Would you like to see a movie called “Balls Out” — starring Jake Lacy, “Saturday Night Live” cast members Jay Pharoah and Kate McKinnon, “Twilight” star Nikki Reed, Beck Bennett and Nick Kocher and Brian McElhaney — in a theater?
You can do so starting Friday, when the Austin-shot comedy about college intramural sports (flag football specifically) opens at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar for three days and iPic for seven days.
Do you prefer to see it in the privacy of your own home, what with it being called “Balls Out” and all?
You can do that as well, since “Balls Out” is what they call a day and date movie, meaning it is hitting the theaters (about 12 across the country) at the same time it’s available for online streaming.
From the script to the locations to the creative talent, “Balls Out,” shot in 2013, is a largely Austin-based production: Writer Bradley Jackson, producers Andrew Lee, David Ward and Russell Wayne Groves, as well as cast members Kirk Johnson, Will Elliott and Sam Eidson are all Austin-based.
(The director, Andrew Disney, hails from Fort Worth; his comic neo-noir movie “Searching for Sonny” played at the Austin Film Festival in 2011.)
Bradley Jackson is a UT RTF graduate, class of 2007, and, oddly enough, he drafted the earliest version of “Balls Out” (the title of which was “Intramural” until very recently) as an undergrad.
“It was the first feature script I had ever written,” Jackson said from Los Angeles (he splits his time between Austin and Hollywood). Yes, the first feature script he had ever written became his first feature film.
“I wanted to do a sports comedy,” Jackson said. “Every few years I would take another look at it.”
He met Disney at AFF, after seeing “Searching for Sonny.”
“I thought that movie was just so great,” Jackson says. Disney signed on; shooting took place in 2013, with the production running a Kickstarter for some completion funds and a second camera for the football scenes.
“Balls Out” (then called “Intramural”) premiered last year at the Tribeca Film Festival, was acquired by MGM and was promptly retitled “Balls Out” and suddenly, a goofy sports comedy about dorks looks much raunchier than it actually is.
Indeed, the comedy commentary website
Ssplitsider.com’s story featured the headline “This Movie Full of ‘SNL’ Folks Got the Worst Rebranding Ever” and quotes cast member Nick Kocher as writing on his Tumblr: “(The marketing makes) the movie seem less clever and appeal to the lowest common denominator.”
Jackson declined to comment on the rebranding.
In addition to developing new projects, Jackson also has a children’s Christmas book (“well, a middle-grade novel, a bit like ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ ”) coming out in September called “The Naughty List.” Co-written with “Over the Hedge” creator Michael Fry, “The Naughty List” concerns a child trying to get off Santa’s legendary document.