You’ve likely seen a lot of David Walton lately, considering he’s the star of the new NBC series About A Boy, but the actor also has a new film which screened at South By Southwest this year called Break Point. In that film he plays Darren, a thirty-something substitute teacher who reunites with his brother Jimmy (Jeremy Sisto) for one last attempt at qualifying for the Open.
I found the movie absolutely hilarious, and think it has a pretty good story too. Both the lead performances are great, as is that of Joshua Rush, who plays one of Darren’s students. It’s easily one of my favorite sports movies from the last few years, and for more reasons why, you should definitely check out my full review.
Walton was at SXSW for the premiere, and I had a chance to sit down with him and chat about the film. We discussed his history with tennis, how it was working with Sisto, what working on About A Boy has been like and much more.
Check out the full interview below!
WGTC: Who’s the better tennis player, you or Jeremy?
Walton: I think Jeremy looks like a better tennis player, but in our rare one-on-one battles I have been victorious.
WGTC: Had you played a lot before the movie?
Walton: Yeah, I love tennis. I’ve played it my whole life. Loved it since the age of three. I had an injury, so from the age of 13 to 24 I didn’t play much. Then when I moved out to LA there were so many tennis courts that I rekindled the love. So for the last ten years or so, I’ve played fairly regularly. I absolutely love it.
The idea of doing a tennis movie is truly unbelievable to me. Well first of all, they don’t really exist. Then to have it be something that you love so much is so special and fun.
WGTC: Did that play into your motivation? The fact that there aren’t really any notable tennis movies.
Walton: Yeah, I mean it’s kind of cool. If you can make something work. You kind of always want to be those people where they’re like, “Why didn’t we think of that?” I think the movie does it. Sports movies are a genre that I really respond to, but they can be done really poorly and really fall short. The good ones are just so good and inspiring and make you feel good.
I think this one is special. First of all, it’s a lot funnier than any sports movie I think I’ve seen. Maybe Slapshot, but that was a little different. But it doesn’t lose any of the warmth and inspiration and power that a sports movie has the potential to portray. I think it’s sort of a genre-bending movie in a really cool way.
WGTC: What you said there is very true. Sports movies have that stigma of being cliche a lot of the time. How do you think Break Point avoided that?
Walton: I think in the end it’s really not about the sport. It’s really a story about two brothers who have a deep rift based on a very traumatic experience of losing their mother at a young age. It’s the kind of redemptive, incredibly relatable story of family coming back together. I think almost anybody who has a family or has a brother can hook into the complexity and the power of brothers loving each other. When you add competing with each other and trying to achieve the same goal, there’s something really special about it.
So really, tennis is just that catalyst for that coming together of family. That’s what the story is about.