Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

" I’ll be monitoring your frequency "
— Zoe Saldana, Star Trek

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What happens when two neighbors from Santa Monica are befriended by a man with Down syndrome — a man with seemingly unlikely dreams of being a movie star? Let’s start with magic. But the story behind the making of The Peanut Butter Falcon is also a classic Hollywood fable in its own right.

Meet Michael Schwartz. He biked cross-country from California to Maine. But he never attended film school.

Meet Tyler Nilson. He’s worked as a boatman in the South Pacific. But he never attended film school.

Michael and Tyler have produced a couple documentaries. Tyler’s even been a hand model.

But now they’re riding high on a new accomplishment: they’ve made a movie with a whole lot of heart starring their friend, Zack Gottsagen. It just so happens Zack is accompanied by Shia LaBeouf (Transformers), Dakota Johnson (the Fifty Shades trilogy), Bruce Dern (Black Sunday) and wrestling legend Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

How did it all happen? They went to the library. They read about screenwriting. They figured it out and — after years of planning and a miraculous alignment of talent wanting to join this collective of three outsiders on their movie quest — they made a small movie with a really big heart.

As Schwartz explains, “Authenticity is really important to us and I think our writing can be a little fantastical and get into fable space, but having a grounded feeling within that — I think — is a really special tone. Having a guy that really has Down syndrome playing Down syndrome, having people that really have wrestled for 38 years playing wrestlers, having a guy that really runs a crab boat playing a guy that runs a crab boat.”

In The Peanut Butter Falcon, Gottsagen plays Zak and LaBeouf plays Tyler, who helps Zak with his quest to find the Salt-Water Redneck, a professional wrestler who promises to turn you into a “bad ass” — if you attend his wrestling school.

Watch the video and get to know Nilson and Schwartz. If moviegoers are lucky, they’ll be back to tell more stories that come from the heart.