Interview by Paul Salfen
In Theaters Now
Synopsis: ‘A crime thriller wrapped inside a haunting love story wrapped inside a neo-noir western,’ HARD LUCK LOVE SONG follows Jesse (Michael Dorman), a charismatic but down on his luck troubadour hustling pool in dive bars, living out of cheap motels and making bad decisions. The award-winning feature film debut from writer/director Justin Corsbie is based on the song, “Just Like Old Times” by acclaimed Americana singer/songwriter Todd Snider, and stars Dorman, Sophia Bush, Dermot Mulroney, Brian Sacca, Melora Walters, Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts and hip-hop icon RZA.
Jesse finds himself at an existential crossroads during a chance encounter with Carla (Bush), an old flame, as their complicated past and current troubles threaten to destroy their blissful reunion. HARD LUCK LOVE SONG captures a fractured optimism where characters navigate the choppy waters of life, searching for their ‘own kind of American Dream.’
AUSTIN’S INFLUENCE ON HARD LUCK LOVE SONG: writer/director, Justin Corsbie, grew up in Austin, Texas. He was born in an unairconditioned house in Clarksville and raised by a bohemian poet, single mother — not sure it gets more Austin than that. He spent his childhood at singer/songwriter joints the Alamo Lounge and emmajoe’s, owned by close family friends, watching musicians like Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams, Jerry Jeff Walker, Butch Hancock, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. His mom often read poetry before the musicians performed and became close with many of the singer/songwriters of the 70’s and 80’s. For example, Butch Hancock is the godfather of Justin’s sister and Jimmie Dale Gilmore and his son Colin Gilmore played at Justin’s Austin, TX wedding along with a gang of other local musicians in a multi-day music filled affair. As a kid in the 80’s, Justin spent most of his afternoons and summers skateboarding on the drag, hanging out at Les Amis Cafe, Let’s Go Skate, and Sound Exchange — the inclusion of Daniel Johnston’s song is a nod to those seminal days of his youth. He also spent a lot of time at Liberty Lunch watching punk bands and other 80s & 90’s bands like Glass Eye, The Dead Milkmen, Daniel Johnston, The Butthole Surfers, Black Flag, Ed Hall, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joe Ely, Ween, and The Reverend Horton Heat. He earned a year’s worth of bragging rights in his punk-rock, juvenile delinquent circles by singing on The Dead Milkmen album, Metaphysical Graffiti, produced by Austin musician Brian Beattie. Justin often says he peaked in middle school, and a few years after that peak, he moved to New York to study film at NYU. After college he returned to Austin, TX where he launched the successful commercial production company Synthetic Pictures at the age of 25 with $500 personal seed money. He honed his directing craft, becoming an award winning, internationally recognized commercial director helming spots for high-profile global brands. He went on to study entrepreneurship at MIT and grew the company to include offices in LA & NYC, as well as the flagship office in Austin, TX. For HARD LUCK LOVE SONG, Justin returned to his roots, having grown up around the Austin music scene, creating a love letter to the gritty Americana world he holds near and dear. The film has a unique style and timely themes along with a respectful nod to films, characters, and music from his background.