Amy Redford Discusses Casting Summer Phoenix and Casey Affleck’s Son


Amy Redford opened up about casting Summer Phoenix‘s son Indiana — whom she shares with ex Casey Affleck — alongside his mother in IFC Films’ What Comes Around.

“I did nobody any favors,” the director, 52, exclusively told Us Weekly during a joint interview with star Grace Van Dien, ahead of the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike. “We auditioned people and we auditioned him. It was [Indiana’s] heart-forward sort of portrayal of a young teenage boy that was a counterbalance to Jesse [Kyle Gallner] that we needed so much.”

She continued: “Of course it’s great that everybody had a bit of a shorthand with the schedule that we had. That was a bonus, but it was all on the merit of what they brought to the table for sure.”

Van Dien, 26, for her part, praised Phoenix, 44, for her support on and off screen.

“Summer is amazing. I love her so much. She invited me to come stay with her while we were filming [and] I think it was easy [playing her daughter],” the actress shared with Us. “I don’t have a great relationship with my mom. So, I feel like when I have parts [with characters] that have moms, it’s an easy fit in the slot for me. She’s just a really fun person to be around. This is probably the easiest project I’ve ever been a part of just in terms of getting along with everyone.”

Amy Redford Discusses Casting Summer Phoenix Casey Affleck Son

Amy Redford, Summer Phoenix and Casey Affleck
Michael Hurcomb/Shutterstock (2); Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

What Comes Around, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2022, focuses on the challenges that arise for Beth (Phoenix) after her daughter, Anna (Van Dien), starts talking to an older man named Eric (Gallner) online. Indiana, meanwhile, plays Anna’s friend who has a crush on her.

Redford brought writer Scott Organ‘s vision to life after he penned the play The Thing With Feathers, which served as an inspiration for the film.

“The play was sent to me just to read by Scott because I love his work and we’ve been trying to work together for a really long time. I just said, ‘Scott, this is a great play but it would be an even better film right now in the themes that it elicits,’” Redford noted. “The thing that’s the most challenging in general with plays — but with Scott in particular — is that he’s such a craftsman when it comes to words and dialogue. It’s like Jenga [where] if you remove one thing, then other things fall apart. So you have to be precise about the things you remove and how you create the connection moving on, especially when you’re playing with genre.”

What Comes Around Amy Redford Discusses Casting Summer Phoenix

Grace Van Dien as “Anna”, and Summer Pheonix as “Beth” in ‘What Comes Around’
Courtesy of IFC Films

What Comes Around, which also stars Jesse Garcia, Reina Hardesty and Sierra Nicole Rose, is a coming-of-age film that addresses topics such as toxic online culture, complicated family dynamics and grooming.

It was important to Redford to have the audience form their own opinion on the movie’s message.

“I don’t want to be too prescriptive with what people should or shouldn’t feel. It’s an invitation to investigate one’s own clarity, honesty and the dangers of not owning some of your behavior and the way in which it can have fallout that you can’t see,” she explained to Us. “For me — as a mom — the idea that something I did in my youth could fall on the shoulders of my children is the horror part of it. Part of that is extinguishing some of the generational gaslighting. [Also] knowing that however painful owning the truth — is in its initial stages — it’s a lot less painful than having to do it when it’s blossomed exponentially and generationally.”

What Comes Around opens in select theaters and is available on VOD Friday, August 4.


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