Director/writer Elijah Bynum’s debut feature Hot Summer Nights excels as a seductive visual feast (imagine if Goodfellas was set in 1991 Cape Cod and centered on a group of troubled youths). The good news is the story is also on point, and in the video below Bynum and actors Maika Monroe and Alex Roe talk about the movie’s immersive visual language.
Inspired by a true story, Hot Summer Nights centers on Daniel Middleton (Timothée Chalamet), a teen who’s understandably reeling after his father’s death. Sent to Cape Cod for a summer stay with his aunt, Daniel becomes fast friends with Hunter Strawberry (Alex Roe), a guy makes his share of cash selling weed. Their union turns into a business partnership, as their weed business thrives to unheard of levels. Maika Monroe co-stars as McKayla, a woman who immediately catches Daniel’s eye (and eventual heart). McKayla is Hunter’s sister, and though they’re estranged, Hunter is very overprotective of his sibling. With Hurricane Bob just around the corner, this 1991 coming of age set tale verges towards darker territories.
But that’s simply the plotline. Hot Summer Nights, especially if you love watching fluid camera work and inspired compositions (not to mention an excellent use of muse), actually demands a second viewing. During my interview with Elijah Bynum, Roe, and Monroe, I asked them about the visual aesthetic of Hot Summer Nights.
Maika Monroe and Alex Roe on working amidst, what one would assume, would be a different style of filmmaking with Hot Summer Nights:
Director/writer Elijah Bynum on the use of storyboards on Hot Summer Nights and also gaining insight from the actors:
I also asked the trio to name a favorite film as part of the CinemAddicts “Movie Love” segment, and I’ll focus on that in another post.
Hot Summer Nights, co-starring Thomas Jane and Maia Mitchell, opens in theaters July 27 via A24.