‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ director comes home

Writer-director Tyler Nilson (left) with co-stars Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen, Shia LaBeouf and writer-director Michael Schwartz. Courtesy The Peanut Butter Falcon

Outer Banks native Tyler Nilson is in town this weekend for local showings of “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” a road-trip tale with a twist he wrote and directed with Michael Schwartz.

The Outer Banks-based film, with showings starting tonight at Manteo’s Pioneer Theatre and R/C Kill Devil Hills Movies 10, features the inclusive casting of Zack Gottsagen, an actor with Down syndrome, in the lead role.

Nilson, who grew up in Colington and graduated from Manteo High School in 2000, will be live in-studio Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. on Beach 104 and 94.5 WCMS. We’ll have live video on the WCMS Facebook page with Nilson talking with morning-show host and former Manteo High School classmate Justin Bateman. The video will also be published later on OBXToday.com.

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R/C Kill Devil Hills will host question-and-answer sessions with Nilson and Schwartz after Friday’s 9:30 p.m. showing and Saturday after the 6:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. shows.

Pioneer Theatre is hosting question-and-answer sessions after the Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m. both nights.

“This community is my heart, and even though we are opening in 1,000 cities this weekend, I’m happy to be coming home to share this moment with my friends and family:)” Nilson said in a Facebook post on the OBX Locals page.

Schwartz and Nilson wrote the film specifically for Gottsagen after they met him at a camp for disabled actors and were inspired by his fierce determination to become a leading man in Hollywood, distributor Roadside Attractions said in a news release.

Described as a modern Mark Twain-style adventure story, Peanut Butter Falcon tells the story of Zak (Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from a residential nursing home to follow his dream of attending the professional wrestling school of his idol, the Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church).

A strange turn of events pairs him on the road with Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a small-time outlaw on the run, who becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find god, catch fish and convince Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), a kind nursing home employee charged with Zak’s return, to join them on their journey. The film also stars Bruce Dern, John Hawkes, Jon Bernthal and Yelawolf.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.

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