WILSON TALKS IMPROVISING NEW AWARD-WINNING SHORT “SATELLITE BEACH”

Michael Barnes from The Austin Movie blog sits down to with Luke Wilson and Steve Eckelman of ‘Satellite Beach

They chose a well-worn corner of Güero’s Taco Bar on South Congress Avenue for the chat. Luke Wilson and Steve Eckelman were familiar with the menu and the staff. Austin resident Eckelman employs the eatery as “an office away from the office,” while frequent visitor Wilson has long enjoyed its South Congress vibe.

“I’ve known Steve since I was 9,” says the youngest of Hollywood’s Wilson brothers, who grew up in Dallas. “He was in school with my brother Andrew and was one of those guys who didn’t know that a senior in high school is not usually friends with somebody in fifth grade.”

Eckelman — thin, fair, precise — has worked as a personal assistant on various Wilson-related movies. He produced with Wilson — stolid, funny, a bit shaggy today — “Satellite Beach,” a short that follows the Endeavour space shuttle on its last journey through the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center and the transfer of the Atlantis space shuttle to the Kennedy Space Center. It screens 8:30 Friday at Spider House.

Before that, Wilson will emcee the Texas Film Awards at Austin Studios on Thursday.

The longtime friends are also working on “Juarez 9,” an Wilson-penned action comedy set in Mexico, and then “Tower,” a documentary based on the Charles Whitman shootings at the University of Texas in 1966, inspired by Pam Colloff’s article in Texas Monthly.

Wilson got the idea for “Satellite Beach” from an article in the Los Angeles Times about how the Endeavor would piggyback on a 747, land at LAX, then travel very slowly 11 or 12 miles through the urban streets to the science center. Eight hundred trees were removed to make way for the behemoth.

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