In the mood for a family affair on the big screen? Now in theaters, Sam & Kate is a life-affirming family dramedy starring Oscar-winners Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek — along with their real-life children. The intimate, emotionally charged film takes place in a small town in the heart of the country. Dustin Hoffman plays Bill, the larger-than-life father to Sam (Jake Hoffman), who has returned home to take care of his ailing dad. While home, Sam falls for a local woman, Kate (Schuyler Fisk). And at the same time, Bill starts to fall for her mom, Tina (Spacek). But finding love is complicated — and for these four, it is no different. They all must confront their past in order to make their new love work for the future.
We recently caught up with Schuyler Fisk and Jake Hoffman to hear more about their experiences shooting a film with real-life family members. Read our exclusive interview below.
Working With A Real-Life Parent
MW: What was it like co-starring with a real-life parent — who is also playing your parent in the movie?
Schuyler Fisk: It was great, it was wonderful. I loved it, I cherish it. It was fun working with my mom on so many levels. But I mean, we have this trust, obviously. We’re good friends, so I felt comfortable. I could kind of try anything with her. But also, she’s just an incredible professional, and she’s so in the moment. And I just always felt like I was just reacting to that, and so I felt very present. And then, it was just a lot of fun. It was really fun.
Jake Hoffman: Yeah, the opportunity, the uniqueness, and specialness of the opportunity was never lost on me. But beyond the sort of initial celebratory feeling was also a real trepidation in terms of understanding how difficult a lot of the subject matter was going to be to tackle. And so a lot of the things that made it easier, I think, as an actor made it more difficult as a human.
MW: Given the opportunity, would you guys do another movie with a real-life parent?
Jake Hoffman: I don’t know. You never want to say “never” because it’s a special thing. But also, I feel like it’s a little cute if you do that too often. I’ll tell you this, I’m hoping to work with Schuyler Fisk again because I really loved working with her. And we’re old friends, actually. And she’s fantastic in the movie.
Schuyler Fisk: I want to just put out there that I will work with Jake again. But my mom, I would love to work with her in some capacity, but I don’t think it would be like a mother-daughter thing. It would have to be something so different. Maybe an animated movie, I don’t know. I’d love to do something with her, but I feel like this was the moment for this kind of mother-daughter moment.
Drawing On Personal Experiences
MW: I found both of your characters very relatable, thinking about my own personal experiences with my family. Did either of you draw on any personal experiences to prepare for your roles?
Schuyler Fisk: Yeah, I think there are a lot of things that my mom and I both drew for that particular relationship. And we had a lot of time to talk about that stuff and prepare because the pandemic pushed the shooting off a little bit. So we had extra time, which was really nice to really develop our characters. But yeah, there are a lot of things that we drew from.
Jake Hoffman: “Drawn on” is a fitting way to put it, playing an aspiring artist who draws. And he also sort of deals with a lot of insecurities, and I could relate to a lot of those things.
MW: There are a lot of emotionally charged scenes in this movie, as well as a lot of funny moments. What would you say was your favorite moment on set or your favorite scene to shoot?
Jake Hoffman: I started shooting scenes with my dad more before I got to work with Schuyler, and there’s an emotional intensity interwoven into a lot of those scenes. And then, when Schuyler and I did our first scene together, it was so much fun just trying to make Schuyler laugh. So I loved both, but I was really grateful for sort of like, “Oh wow, this is really fun and less emotionally draining.”
Schuyler Fisk: Yeah, there was a real lightheartedness to a lot of the scenes, especially in the beginning, that Jake and I were filming together, which also mirrored sort of the characters. The stuff that we deal with, with our parents in the film is a lot heavier at times. And our characters are this bright light in each other’s lives. We just, I feel like, bring out the good stuff in each other. So that was nice.
Sam & Kate comes to us from Vertical Entertainment.