SXSW 2018: Logan Miller & Samantha Mathis Talk You Can Choose Your Family

Jim Gaffigan in You Can Choose Your Family.
Credit: Jon Pack

Actors Logan Miller and Samantha Mathis took some time to chat with Cultured Vultures  about their new film, You Can Choose Your Family, one day after it premiered during the 2018 SXSW Film Festival.

Thanks for joining us today. How much of a thrill is it to premiere You Can Choose Your Family at SXSW?
Logan Miller: I think it’s great. This is actually my favorite film festival that I’ve been to at least. This is my third time with a film. I’m originally from Dallas so it’s always great to come here so I can have my own friends and family come here to join in the experience as well. It’s very homey and nice and eccentric. I love it!

Samantha Mathis: Who doesn’t love Austin? It’s my second time being at SXSW but in general, I’ve been to Austin five or six times but I just love it here. Not that I feel like I’ve really seen it on this trip because of doing all these interviews. I think the energy behind this film festival is really exciting and palpable. There’s real film lovers here so it’s an awesome way to get to see your film for the first time. We saw the film for the first time last night

You didn’t see a rough cut?
Logan Miller: No. ADR sessions and that was about it.

Samantha Mathis: That was it. Our first time was in Austin last night.

Nice. I was laughing up a storm.
Logan Miller: That’s awesome.

When Jim is running to stop you and Kelly from kissing—
Logan Miller: Amazing. There was so many moments that were depicted like that on screen.

Samantha Mathis: What would you call that kind of moment? It’s like the Oh, God, no!

Logan Miller: It’s a cringe moment that comes with a lot of humor within the film—a lot of uncomfortable cringe kind of stuff, which is my favorite kind of humor. For us to be able to depict that and just have everyone sitting on the edge of their seat be like, what the hell is going to happen, and watch it explode right in front of them.

What drew you to the role?
Logan Miller: Getting to work with everybody, honestly. The script was unbelievable. I read it and it started off with a stereotypical trope of a young boy and kind of begrudged father. You get to page 15 and you see this is not that kind of movie at all. I had to have the opportunity to work with these guys. It was really something that I wanted to get on no matter what.

Samantha Mathis:
I was sent the script and it was an absolute page-turner. I flew through it and was pleased with how everything came together in a way that doesn’t come together. I appreciated the fact that it had a non-Hollywood ending. I was excited to do something different as an actor. I don’t get to do a lot of dramedy or comedy. She’s not overtly comic. She’s a bit of a kook and a nutter butter and I love that. That was fun for me to play. I’m a huge Gaffigan fan. The whole cast that Miranda put together, I think she really put a strong ensemble together. This kid was good to work with, too. I think he’s very talented. He’s very funny.

Logan Miller: Thank you!

I’ve seen a lot of good performances. Did you have time to see other films?
Logan Miller: Unfortunately not. I know that I had a couple friends with here with some other films. I know Shotgun did pretty well. There was one I wanted to see with Joey King.

Summer ’03.
Samantha Mathis: Summer ’03 is supposed to be fantastic.

I loved it. I interviewed them after the film. I saw her last night before the screening.
Logan Miller: She came to ours, which was really great.

Samantha Mathis: Really sweet. She’s outstanding. Sadly, there’s not a lot of time to see a lot of movies.

Logan Miller: Sadly, I have to leave tonight.

What other projects are you working on?
Logan Miller: I have a couple coming out. I have a movie called Love, Simon coming out on March 16th. A movie with Sony called The Maze. I have another Blumhouse movie that’s coming out called Prey. Now I’m just trying to find the next thing. All of them are being released right now. Who knows what’s next?

Samantha Mathis: I just finished a movie that Jason Blum produced. It was originally called All That We Destroy. I think now it’s going to be called Honeycomb and it’s a thriller horror, basically a three-hander. I just finished that a couple weeks ago. I did a pilot for Hulu called Locke and Key but it didn’t get picked up by Hulu. It’s getting shopped around to Amazon and Netflix and Apple and everyone right now. Who knows, maybe that will end up some place.

Is that a Marvel series or am I thinking of something else?
Samantha Mathis:It’s not. It’s Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son. A series of graphic of novels that are very popular dealing with a haunted house. Very popular. We’ll see what happens.

Going back to Love, Simon, what drew you to that film?
Logan Miller: It was the opportunity to tell a very unconventional story and have it out in the open for everyone to see. That was what really drew me and working with Greg Berlanti was amazing. I think he was the only one who could do it the right way. It totally shows. He was such a great talent. Getting to work with everybody. That movie was kind of a lot like this in a way where all of the pieces just kind of worked together. It was one of those movies where you’re excited to be there every day and make something new and original. The social message behind Simon is great. It’s an opportunity to not make a story about a guy and a girl anymore. There’s so may other stories being told. We don’t have to make that conventional love story any more. I tried to get on it as quickly as I did. It’s worked out and it’s going to be great. I can’t wait for people to see it.

I’m trans so it’s nice to see those diverse stories out there with representation. I’m working on a screenplay as it is when awards season and film festivals aren’t keeping me busy.
Logan Miller: It’s great that all of these stories are being told. It doesn’t have to be the conventional old Hollywood tropes anymore. There’s too many stories out there to tell to have the same things over and over.

Samantha Mathis: Thank God. There’s been so a massive sea change the last few years. It’s really exciting.

This film was set in 1992, right?
Samantha Mathis: Yeah.

Your character’s best friend, the scene in the tent!
Logan Miller: Oh, yeah. Absolutely! That’s a completely different time, too. It was great that that’s part of it. That’s the great thing about this movie, too. Everyone’s got their secrets in a way. Even if Jim’s character has the biggest secret of all, I’d say Anna’s character is going through something. She feels a loveless relationship.

Samantha Mathis: Bonnie is in denial about what’s going on. She keeps painting the same thing over and over again because she keeps seeing something there but she’s not sure what it is. She’s not really in touch with what’s going on.

Logan Miller: It’s amazing how we can see the one thing that is revealed then reveals a massive amount of other things, too. It’s the domino effect if you will of pushing one and then all the others fall into place.

Thank you so much for your time.
Samantha Mathis: Thank you.

Logan Miller: Thank you.

You Can Choose Your Family held its world premiere at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival.

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