In a high brow-low brow collaboration to rock the ages, the trailer for the newest Sean Baker A24 film Red Rocket is here, starring Simon Rex aka Dirty Nasty as Mikey Saber, a washed-up porn star who moves back to his small town Texas hometown.
In the trailer, which is chock-full of gorgeous, moody shots from cinematographer Drew Daniels, who worked on Euphoria and Waves, Rex has to explain a 17-year gap in his resume, get sucker-punched, start hooking up with a much younger girl called “Strawberry,” who someone would enjoy describing as “not like other girls,” played by Suzanna Son and ride a bike down long dirt roads.
But the most important question the trailer brings up is: Is the world ready for a Rex-aissance? This is the first time we’ve seen Dirty Nasty — a real former porn star — in a movie that has its own Wikipedia page in a minute. And while the former MTV VJ’s Scary Movie and co-starring with Amanda Bynes’ What I Like About You days are long gone, Baker knew he wanted him for the role.
Rex told Yahoo News that Baker called him in October 2020 and convinced him to send him an iPhone audition tape with only five minutes to prepare. "I had never met him before but he was, like, 'I've been following your career for a long time and I need you to send me an audition right now on your phone," Rex said. He booked the role and drove to Texas to avoid having to isolate so he could start shooting three days later.
Red Rocket is the latest film to enter the Baker universe, a beautiful, raw, class-conscious, and sometimes gnarly place where colors are saturated and people are down on their luck, but real. (Really real: Baker often casts people he meets on the street to be in his films.) Baker’s debut Tangerine, about transgender sex workers in Los Angeles, was shot entirely on an iPhone, while The Florida Project, follows a young girl and her single mother living on the brink of homelessness in a motel in central Florida.
"Sean does a very good job in all of his films... where there are these 'deplorables' that society doesn't like, but he shines a light on dark subject matter and makes them likeable, real people," Rex told Yahoo.
Red Rocket is in theaters December 3. In the meantime, you can join me in rewatching Eastbound & Down, because who doesn’t love a messy redemption story featuring a formerly successful man who just can’t get his sh*t together? Watch the full trailer for Red Rocket, below.