The last time actor Luke Wilson was in Florida, he learned just how much security clearance one can earn with the right outfit.
He was working on his short film, “Satellite Beach,” which follows his character, Warren Flowers, as — much to the bewilderment of police, press and other officials — he orchestrates the intricate transportation of the Endeavor space shuttle through the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center, as well as the Atlantis space shuttle to its final home at the Kennedy Space Center.
Wilson wrote and co-directed the film with his brother, Andrew, and the two filmed the movie on the fly during the actual shuttle transportations. Gaining security clearance for some of the shots proved to be a logistical challenge — but not impossible.
“With a clipboard and a tie, you can do just about anything,” says Wilson with a laugh. “I just kept thinking, ‘We’re going to get in trouble.’”
Wilson screened the film Friday, Jan. 31, for students at the Ringling College of Art and Design, as part of the college’s Digital Filmmaking Studio Lab.
The film marks the second project he’s written himself and co-directed with his brother, Andrew. After acting in so many successful cult films, Wilson says the transition into writing and directing is something he’s enjoyed and hopes to be able to do more of.
“I’ve always enjoyed writing,” says Wilson. “I always used my brother as an example, because I always liked his writing. And, as an actor, you do have a lot of time on your hands, and I think it’s important to be productive. “Satellite Beach” was fun, because I’d written a couple scripts and had difficulty getting them off the ground, so I thought I’d try something a little more grassroots that I could make myself with my friends.”
Wilson stayed after the screening for a Q&A session with students and guests, during which he complimented the students’ focus and the quality of their work, which he saw on his campus tour. He even obliged one fan by signing his “Royal Tenenbaums” poster and was a good sport when one audience member mentioned the shirtless pictures of him she’d found on Google.
“This school really is incredible,” he told the audience. “I’ve never been somewhere like this.”