An Interview with High Road's Matt Walsh
I really liked your movie!
Isn't it good?
It totally is!
I know! I really think it's good.
So here's what we should do—
I want to give a shout-out to my best friend, Tom Skerritt. What's up, Tom? Congrats on making the cover of The Stranger.
Was he excited?
We didn't talk about it!
But you know him pretty well. I mean, you could probably feel—
We're definitely best friends. Yeah.
What's your movie High Road about?
It's basically about a guy who's a part-time pot dealer, loosely based on a buddy of mine in Chicago who was kind of kidding himself that he was dealing weed. This guy from the movie, Fitz, gets in trouble and he goes on the run and he hooks up with this runaway kid named Jimmy. By the end of the road trip, they figure out that you can't really run away from your problems.
How much of it was written and how much was improvised?
It's based on a screenplay I wrote with my buddy Josh Weiner. Then we took the story and made a 70-scene outline, and beneath each heading we had a paragraph or two of description. Then we took the main actors, and we just took random scenes and let them explore the characters and introduced them to other characters. Sometimes they'd meet characters they never meet in the movie—it was kind of experimental and geared toward discovery, almost like theater camp. That gave everyone a foundation and tone that they understood going into the film. And that helped us discover a few things. When we got on set, we had a script that we could use to throw out suggested jokes—like "Oh, there's a joke from this scene if you want to use it." The actors were welcome to read the full script if they wanted to.
The cast is great. Every bit part is played by someone you recognize from somewhere for being awesome. Who is your favorite person in the cast?
My favorite people in the cast are the prostitute, who's my wife, and there's a little baby in the movie, and that's my son. So those are my two favorite people in the movie.
Well, that's very diplomatic of you. Who's your least favorite?
Horatio Sanz. Definitely. Terrible human being.