When Jason Sudeikis and Rebecca Hall first meet in Tumbledown, their characters have only one thing in common: Hannah’s dead husband. Hunter Miles was an acclaimed folk singer who died too young, leaving a grieving widow (Hall) behind to wallow in the remnants of their relationship in rural Maine. Andrew is a pop-culture academic from the city who wants to write the biography that will make Hunter immortal. Their motivations couldn’t be more at odds — at least at first.
Despite getting off on the wrong foot, Hannah and Andrew eventually agree to collaborate on a book, forcing Andrew to put his city life on hold and embed with Hannah in the sticks so they can dissect the genius of Hunter Miles. Romances have sparked over lesser things. But no such maneuvers go unnoticed in Hannah’s small town, especially by the rugged townie (Joe Manganiello) who has his own interest in Hannah. In this exclusive clip (above), Andrew finds himself undercaffeinated and overmatched by the physical brawn of his rival.
Tumbledown was an eight-year odyssey for writer Desi Van Til and her husband, director Sean Mewshaw. “We were dating when Desi first got the idea and started writing scenes, and over the course of trying to make the movie, we —” says Mewshaw, until his wife finishes his sentence, “— got engaged and married, and now we have a 6-year-old and a 1-year-old and a mortgage. Our entire relationship has spanned the creation of this film.”
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The story is also very personal for Van Til, a Maine native who based Hannah’s small hometown on her own upbringing. So Mewshaw knows firsthand what Andrew had to overcome as an outsider. “When we were dating and starting to become serious, he had to sort of be vetted by the whole town,” says Van Til. “Who’s dating whom — everybody has opinions about it. He had to meet all the parents of all my high school friends.”
Did he have to past muster with any of Van Til’s old flames? “I never met a f–k buddy who brought you [wounded] animals [like Joe Manganiello’s character does], although there was a ‘Curtis’ in your life, right?”
“He was a next-door neighbor,” says Van Til. “But sadly, he was not a sex-god.”
Tumbledown opens in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Feb. 5 and expands nationwide and On Demand Feb. 12.