‘Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland’ Celebrates New York Premiere

The NYC premiere of Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland at Sunshine Cinema in NYC was nothing short of exciting.

For anyone who is a fan of the popular Netflix series turned film, the movie is bigger, better, and, as actress Lindsey Sporrer tells us, “the TV series on steroids.”

The Knockturnal got to chat with the actors, producers, and writers of the film, such as Alan Ritchson, Chris “Romanski” Romano, Ed Marinaro, and Lindsey Sporrer. These guys are as hilarious in person as they are in the film.

The film raised 1.9 million from 23,999 backers on Kickstarter. At the end of the film, everyone who contributed was credited, which is just awesome. After the screening, the guys explained how thankful they are to the fans, and talked about their favorite episodes of the popular series.

Actor, writer, producer, and total heart throb Alan Ritchson opened up to us about playing Thad, and his favorite part about the whole process. Check it out:

So, Alan, what’s been the most rewarding part of playing Thad?

A: The most rewarding part? I would say knowing that [Thad] has touched a lot of lives for better or worse, you know? He’s an icon to a lot of fans and it feels really special to be rewarded with that. But yeah, I don’t know, we set out to do this to entertain people, and he’s become an icon which is cool.
Do you relate to Thad?
A: I get asked the question a lot whether or not our personal lives are alike…I don’t think I could be more different than Thad (chuckles). But I think what he is to me is – it’s me with zero filters. If I could unapologetically live my life the way he does, which is reckless, and you know, selfish, I think I would be Thad. So playing that is so much fun for those few moments when the camera is rolling because I’ve given myself permission to just drop the filters. Whatever comes into my head is what I get to say. It’s a lot of fun to do that, but I don’t think we are anything alike.
Can we expect anything different from Thad in the film?
A: I think so far all the reviews can agree with this: it’s pretty Thad-tastic (chuckles). It’s like classic Thad in his finest form. It was really scary for me stepping back into this role though, because being on netflix the popularity of the show exploded partly because of Thad, and there is this notion of who he is. When that starts to culminate in peoples imagination there is this “expectation” that he should behave like they think he should behave. That’s scary for me because, you know, I don’t know if whatever choice I make is gonna be good enough to live up to the notion people have of who he is. So it was kind of terrifying going back at it because I don’t know if I can live up to the hype. But it seems to be going really well, so I’m relieved.
Were you excited that you guys raised 1.9 million on kickstarter and did you expect that sort of success?
A: I was excited to raise that much! The last two years this project has consumed every inch of my life, and I realized the strings that are attached to that. But still at the end of the day, I’m grateful that the fans poured their own time and money into the making of this film as much as ours. So I’m grateful but yeah, it was approving ground for us too because we can’t measure the netflix audience. So when we put the kickstarter up we were all sort of holding our breath, kind of like, “Are we gonna get embarrassed and laughed out?” and then we met and exceeded the goal. It sort of proved to us that our instinct was right. There’s an audience that wants to see more BMS.
What was it like writing for the film? If you have to choose what is your favorite artistic process, writing or acting?
A: Writing for the film was a BLAST. I approached the guys about joining them, and there was no need for me to join them in that aspect of that because they are so talented and experienced they don’t need my help. But I wanted to put my fingerprint on it and I felt like because of my understanding of who Thad was, and who he’d become, I could contribute in a way that no one really could. The fact that they agreed and let me join them in that was flattering, and I was honored to get really serious. I like the contributions I had but I was really there to support them in what they were doing. It’s been doing extremely well, we are right in front of a Steven Spielberg film, you know? So it’s hard to wrap your head around that – that there are people taking a liking to that. I would actually say neither – the acting and writing are amazing and fun, but the producing to me was the best part because it’s impossible to describe just how challenging it is. It’s all consuming I’m the guy working 20 to 21 hour days, you know, before shooting and after. But at the same time it’s like, you grow this thing from nothing and see fans enjoy it. There is nothing so rewarding and so challenging, so I feel like I was built for that, and that’s what I wanna do forever.
Later, we caught up with actress Lindsey Sporrer. Here is what she had to say about the film:
How has it been being a part of the film and the successful TV series? Did you expect this amount of success?
L: It’s been amazing! I am blown away by the fans – they’re incredible. I could not expect a better fan base!  I’ve been so excited to meet everyone, and it just makes it easier to be an actress when you know that people want to see what you’re making, and that they’re excited for it! It’s been a fun process.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of this for you as an actor?
L:  There are so many kick starters who believe in this so much and the fact that they’ve been willing to put their own money into the film…meeting them on set has been awesome. You get to find out that like, they paid money to be there and they care so much about it, and I’m just grateful for that.
Is there anything fans can expect from this film that is different from the TV series?
L: It is the TV series on steroids. Everything is heightened and it is amazing. It is epic I couldn’t even believe it. I saw the first cut and was like “Wow! This is good.” Now seeing the final cut I’m just so happy with everything. The guys are equally funny on camera as they are off camera. Last night we went to a dinner until three in the morning and I could not stop laughing! They have the best stories ever – so crazy I could not stop laughing. I asked them the question, “What is the most injured you guys have ever gotten on set?” They were like, “Oh, let me take this one! I heard some crazy ones.”
Do you have any crazy stories from set?
L: My favorite day on set was the day I got to be in the mojito hotel! I was there all day long, and it was freezing and I was basically in, you know, no clothes at all, (chuckles) and the hot tub was HOT. It was incredible! I still don’t know how production did that but it was the best treat ever. It was like a spa day… I came out all pruned and wrinkly…it was nice though. It was better in the first scene because it was fresh water, but then at the end scene it’s disgusting and brown because its the after party. It was still really fun. I’m a farm girl, so I think that kind of thing is fun. I basically grew up in a pond.
When did you decide to be an actor?
L: Goodness, it kind of found me actually. I decided to run for Ms. LA to raise money for ALS because my mom had Lou Gehrig’s disease. I decided to raise money for it and I won! Then when I was competing for Ms. California in the audience, there were the two casting directors for 20th century Fox and they approached me afterwards and said, “We would love for you to come in and read for us – we think you should be an actress.”
I was blown away. I went in and I didn’t even believe it. They were like, “Come to Fox on Tuesday and your name will be on the guest list.” So I drive up not even believing it, and from there that’s how I started acting. They got me representation and from there it’s been a dream. It’s been wonderful. Donna Isaacson is the person that brought me in and I wrote her this very long email thanking her, because she’s the reason why I do this.
Have you ever thought about writing or producing?
L: Absolutely. I would love to write and produce with Eric Falconer – he’s amazing and I admire him so much. He actually had a great idea for a show for me and I want to develop it with him, so we’ll see!  It’s highly on the DL but could be super fun.
Is there anything you can tell us?
L: We’ve had about seven meetings already and the basic premise is: it’s a robin hood character who is a goody goody, and does everything that she can to try and save her sorority, but her efforts are in vain. It’s a comedy so it would be a lot of fun.
Chris Romano, who plays Sammy and helped write and produce the film, gave us some insight.
Were there any actors apart from the ones in the original Netflix series added to the film?
C: In addition, absolutely. There’s a guy named Jimmy Tatro who is a big star right now, who came on to play this character “Dickdawg” and he’s really f—king funny in the movie. Yeah, he plays Thad’s assistant and cousin. He was a big add. Lindsey Sporrer who plays Holly who is in the movie as well and she was amazing too. So yeah we had some great great people, I’m forgetting some names too, but we had like five or six new people that were amazing.
Is there anything you want viewers to take away from the film?
C: Yeah we want them to go “We want more.” We want them to watch and go, “Oh, it’s not done.” Because it’s a little bit open-ended at the end.
So you could see a sequel happening?
C: Yeah, sequel or maybe a prequel. Oh yeah, we left room for way more things from BMS. Even to go as far as the TV show as well…so maybe we bring back the TV show for a fourth season.
Were there any differences in writing the film compared to the series?
C: Yeah, it was a lot harder to begin the film because the TV show in Eric and our minds has sort have been dead for so long. So it’s sort of like resurrecting a dead person, really. Giving it new life. And basically by doing that we were like we need to push the boundaries even further than the TV show, which we already thought was like, kinda crazy, so yeah. And we were able to do that because everything that we wrote, we shot. So like in TV everything you write, you get noted, and people are like “Eh you can’t show this on TV.” But with this, we wrote what we wanted to write, and shot what we wanted to shoot like all of it made it into the movie. there wasn’t one thing that someone said “You can’t do that,” which was major for us. Did you see the movie? You’ll see. There are some parts where you’ll be like, “Oh they probably shouldn’t have shot that.” It’s insane.
What do you think makes this such a big success?
C: I really feel like it’s the fans. For me growing up, I wanted to watch a show I could escape into. I think that’s what this show is it’s sort of escapism TV . There’s so much going on in the world right now that it’s kind of fun to just sit down and watch a fun movie. If you wanna watch a show that is really saying something – that’s not ours. We just want to have fun, and show people you can still have fun and do things you wanna do. Hopefully people that watch this movie will go, “I wanna be at THAT party, talking to that girl or that guy, drinking THAT drink.” That’s what we want people to take away from BMS.
Ed Marinaro, former NFL player turned actor who plays Coach Marty in the series and film talked with us about his involvement in the film as well.
What has been the most rewarding part of being involved in the film?
E: The film is somewhat sort of a validation for what we thought was a really good show. We had a great cult following, so we knew we had something special. When the show went to Netflix, it got a whole new audience. People were discovering for the first time how popular it’s gotten, and our Kickstarter campaign, which was hugely successful. It’s really great. Personally, for a guy who has been around as long as I have, to have a new fan base of all these young guys and girls is really cool.
What has it been like playing Coach Marty? Do you relate to him at all?
E: Yeah! I mean, I was in sports for most of my career or a good part of my life. I was able to draw on experiences I had playing football and being around my coaches. It was an asset, if you will, in playing the role. But it’s all about the writing. They wrote some great, fun stuff. It’s great to do comedy. More fun than drama. You have to make your fun when you’re doing drama, but not with comedy.
I was telling these guys the only thing we could do is disappoint people by doing a movie. But I think we have done something really great that our fans are gonna love, and I think we have a future doing another movie or two to keep the franchise going. But people love the show and that’s why they wanna see more. So we gave them more.
Are there any similarities between what you bring to athletics and to acting?
I started acting 35 years ago, when I retired from the NFL. I was asked that question 35 years ago, and I haven’t been asked that in a long time (chuckles). Because I’m so far removed from sports obviously. But there’s a discipline that you need as an actor, and in any profession, that you develop as an athlete. If you’re a good athlete, you have to have a certain amount of focus. I think my athletic career honed that. It was good training ground when I did move to Hollywood. Hollywood’s all about luck: being in the right place at the right time, and taking advantage of any opportunity. That goes back to my athletic career, when coaches would say, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” When you get the opportunity – you better be prepared.
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