Noah Schnapp, Victoria Justice & Garrett Hedlund Talk ‘The Tutor’ & Surprises
Mar 22, 2023
Before hitting theaters on March 24, Collider’s Steve Weintraub had the opportunity to speak with the stars of Jordan Ross’ upcoming psychological thriller, The Tutor. Between the main three, Garrett Hedlund, Noah Schnapp, and Victoria Justice, we gleaned a little insight into this small-budget nail-biter they say has a “page-turner” script that kept them on the edge of their seats, one Hedlund likens to Primal Fear’s level of suspense.
In The Tutor, Ethan, played by Hedlund, is the titular mentor who’s offered an unbelievable summer gig to work with a billionaire’s son, Jackson (Schnapp). As the two spend more time together, Ethan’s uneasy concern that Jackson may be a deeply troubled young man is compounded by the fact that Jackson seems to know an uncomfortable amount about his new tutor, and shows up unannounced during dinners with Ethan’s newly-pregnant wife, Annie (Justice). Things take a turn for the worst when Jackson accuses Ethan of assault, and the tutor begins to tumble down a slippery slope. According to the trio, this twisting story will “surprise and terrorize” audiences with its unexpected outcome.
During the conversation, which you can watch in the video above or read below, Hedlund, Schnapp, and Justice share with us how they got involved with this project, what appealed to them most, and how the locals of Birmingham, Alabama contributed to the film. The trio also teases upcoming projects like Justice’s “action-adventure” comedy, California King, Hedlund’s next Taylor Sheridan series, Bass Reeves, and Schnapp admits he’ll be “crying and upset” when Stranger Things Season 5 wraps, and we can guarantee he won’t be alone with his tears.
COLLIDER: I like throwing a curveball at the beginning. If someone has actually never seen anything you’ve done before, what is the first thing you’d like them watching, and why?
VICTORIA JUSTICE: Oh, wow, that’s a great question.
NOAH SCHNAPP: The Tudor!
JUSTICE: [Laughs] Yeah! Um, that’s a tough one.
GARRETT HEDLUND: Let’s break it down to the specificities. Are you talking about film performances or just everything? I mean, ‘cause I can say they’d probably get to know me pretty well if they watched, you know the video of my kindergarten graduation. There was something going on in this young kid that was yearning to explode out of me. So they’d probably get a good sense of what my future would become just by how spazzmastic I seemed in that video.
If it’s film-wise, I’d say I was very proud of achieving and being able to do this wonderful journey that was On the Road with Walter Salles and a wonderful cast, and the whole Beat Generation [Jack] Kerouac adventure. It was, you know, very impactful for me in my life.
JUSTICE: Probably I would suggest that they watch my Ovaltine commercial. I think to really just get a sense of who I am as an artist.
HEDLUND: [Laughs] I’m gonna do that back-to-back with A Christmas Story and just have the greatest day.
SCHNAPP: I would say, for me, my performance in Aladdin when I was nine years old. I think singing “A Whole New World” really helped me shine.
I appreciate you indulging me. Jumping into why I get to talk to you, one of the things I enjoy about movies is when I’m not sure, ultimately, who the antagonist and the protagonist is in a story. So I’m curious, when you guys were reading the script, how much did your agent or manager, or Jordan, tell you, and how much were they saying, “Read the script, and let’s see what you think.”?
JUSTICE: Well, I went into it– I didn’t know anything about this film. My agents just sent it to me, they’re like, “Check it out, cool cast, cool director…” I was like, “Okay, great. It’s a thriller, I love that genre.” So I didn’t really know much else about it, and I was immediately hooked in when I started reading it. It was a page-turner for me, and I didn’t know what was gonna happen next. I was intrigued. I was like, “How is this going to end?” And I thought it was really exciting, kept me on the edge of my seat, and so that was really what was exciting for me.
Then obviously, having the opportunity to get to work with these two amazing actors was very cool. And Jordan, meeting with Jordan. He’s just such a cool guy, like someone you want to be friends with, and had such a vision for this, and is kind and collaborative and easy to work with. And so those are all the things that were exciting, and yeah, I didn’t know much about it.
Is there anything you guys want to add?
HEDLUND: Yeah, I was given the script four months or so before we shot it by the producer, [Robert Ogden Barnum]. He was really excited about it. I read it. I hadn’t been tossed a lot of psychological thrillers before, I was hanging on every scene, it kept me on the edge of my seat, and then I got to the third act, and I was like, “I don’t know…” And then I read it again, got to the third act, “I don’t know…” And then it was the third time of reading, and I said, “I think I can do something with this here.”
It really reminded me of, you know, films like Primal Fear that I absolutely loved in the latter years of high school, and same thing, I was blown away by the ending. Never could have imagined. It was one that, as a viewer, as an audience, as a lover of film and cinema, just– it was like, that did the job. It really got me, and I hoped that this would do the same thing, so I couldn’t wait to try.
SCHNAPP: Yeah, I echo everything they both said. I mean, just reading the script, seeing the opportunities I had to play this character, the cast, and then Victoria came on, and it was even more exciting, and everything just came together, and I was so excited to be a part of it.
Image via Vertical Entertainment
You guys obviously didn’t make this with Marvel money, and I’m just curious, what was it like when you’ve really got to make it on a take or two, you’ve really got to hit your schedule?
HEDLUND: Yeah, we shot fast. I think it was a four-week shoot. That’s, you know, 20 days. We shot in Alabama, primarily outside in Birmingham, or New York, essentially, or it can translate to essentially any town anywhere. It was left kind of pseudo-open.
But, it was quite a small budget, then when you watch it and it seems like the budget was much higher, it all goes to Jordan Ross. He went around and met so many locals from Birmingham explaining that we were shooting this film, explaining what the film was about, this and that, and so many generous, wonderful families invited us to come shoot in their beautiful homes. All of a sudden, we were shooting in mansion after mansion after mansion, all the way from Birmingham to Lake Alexandria, to what have you. That was a wonderful benefit, so thank you to all the wonderful families.
You know, everybody kind of came on, the characters were so wonderful, and we knew that, if done right, it would be something that audiences waited for, something unpredictable to fall into their lap, and so for us to do something that can surprise and terrorize in such a way, we all jumped on and were kind of eager to do our parts.
Image via Vertical Entertainment
I have an individual question for each of you if you don’t mind. Victoria, I believe you recently shot California King, and that has a cool cast, if you can talk about it? Garrett, you’re doing Bass Reeves, which is another in the Taylor Sheridan universe, what can you tease? And Noah, obviously, you’re filming Stranger Things 5, it’s going to be your final season, what does it mean to you to be ending that chapter of your life?
JUSTICE: Yeah, California King, super excited about that project. It was really fun. I just got to pop in and have a good time. My character, Lynette, is kind of like this badass, she smokes and she curses a lot, and it was really fun. It’s like an action-adventure kind of comedy, and I was able to work with so many talented actors, Jimmy Tatro who’s a hysterical improv king, incredible, Taco [Travis] Bennett, Joel McHale.
It was a really fun cast and a really fun project, and Eli Stern directed it, it’s his writing directorial debut and he absolutely crushed it. I have this fun dance sequence in the movie, and it’s just a really fun project that keeps you going the entire time. There’s never a dull moment, so I’m really excited for people to see that and to meet my character, Lynette.
HEDLUND: Yeah, I’m in Bass Reeves, been shooting it since the beginning of February. It’s fantastic what they’re achieving on this project. It’s been a story that many have wanted to have done for a very long time. David Oyelowo is playing Bass Reeves, he’s a phenomenal actor. It’s Taylor Sheridan. Once again, I love being in the Sheridan family. We’ve tried to link up many times before, so to do Tulsa King now and Bass Reeves, Paramount+ is a wonderful family, 101 Studios is wonderful, David Glasser and all the guys there. We’ve got a wonderful, creative thing going. [There are] a lot of fans of the Bass Reeves story, and I’m excited to be a part of this one so everybody can finally get what they’ve been rooting for.
SCHNAPP: Then for me, I mean, just wrapping Stranger Things, so bittersweet. I mean, it was obviously kind of what made me, I guess, as an actor, and I’ve grown up on the show. I first started on it when I was 10 and now I’m like an adult, so it’s crazy. But, I’m really excited to get shooting. The last season looks really good, and when it’s over I’m definitely gonna be crying and upset, but excited for what the future holds.
The Tutor is in theaters beginning March 24.
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