By Molly Given
We’ve heard the tales of Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, and even more recently “The Bling Ring,” featuring a story based on true events surrounding a group of young college-aged kids stealing from celebrities. But with “Echo Boomers,” first time filmmaker Seth Savoy hits right on the socially structured nose. The film stars Michael Shannan, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Alex Pettyfer as a group of disgruntled Millenials or as the film’s namesake shows “Echo Boomers” who feel as though they can steal from the rich to help pay off their student debts.
Aside from being a relevant concept in today’s day and age, the story itself was taken from headlines based on true events that happened in Chicago making the plot even more affiliated with the financial burdens that so many young people are strapped with today. Plus, there are action-packed scenes, cool masks, a heist-feel and an electric cast to help drive this story into a meaningful and entertaining realm for audiences.
Alex Pettyfer who plays the mysterious Ellis sat down with Metro to discuss what went into making “Echo Boomers.”
This story is based on true events, were you aware of these happenings in Chicago?
I didn’t get to exploit too much of those details because to be quite frank they weren’t the main point of interest for me. I think what was interesting to me was more researching on the educational system that America is going through and seeing the Millenials or young individuals coming out of college with degrees and then meeting kind of entrepreneurial companies that are taking personalities that are more fit for an environment rather than qualification or an academic qualification and leaving young people in debt. Student debt is one of the only debts that you live with forever and it’s interesting, in the UK the way it’s structured is that when you get a job, often you pay right away and it’s taken out of your paycheck monthly then reimbursed back to the government. I just thought that it was really interesting that these characters were ringing true to an evolution of the educational system but handling things in completely the wrong way. So what they were standing up for I could kind of relate to.
How does the film showcase the frustration that this age group is having regarding student debt?
With the film, instead of being a hero story, it’s a story that becomes very individual with the characters as to why they choose what they do and understanding their intentions, even though they’re going around it the wrong way. That was more fascinating for me, and I think that rings true to a lot of things that happen in this generation and the generation passed, is that we are given these imprinted guidelines in society culture. We might not necessarily believe in those, but the way that we evolve is to unite and come together with equality and go forward. I think when you see the characters in this film not do that from an individual standpoint and see how their wrongful action ends—even with a more positive influence in the sense of the message that they’re trying to put across—I found that fascinating as a wrongful attempt to try and change a system. But it’s a very fun and enjoyable 90-minute picture and not an overload of information, that to me was an interesting point.
What about your character specifically, how would you describe him?
When Ellis was written in the original script, there was a much more clear picture of who he was, because he was almost like a symbolism of the same character of what Michael Shannan plays. I said to Seth and the producers, we don’t need two of the same characters, Michael will do what he does incredibly well. I think what we need is someone that creates anarchy in the setting outside of Michael. This ambiguous character that Ellis is, is someone that created this illusion and distortion between the group in such a way that when you watch the film you kind of don’t really know what his intentions are or what’s going on.
When you believe a lie so much and when you believe that what you’re saying is so true, ultimately what you’re developing or creating is something that doesn’t really fit fold into what’s going on in the truth of the matter with these wrongful actions. This guy then has to create one illusion and one lie after another creating every character around him to get confused. That is only because the sensibility to what he was admitting doing was: We are going to steal from individuals that will be able to claim back the property that we’ve stolen on insurance, so they’re not losing anything and with the value that they have we will pay off our student debts. But in that, there was an anarchy that was created and an element of well, here we’ve got something good going and why not carry it on? That then develops to these characteristics of greed, power and egoism, and so through that he develops these convoluted ideas of how he should be. I think at some point or another when you’re acting that way as a human being, I think that your life starts to implode, and his life right at the beginning of the film is imploding.
For millennials who are living through this, what do you think they’ll take away from the film?
I think looking at the film, it’s entertaining, but here’s a group of individuals that aren’t guided in the correct, let’s say parental vision, but we all know that parental guidance is always met with irritation because there’s a great saying— you cannot put an old head on young shoulders. The knowledge you eventually grow and understand, you can’t do that when you’re young, we have to learn by fault and error. In the film, you’re watching their errors being made.
“Echo Boomers” will be released in theaters, On Demand and digital Nov. 13.
This story first appeared on our sister publication philly.metro.us.