Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins Talk Going Off the Grid in 'Walking Out'

Stanislav Honzik/IFC Films
Josh Wiggins and Matt Bomer in 'Walking Out'

The film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, opens in Los Angeles and several other markets Friday.

For Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins, who star together in Walking Out, there's something about nature that forges human connections.

The film, which had its debut at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, follows an estranged father (Bomer) and son (Wiggins), who are forced to rely on one another to survive an unforgiving wilderness in Montana. The movie, which is directed by Alex Smith and Andrew J. Smith, also features Bill Pullman. 

"I grew up in a home that embraced outdoorsmanship as a form of male bonding, so that type of language and shared space was something that I understood from the time I was a little kid," Bomer tells The Hollywood Reporter, who called from the set of his directorial debut, an episode in the forthcoming American Crime Story: Versace. (Of the latter, he couldn't give away any plot details but did praise the cast and crew, calling the experience "an unbelievable honor.")

Hunting and the unrelenting winter landscape of Montana factor heavily into the film — so much so that they almost act as their own characters — and serve as catalysts to renew the bond between father and son. 

"I think when you're in an open space and you have a shared activity and a shared objective, but you have the breadth of an open space around you, it allows you to relax and really connect," Bomer says.

Wiggins, who hails from Houston, Texas — and says he's been dove hunting a few times "but is not as much a typical Texan" when it comes to hunting — agrees. "I think when you're out in nature you're so much more dependent on yourself and the people that you're with that it really brings out a bond with everyone that's in that situation," the actor explains. 

Bomer's character, Cal, lives a very simple life, devoid of such modern conveniences as a cell phone or computer, something the actor says he doesn't think he could do. "The big sky country and the people [in Montana] are wonderful, but I don't think I could ever be quite as off the grid as Cal is," he says, laughing.

In a particularly touching moment in the film, Cal tells his son, David, that he just wants to be understood. When asked if he, as a father, can relate, Bomer says he doesn't particularly share his character's sentiments. 

"I don't really think about it that much," he says. "I think what resonated for me in the film is that we have so many teachings in moments you can't plan for, and those are the moments where real bonding and real education and passing on values and the real revelation of character happens — not the ones where you try to plan [it out]."

Another key component of the film is the difficult relationship between a father and son who are struggling to connect, something Wiggins says he hopes people can relate to. Says Wiggins, "I hope that audiences see that any sort of relationship that is strained isn't damaged beyond repair. In today's age, it's really good to get the message across that just because [people are] different doesn't mean that you can't form a bond with one another." 

Walking Out is now playing in New York, Los Angeles and nine other cities, with additional markets to be added in the coming months.

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