You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

breaking news

Waffle House co-founder dies a month after his partner

A backstage view of ‘Here Comes Rusty,’ premiering at Atlanta Film Fest


Stealing a scene from Billy Bob Thornton in the 1996 Academy Award-winning film “Sling Blade” may be enough cinematic bragging rights for some. For actor and jam band elder statesman Col. Bruce Hampton — call him the Southern Zappa — it’s just another stripe on the proverbial uniform.

Now 20 years later, Hampton continues to put down the guitar long enough to periodically pop up in front of the camera. With the feature flick “Here Comes Rusty” premiering at the Atlanta Film Festival, Hampton slides into the starring role, leading the troops, including acclaimed funny man Fred Willard and actress Joey Lauren Adams.

“Here Comes Rusty” finds Hampton as Dicky St. Jon, a dog track owner looking to leave his troubles in the dust. So he makes a massive wager with Mak (Willard), a shifty used car salesman with a penchant for gaudy Western garb.

“Rusty” also drops Hampton into his natural element: the concert stage. Dicky and the Dinosaurs, Hampton’s band in the film, features the flashy fretwork of 12-year-old guitar prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. Hampton’s knack for sniffing out tomorrow’s rock stars today — Derek Trucks, Oteil Burbridge (the Allman Brothers Band) and others— rings true once again with Niederauer, who’s currently wielding his ax on Broadway in “School of Rock.” In fact, Niederauer will join Hampton and a new incarnation of the Dinosaurs onstage after Sunday night’s screening and post-film Q&A for a separate concert event.

Before suiting up for the big premiere, Hampton spoke about the comedic magic of Fred Willard, discovering Niederauer and stepping into the leading man spotlight with “Rusty.”

On how he became involved with “Here Comes Rusty”:

“We get two or three calls a year about being in a movie. They’re usually from borderline people, nut job stuff. It’s always in Saskatchewan or somewhere, and I just don’t feel it. But (one of the ‘Here Comes Rusty’ filmmakers) called and said, ‘I’m from Arkansas and I’m a farmer. Would you like to star in this movie?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ I knew immediately that I was supposed to be in it, whether it be good, bad or ugly. I could feel it in my back. They came here in February of 2015. We met, and I saw the script. I said, ‘This thing’s great. I really like this.’ They got Fred Willard, Joey Lauren Adams and a bunch of other great actors in it: Theo Crane and the great Paulie Litt. We shot it in about three weeks in Mobile, Ala., where they have avocado sandwiches. It was an incredible crew, and it just flowed real well.”

On working with Fred Willard:

“He’s a giant. It’s like working with Lou Gehrig or Willie Mays. … Fred is just a consummate professional. He knew every line and just didn’t make any mistakes. … He’s in his 70s, and the temperature was 100 degrees and the humidity felt like 300. We were all getting hot and tired, and he just kept on going. He wanted to do more and was so childlike it was inspiring. … Nobody comes close to his comedic timing. I’ve never seen anyone with the subtlety he has. It’s just absolute genius. I put him on the Jonathan Winters, Groucho Marx level. He’s one of the all-time greats. He just doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.”

On Brandon “Taz” Niederauer:

“I was (helping teach) a class on the Jam Cruise a couple of years ago. Brandon was in the audience, and he was 9 or 10 years old. I heard him play, and he sounded so good it was unbelievable. … Now he’s in ‘School of Rock’ on Broadway. They’re extending it through November. He was on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,’ and Jane Fonda fell in love with him. He stole that show. And he was in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He’s a great guy, has amazing intent and an ear like nobody. He’s more than a prodigy. … He’s hopping a plane right after his show on Broadway and coming right here to play our show.”

On film vs. music:

“Film isn’t immediate. Music is in the moment. You either capture it or you don’t. With film, you can cheat, lie and do 40 takes until you get it right. A good editor can make you look good or bad. It’s a whole different thing, and I like them both. Film’s just another discipline. You sit around for eight hours, then all of a sudden you’re in the NBA finals.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Author Jenny Han in Atlanta to promote new book in ‘Lara Jean’ series
Author Jenny Han in Atlanta to promote new book in ‘Lara Jean’ series

Jenny Han broke ground with the Song family, a close trio of half-Korean sisters who work hard to support each other after the death of their mother. Now the family is back with “Always and Forever, Lara Jean,” which tells the story of the lovable middle sister as her senior year in high school comes to an end and she still holds a big...
One of the Kardashian sisters reportedly hasn’t spoken to Caitlyn Jenner in nearly two years
One of the Kardashian sisters reportedly hasn’t spoken to Caitlyn Jenner in nearly two years

Caitlyn Jenner claims she hasn’t spoken to her stepdaughter Khloé Kardashian in nearly two years. The former Olympian opened up to Andy Cohen on his “Radio Andy” show on SiriusXM. “She doesn’t want to talk to me,” Jenner said. “She hasn’t talked to me in, like, two years.” She continued...
Atlanta named one of the best cities for new graduates seeking work
Atlanta named one of the best cities for new graduates seeking work

Graduation season is around the corner, which means it’s time to put that degree to work.  Many graduates have little to tie them to any particular place, so they can choose to start their careers where jobs are available. But which cities have the most jobs?  Data provided by Monster, the employment website, show the best and worst...
Bill Paxton remembered at premiere of final film ‘The Circle’
Bill Paxton remembered at premiere of final film ‘The Circle’

The director of the new tech drama “The Circle,” starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, remembered actor Bill Paxton at the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday. Paxton, who played Watson’s father, had a small role in the movie, his last before his death at 61 after heart surgery in February...
More Stories