“A Quiet Place” Filmmakers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods Speak Out About New Sci-Fi Film “65” Starring Adam Driver – Beck/Woods, Iowa natives, launching a cinema in downtown Davenport

2023-03-15 07:00:00

Bettendorf natives Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the Hollywood duo behind “A Quiet Place,” are back with a new sci-fi film “65” starring Adam Driver.

A duo of Iowa filmmakers is bringing the Heartland to Hollywood.

Bettendorf natives Scott Beck and Bryan Woods of production company Beck/Woodsthe pair of childhood best friends behind the 2018 post-apocalyptic thriller “A Quiet Place” from Paramount Pictures, are opening up about their new release Sony Pictures’ sci-fi thriller “65” starring two-time Academy Award nominee Adam Driver.

The movie follows two crash survivors who land on an unknown planet only to discover that the “unknown” is really earth 65 million years ago. Driver plays a pilot Mills and co-stars alongside relative newcomer Ariana Greenblatt, who portrays Koa.

They must battle, with one chance to get out, against prehistoric creatures in the ultimate effort to survive.

“Our pitch to the studios was, ‘Why does Steven Spielberg get to be the only director who gets to have all the fun and make dinosaur movies?'” Woods said.

The sci-fi action movie, which is mostly silent, was released in theaters March 10. Woods said the family-friendly movie includes a China release, which is rare for American films.

“I also really hope that families come out to see it,” Woods said. “It’s almost kind of like entry level horror. Like if you want to get your kids into scary movies, but you don’t want to take them to something too intense.”

More:Beck and Woods, back to ‘Haunt’ Iowa City

The duo became best friends at Bettendorf Middle School

The duo are childhood best friends and have known each other since they were 11, when they attended Bettendorf Middle School together in the Quad Cities.

“We were sitting at the same lunch table and just through a friend of a friend, discovered we both were making stop motion movies with our action figures and that kind of kicked things off,” Beck said.

The team now splits time between the Quad Cities and Los Angeles.

More:‘A Quiet Place’ screenwriters remember stories, films that inspired them, life in Iowa

Iowa helped the pair have a breakout moment in Hollywood

Iowa helped launch the pair’s career after the duo graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007.

“We had one foot in Iowa doing industrial videos and one foot in Los Angeles working on graphic design and anything to pay the rent,” Beck said. “And in the meantime, writing scripts. We probably wrote five or six screenplays over a two- or three-year period.”

Beck said that, in retrospect, what launched the pair’s breakthrough was ignoring the series of screenplays, going back to their roots, and filming a short movie in Perry.

“It was called ‘Impulse’ and we hired a ton of cast and crew from Iowa,” Beck added. “It was a 15-minute short about the end of the world — it had no dialog, so it had a kinship to ‘A Quiet Place’ and our upcoming film ’65.'”

More:Meet the Iowan who produced ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once,’ this year’s best picture winner

How Adam Driver landed in the ’65’ driver’s seat

Beck said the duo, who first saw Driver’s perform in the HBO series “Girls,” appreciated the actor’s work in 2019’s Oscar-nominated movie “Marriage Story,” where he starred opposite Scarlett Johansson, and his past projects with prolific director Jim Jarmusch.

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“On the surface, it is like this big popcorn dinosaur movie. It also has this emotional undercurrent that we’ve written into the film, and we really needed an actor who would be able to ground that,” Beck said. “And Adam, to us, is one of the best actors working today.”

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The film was shot in the elements instead of on a sound stage

Beck and Woods filmed “65” over the course of several months in Ireland, New Orleans, and Oregon. The movie was shot in practical locations, a rarity in Hollywood, instead of sound stage. The pair really wanted to shoot in natural elements, Beck said.

“If one day there was just a huge rain monsoon, we’d still be shooting in those elements and embrace the idea of what the world actually could’ve been like 65 million years ago with this raw, powerful energy that it had back then,” he continued.

Beck/Woods are opening up a cinema in downtown Davenport

Beck/Woods is launching a cinema, set to open later this spring, in downtown Davenport. The theater will feature two interior movie screens, a rooftop screening area during the summer months, a museum featuring movie memorabilia from Hollywood films, a community lounge space, and opportunities to meet special guests.

“For the longest time growing up in Iowa, it felt like it was impossible to figure out, ‘How do you get into the career of your dreams?’ It took a lot of failure and stumbling,” Beck said. “We want to do our best as best we can to connect the dots between Iowa and Hollywood, in hopes that anybody else that has an interest in this career, they can see themselves having a more accessible path to it.”

For the pair of childhood best friends from Bettendorf, the Hawkeye state is where there Hollywood dream come true first started.

“People would always say to us, ‘You’re gonna have to leave Iowa. You can’t make movies and live in Iowa.’ That was reinforced to us over and over and over again over the years,” Woods said. “There’s just a rebellious part of us that’s always kind of been saying, ‘Oh yeah? We’ll see about that.'”

Jay Stahl is an entertainment reporter at The Des Moines Register. Follow him on Instagram or reach out at jstahl@gannett.com.

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