Did you know that scrap metal is America’s 4th largest export? Well, Hollis Wallace does, and he makes his quiet living trolling the back alleys of Seattle looking for cast-off copper, aluminum and other valuable metals. Hollis uses all the tricks of the metal scrapping trade to earn his living and navigate through a fascinating and rowdy world that few pay any attention to.

Hollis’s only friend is his ailing mother, and his only drive in life is to collect enough scrap to take care of her. But his routine and isolation are disrupted when he has a strange encounter with teenage runaway Swan in the basement of an unhinged neighbor. They end up forming a scrapping partnership that almost borders on a friendship, before the forces in their lives threaten to destroy their new bond completely.

SCRAPPER is a witty drama that stars Michael Beach (Third Watch, Soul Food, Sons of Anarchy) as Hollis, a quiet man with a keen grasp on his trade and no grasp at all on his personal life. Newcomer Anna Giles plays Swan, the train-hopping, dumpster-diving 18 year old who awakens a paternal instinct in Hollis and threatens to change his stubborn antisocial ways. Aidan Gillen (Game Of Thrones, The Wire) plays Ray, an unusual guy with unusual hobbies who doesn’t take kindly to Hollis intruding on his life.

About The Production

In 2009 Brady Hall was conducting a one-man, full-scale renovation of his house. As the large pile of cast-off materials from the process grew, so did the instances of scruffy men in pickup trucks stopping by to ask for scrap metal. He began to ask a question few people do: “Who were these guys, and what were their lives like?”

After enlisting the help of writer/producer Ed Dougherty, they developed the character of Hollis Wallace while using an unexpected template. As Dougherty explains, “we really clung to this idea that he should be like a samurai in a Kurosawa film, or Ryan Gosling in DRIVE – someone who is infinitely skilled in one area, yet lacking in almost all of the others.”

Merging aspects from both of their lives, they wrote a script that featured unique characters, unorthodox plot movements and an infusion of fantasy through dream sequences. Dougherty had just started the micro-studio Grinning Man Media Group with Tarek Kutrieh, and knew that Hall was the perfect director for their first feature – a filmmaker trained to be quick and cheap, who knew how to work with miniscule budgets from his work on countless book trailers.

Made for only $50,000, from the pockets of both GMMG and Hall himself, they had to get creative with the casting. When approaching actors through agents proved impossible, they contacted Michael Beach via Facebook message. Dougherty had worked with – and more importantly – gotten drunk with Gillen many times and was able to rope him into the production. He’d bought weed from Joanna Angel when they were both teenagers. Hall discovered Anna Giles through mutual friends. Dougherty was able to rope Blanchard into it with the promise of the producer arranging a romantic weekend with her boyfriend in return.

Production began in Seattle in August 2012. Michael Beach – who had never worked on a micro-budget film before – at first wondered what he’d gotten into. “Who are you Seattle kids?”, he kept asking. By the end of the shoot, he ended up extending his stay so he could attend the wrap party.

Gillen had to sneak away from the Game of Thrones set, and the many fans who approached him were told not to tweet or post about it online. Almost all of them did anyway, and Dougherty and Hall were forced to spend many an evening begging people to take photos off the Internet. Hall explains: “I’ve been around famous people before, but Aidan, in Seattle – I’ve never seen someone get approached so much. Hipsters really love Game of Thrones.” 

The film was shot on a RED One by cinematographer Connor Hair with production lasting a short 13 days. As in any indie film, there were many intense moments, such as when Anna Giles was nearly buried alive during the shooting of the first dream sequence. But, as Hall remembers: “a laugh was had by all after she stopped coughing up dirt. She got the last laugh, though, by leaving said dirt all over my newly renovated bathroom.” 

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