exciting. Since I was a kid, having a movie at Sundance is like the goal and so yes, I’ve been having a lot of little…pinch myself” moments. Of course, it’s what you hope for and it’s very, very exciting, especially coming from a TV world. I’ve been so in that world. So, to have a movie and then for it to get into Sundance is pretty awesome.
Camila: Well, this is definitely a scary experience for me because last night was the first time that I ever saw anything of myself on screen. [I’ve done] other projects that haven’t come out yet, so this was really kind of the first moment that I got to see the work I’ve done, which is obviously a mixture of emotions and overwhelming. But when you read so many scripts and you hear your team and your agent saying, “You know, this one might go a festival,” and, “This director is destined to end up at a festival,” and you’re like, “Yeah, yeah, okay, great,” because most of the time they don’t. Then this one actually really did and I was like, “Wow, you guys really kind of were right that this might end up going to a really big festival and premiering there.”
Augustine: I didn’t even think that. Hoping, but yes, it [did].
Camila: My agents were like, “Well you know, this is kind of a festival movie. This is something that could circuit around,” and I didn’t even want to get excited, even until the day that I found out it was going to Sundance. I was like, “Listen, there’s a big chance it doesn’t go to Sundance, but we can get another festival,” and then I was like, “Okay, I want Sundance.” I want my first movie to be in Sundance. I want Augustine’s first movie to be in Sundance.” I think it’s an overwhelming, surreal feeling that I think none of us really have entirely been able to digest yet.Augustine: Not yet.
Camila: We just saw the movie last night and I need to see it 10 more times before I can actually understand what’s happening, and not at like just my imperfections, but we’re all just kind of soaking in this moment and just trying to never forget this moment.
DIM: What do you hope to convey through the film?
Augustine: I want people to see two females who have each other’s back…under all circumstances, good or bad; who don’t have a big falling out. They’re always on each other’s team and I wanted to show that. I also wanted to show women being imperfect. We don’t see that enough—being imperfect and making mistakes and wanting more, but not quite sure how to get more out of life.
DIM: Thanks so much—congratulations and the best of luck with the film.
All: Thank you.