‘Go-Getter’ energy fuels road trip crew


Making a low-budget, independent road movie isn’t an easy task. But writer-director Martin Hynes came up with an ingenious idea before production began on his film “The Go-Getter,” which opens Friday.

“Because it’s shot in 35 millimeter, we did something nonstandard,” Hynes says. “We did a test shoot. But it was a very artistically expanded idea of a test shoot.”

Lou Taylor Pucci (“Thumbsucker”) stars in the drama as Mercer, a strait-laced 19-year-old who, eight months after the death of his mother, steals a car so he can find the half-brother he hasn’t seen in 14 years.


Zooey Deschanel plays Kate, owner of the stolen car. She ends up befriending Mercer and joins him on his quest.

Singer-songwriter M. Ward (Deschanel’s partner in the music group She & Him) provides the film’s evocative songs.

“Go-Getter” was shot in 25 days in Oregon, California, Nevada and Mexico. Four months before production began -- and before the film was even cast -- Hynes, cinematographer Byron Shah, a stand-in for Mercer and a camera assistant went on the road.

“We went to almost every location in the movie, except for Mexico,” Hynes says. “We shot 8,000 feet of film. We just tried everything -- different lenses and film stocks and camera moves. It was an incredible boon. To make a film that looks as semi-improvisational and freewheeling as ‘The Go-Getter’ required an incredible amount of planning. I wrote an 85-page shot list. The only way to shoot this film on the road is to have it all kind of scoped out.”

Though the USC film school graduate is concentrating on his writing and directing career these days, he’s also spent time in front of the camera. He played a young George Lucas in the award-winning 1999 short film “George Lucas in Love.”

“The funny thing is, I wasn’t one of those die-hard ‘Star Wars’ guys,” Hynes says. The filmmakers “had to explain to me why some of the lines were funny. I never realized the power of ‘Star Wars’ until we shot that. I ended up being flown to Spain for a sci-fi and fantasy film festival in San Sebastian. They gave me the best actor award for a film that is eight minutes long!”


-- Susan King