Augustine Frizzell directed Never Goin' Back.EXPAND
Augustine Frizzell directed Never Goin' Back.
Danny Gallagher

Dallas' Augustine Frizzell Will Work With Ryan Reynolds on Her Next Project

Writer and director Augustine Frizzell is riding high on the critical success of her first feature film Never Goin' Back that got its Texas opening Friday at The Magnolia theater. And it's nothing like she imagined.

"It's so funny because before you're at this point, you envision what this feels like and I've seen my husband [director David Lowry] have this experience," she says while sitting in a booth at the Spiral Diner behind a massive plate of black bean nachos that she generously offers to anyone who sits across from her. "So in my mind, it seems like one thing, but now that it's happening, it's just another thing."

She never had the naive thought that it would be all red carpets and expensive premiere parties. She says the experience is more emotional than she expected.

"I thought it would be all confidence and pride and just this feeling of accomplishment, and what I realize is that there is some of that, but there's also a mixture of great contemplation and thinking about the thing you did and seeing people's reactions to it," Frizzell says. "It's exhilarating because people respond so beautifully and they write me letters and tell me what it means to them and so it's like emotional on that, that I realize I hit a nerve with a lot of people. And on the other hand, there's the people who just hate it and they're so angry. So when I think about that, I think about how grateful I am that I like it and I made choices within that, that thank God I made those choices that are true to me and keep me warm when people come with their criticisms."

The most fulfilling response has been the words of thanks for female fans who helped them own their less-than-lower than lower middle-class childhoods.

"Women are writing and saying this was my experience as a young woman with a female friendship and I've never seen it represented that way on screen or addressed in a way that wasn't labeling it and how they feel recognized. I've had some women come up to me and say I grew up in a dysfunctional household and I had a lot of experiences in my youth that I'm ashamed of and I try and hide them now and I've gone to do great things in my life so I don't talk about that part of my life. One woman, in particular, was like, 'Thank you for owning that part of your life and owning your story because I haven't had the confidence to do that and I would just shove it in a bag.'"

The film tells the story of two best friends, Angela, played by Maia Mitchell, and Jessie, played by Camila Morrone, who are stuck in a dead-end Dallas diner as waitresses. They try to find a scheme to get enough money for the rent and get away from their brainless roommates, who botch insane robbery schemes, and pervy sandwich store owners. Never Goin' Back is based on Frizzell's life growing up on the meaner streets of Dallas.

"It's almost 100 percent true except I never shit in a bucket," Frizzell says.

Maia Mitchell (left) and Cami Morrone star in Never Goin' Back, the raunchy teen comedy from director Augustine Frizzell that's "almost 100 percent" autobiographical even though she admits that she "never shit in a bucket."EXPAND
Maia Mitchell (left) and Cami Morrone star in Never Goin' Back, the raunchy teen comedy from director Augustine Frizzell that's "almost 100 percent" autobiographical even though she admits that she "never shit in a bucket."
courtesy Augustine Frizzell

Never Goin' Back showcases the sweetness of Angela and Jessie's friendship and struggles while punctuating the story with dialogue presented with lightning-fast wit and some hilarious gross-out jokes in the tradition of comedies like National Lampoon's Animal House and Caddyshack. The big difference is the characters doing the gross-outs are women.

"I've almost never seen females being raunchy," Frizzell says. "In fact, I couldn't find any reference for young teen girls who are being gross-out raunchy with the exception of maybe Bridesmaids."

Why is that? Frizzell says. "Honestly, I just don't know.

"I think we have a certain societal standard for what's acceptable for women and I think that a lot of people, even with my film, they're just trying to act like guys," she says. "You're putting girls in guy roles and that's not fresh. I'm not putting girls in guy roles. This is who I am. This was me as a teenager. This is truthful to my experience. It's not truthful to everybody's experience."

She also just wanted to make a raunchy comedy that could speak to women, because it's her favorite genre.

"It was wanting to tell my story in a genre that I love and hadn't seen people like me represented before so I adore stoner comedies," Frizzell says. "I adore gross-out humor. It makes me laugh. It turns my brain off at the end of a difficult day. I don't go home and watch reality TV. I watch comedies I've seen time and time again that make me laugh and make me stop thinking about the horrific world we're living in. So when I set out to make a movie, that's the genre I chose."

Thanks to the buzz her film has been producing since it premiered at Sundance, Frizzell will get another chance to make an R-rated stoner comedy with Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds, who is also producing the project. Deadline reported last month that Frizzell will direct Reynolds in the adult comedy Stoned Alone about a 20-year-old pothead who misses his chance to go on a weekend ski trip and decides to just stay at home and get totally baked. Paranoia sets in and makes him think his house is infested with burglars, but when they turn out to be real, he decides to defend his home Home Alone style.

"I got the script for Stoned Alone and I just loved it," Frizzell says. "I laughed harder than I've laughed in years from start to finish. I'm also a huge Home Alone fan, so the fact that it's in that same world made me excited. It's a Christmas movie I would watch time and time again."

Of course, she had nothing but glowing things to say about her next film's star because he's Ryan Frickin' Reynolds and she looks forward to shooting it soon.

"He's really smart, has great ideas and is the nicest human being on the planet," Frizzell says. "I've never met a Canadian I didn't love, so he's fantastic."

Comedy may be Frizzell's favorite, but she says she also wants to explore other genres and has some scripts she's reviewing that could also find their way on her to-do list soon.

"It's super fun," she says. "It's like a comedy on set and you're working with funny people, and when you get together with the writers to brainstorm, you're laughing every minute. There are other projects that are in the works for me that are very dramatic that I want to explore. I have a whole range of things I want to explore. I like things that are sincere, so I don't know that everyone sees the sincerity in my film. There are some who do, but I just love things that are emotionally sincere."

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