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by Nigel M Smith
March 9, 2013 10:18 AM
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SXSW Futures: 'A Teacher' Breakout Will Brittain Brings Racy Sundance Hit Home to Austin

"A Teacher" Oscilloscope
Why He's On Our Radar: "A Teacher," Hannah Fidell's acclaimed feature directorial debut, already made waves at Sundance earlier this year in the festival's NEXT section, culminating in a coveted Oscilloscope Laboratories buy. Although the film's SXSW bow won't mark its world premiere, it will mark a homecoming of sorts for one of it's principal players (and Austin boy) Will Brittain. In the sexy drama, Brittain stars alongside Lindsay Burdge as a teenager engaged in an affair with his teacher (Burdge). Good looking, incredibly charismatic and clearly undaunted by risky choices, Brittain should go far.

READ MORE: Lindsay Burdge on Finding Compassion for 'A Teacher' Who Goes Too Far With One of Her Students

More About Him: Brittain grew up wanting to play football and act. After sustaining an injury in his senior year, he decided to turn all his attention towards acting, enrolling in the University of Texas' acting program. He booked "A Teacher" while still enrolled.

Congratulations on the film getting picked up by Oscilloscope. That’s huge news.

Thank you!

Given that the SXSW screenings are going to be a homecoming of sorts for you, what’s going through your mind?

I’m really excited to see how people accept the film here in Austin opposed to at Sundance. I think it’ll be well received because it pretty much has been so far, but it’s really exciting knowing that some of my friends and family will be able to see it and some of the people who are in the industry who live here in Austin.

"I’m nervous about my girlfriend seeing it."
Did you get to share it with any friends and family at Sundance or are they going to be seeing it for the first time?

They’re all going to be seeing it for the first time. None of my friends or family members have seen it yet.

Just given the subject matter are you kind of wary of your parents seeing this film?

I mean, not really. I’m nervous about what they think about it but they know what it’s about. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, to me, really. I’m nervous about my girlfriend seeing it.

Why is that?

I just wouldn’t think it’s something you really want to watch, your boyfriend making out and doing love scenes with another woman. It’s pretty tough to see. She understands and everything, but it’s going to be tough for her to watch the film.

Has she met Lindsay [Burdge]?

No, but we are getting together before SXSW, because she’s gonna be in Austin shooting a movie so we’re going to try and get together and do dinner or something like that.

Get the nerves out of the way before the show.

Right, right.

"A Teacher" Sundance
Take me back to Sundance and what it was like for you.

Yeah, it was crazy. It was a life-changing experience, definitely. It was awesome that the film went so well and that we had so many really amazing people there. A lot of things started happening really fast...signing with Paradigm, and going out to LA about a week after Sundance, met more really cool people. It’s just been this sort of really crazy ride ever since then. It’s been great, I couldn’t be happier.

I ran into Hannah [Fidell] at a screening the other night and she told me since Sundance you've been going out for these “Hunger Game” type of auditions.

Well I auditioned for a film called “Divergent,” with Neil Burger, for several different roles for that. I got really close on all of them; didn’t end up booking, unfortunately. I auditioned for this film called “Endless Love” which is shooting here in Austin, and I’m still up for the lead role in that along with Liam Hemsworth and another actor, I can’t remember his name. So I’m waiting to hear back on that. And I auditioned for several pilots that are coming up. So things are good, I’ve had a lot of auditions lately and they’ve all been going really well, and I’ve been getting good traction among the casting directors. I auditioned for “Unbroken,” which is the Lou Zamperini story that Angelia Jolie is directing. It’s been great! It’s been crazy.

So you’re managing to actually get seen for stuff despite living in Austin, which is pretty remarkable.

Yeah! I’ve been able to submit tapes, and I actually had to fly out to LA to audition for “Unbroken,” but I mean, it was definitely worth the trip to do that. It was an amazing opportunity just to be able to get in the room for that film.

Back when you initially got the role in “A Teacher,” I’m guessing you never thought all of this would come. Or did you, based on the quality of the script and the talent?

I knew that…. I didn’t know that much about film at all, but I knew that it was a fantastic script, that Lindsay was a fantastic actress, and Hannah was a great director. I knew that from the very first audition, you could just tell. So I knew it was definitely something that I wanted to do. I didn’t even know how the process worked, with films getting into festivals and all that; it was such a completely new world to me. So as we were shooting the film I was just constantly asking Lindsay and Hannah questions about that – what is the best thing that could happen? And they said, to get into Sundance, and I said what are the chances of that happening? And they’re like, “well, you know, I mean… We’ll see?” So when it happened, it was just kind of like, “whoa, what? This is awesome!” So I knew I was with some really talented people for the get-go, but I had no clue it was going to be this big.


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