‘Red Rocket’ First Look: Sean Baker Returns After ‘The Florida Project’ with First Cannes Contender

"Red Rocket" could be the Simon Rex comeback nobody expected.
"Red Rocket"
"Red Rocket"

A24 has released the first official look at Sean Baker’s “Red Rocket” ahead of the film’s world premiere next month in competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. “Red Rocket” is Baker’s first Palme d’Or contender, although he’s no stranger to Cannes as his last directorial effort, “The Florida Project,” was one of the most acclaimed breakouts in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar of the 2017 festival. Baker’s previous efforts screened at festivals such as Sundance (“Tangerine”), SXSW (“Starlet”), and more.

While A24 has not released an official synopsis for “Red Rocket,” here’s how Deadline described the movie when it was first announced last year: “‘Red Rocket’ is a darkly comedic film about Mikey Saber, a 39-year old ‘suitcase pimp.’ That is the kind of pimp who lives off of women in the adult film industry. Finding himself down and out in Los Angeles, Mikey decides to crawl back to his hometown of Texas City, Texas, where his estranged wife and mother-in-law are living. Just as this dysfunctional family seems to be making things work, Mikey meets a young woman named Strawberry working the cash register at a local doughnut shop. He falls right back into his old habits.”

Baker is well known for casting non-professional actors in his lead roles, but he’s changing things up with “Red Rocket” as Simon Rex stars as the film’s protagonist. Rex made a name for himself after starring in three “Scary Movie” films (his additional credits include films such as “National Lampoon’s Pledge This!”), but “Red Rocket” marks a surprising change of pace for the actor who could deliver a dramatic comeback that nobody had on their radar.

“Red Rocket” was written by Baker and his frequent collaborator Chris Bergoch, who served as co-writer on “The Florida Project,” “Tangerine,” and “Starlet.” Baker is also a producer on the project alongside Alex Coco, Samantha Quan, Alex Saks, and Shih-Ching Tsou.

News hit last year that Baker was filming his “Florida Project” follow-up under the radar, but word did get out that he was working for the first time with rising cinematographer Drew Daniels. The DP has credits that include Trey Edward Shults’ “Waves,” a fellow A24 release. Daniels and Shults also worked together on “Krisha” and “It Comes At Night.” The cinematographer’s additional credits include “Arizona,” “The Boy from Medellin,” and two episodes of HBO’s Emmy-winning series “Euphoria.”

Baker previously worked with A24 on “The Florida Project,” which made it to $5.9 million in the U.S. and $11 million globally. At the Oscars, “The Florida Project” picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actor thanks to Willem Dafoe’s performance. Check out the first look at “Red Rocket” in the photo below.

"Red Rocket"
“Red Rocket”A24
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