Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer take an epic family road trip across America in the authentic, funny, and intimate film Boundaries.

After Laura’s (Farmiga) estranged, criminally misfit father, Jack (Plummer), is given the boot from yet another a nursing home, she and her teenage son, Henry (Lewis MacDougall), are forced to drive him across the country in a pivotal and comedic road trip that will change all of their lives forever.

However, Jack neglects to tell Laura that he is also distributing marijuana along the way on this road trip. As the three of them continue this journey, Laura is forced to deal with many bottled-up resentments she has for her father, and Henry also gets the chance to know his grandfather in a way he never thought he could. While Farmiga and Plummer are international treasures, it’s MacDougall (A Monster Calls) as 14-year-old Henry who shines.

ScreenPicks had the pleasure of speaking with director/writer Shana Feste (Country Strong) about her story along with the up-and-coming star Lewis MacDougall at a recent press day and here is what we learned about Boundaries.

Lewis MacDougall on playing opposite Vera Farmiga, Peter Fonda, and Christopher Plummer:

Lewis MacDougall: I think when you get into this, you have to forget that this is Christopher Plummer one of the greatest actors of a generation. You have to let go of that and just know that you are doing a scene with another actor. I certainly did learn a lot from him. But you can’t be distracted by that. Sometimes watching him, I was in awe. But then realized that I also needed to be acting as well. But I did learn a lot by observing him and sharing the screen with him.

Lewis on the chemistry between him and Christopher Plummer:

MacDougall: There wasn’t much of a rehearsal. We spent time trying to get to know each other. He is a very genuine and honest person. He was very welcoming and kind of took me under his wing. Despite the huge age gap between us, we had a lot in common. We are alike in certain ways. At the time we shot, I was a thirteen-year-old, and in many ways, I think Chris is like a 13-year-old. I absolutely loved working with Chris. There wasn’t a moment where he sat me down and taught me all these lessons but just watching him make it look so easy. I just learned so much from being like a sponge around him and pick up everything I could from him.

Lewis on the audition process:

MacDougall: I actually sent in a tape and then skyped with Shana and the first time we met was on set.

Shana Feste: And I hadn’t even seen “A Monster Calls” yet. But I knew he was fabulous in my heart even though I hadn’t seen it yet.

Lewis on nailing the American accent:

MacDougall: I have done four films now and every single one I have done a different accent in. So I have become used to doing a different accent. In fact, I even find it helpful in a way when getting into character. But for this role, I had two-weeks of dialect coaching every day for an hour on Skype. I hope I managed to do a convincing one. I also find watching American television to be very helpful.

Lewis on resembling a young Tom Hanks:

MacDougall: I have heard that before. In fact, someone showed me a photo of Tom Hanks when he was young and I was surprised at how much we actually look alike.

Shana Feste on working with Christopher Plummer:

Feste: Chris just loves acting. He always showed up on set before anyone else. He was always the first one there. His wife does his make-up and he was just ready to play. And Lewis loves acting too. I just love working with people who love what they do and both of them just had so much fun together.

Shana on how auto-biographical the story is:

Feste: This was my father. My father was a wildly charismatic man who was married six times and had six kids. Women, dogs, and children all loved my father. But he was a troublemaker. He loved breaking the law. He trafficked marijuana, went to Africa to dig for diamonds and smuggled them back in under his cowboy hat. He also stole a gold bell out of a church one time. He would come back home with these jewels and stories and we would have tons of money. Then, the next day, he would lose everything in a poker game. When I had my first son Waylon, I just thought there was no way I could ever be away from him. And I thought, how could my father have done this for so long?” So having my first son really made me want to investigate the relationship with my father.

Shana on the road trip with her father:

Feste: The road trip actually happened. It was the one time I had my father all to myself because my mother raised me in Los Angeles and my dad was from Texas. So every summer we would get in his pick-up truck, listen to country music for 3 days and we would drive to Houston, Texas. And I knew on those trips that my dad wasn’t going anywhere and I had him for those moments.

Shana on any scenes in the film that are 100% accurate:

Feste: Yes, there are so many. It wasn’t me who got arrested for parking tickets but my mother did. When you are with a real criminal, like my father, and you are getting pulled-over, immediately we were thinking, “of course this is my dad going to jail again.” But then they put my mom in handcuffs for parking tickets and that is something that definitely happened. There is also a scene where Vera says to her father that she spent her entire childhood scared and that was me and I wrote the response I kind of wanted to hear from my father, which was “I’m sorry you were scared.” But I never said that to my father and he never said that to me and he passed away last year. However, he did tell me, “Bean,” he used to call me Bean, “you didn’t get the father you deserve when he came to live with us for the last few years of his life.

Shana on Loretta, her own rescue dog’s role in the film and her love for adopting animals:

Feste: Loretta was one of the last dog’s I rescued. I have six right now. But I also have three kittens under four. So usually, I have more of a revolving door of kittens in the bathtub and the shower, ya know. But I have to keep it under control.

Shana on casting Peter Fonda and Christopher Lloyd as her dad’s friends:

Feste: I learned so much about my dad through his friends. He had friends with names like Tony the Ant and Blonde Joey; very different kind of friends. So I classed them up a bit. I really wanted to illuminate different parts of my father, Jack, with his friends. Once we cast Christopher Plummer it was kind of like a goldmine because everyone wanted to work with him. I was surprised to get Christopher Plummer, but I think it was the comedy aspect that appealed to him as it did to Vera, too. They were anxious to show off their comedic chops.

Shana on upcoming projects and being a director:

Feste: Well, I am first and foremost a writer. But it was so heartbreaking to give my work over to another director, I finally just said, “screw it, I am going to direct this film because it is my story.” And I was not met with much resistance. As for upcoming projects, agents keep asking me for something for more “muscular,” whatever that means. But I would love to do a horror film. I also have an action/thriller that I wrote 10 years ago. However, I am going to make a feminist horror film called Run, Sweetheart, Run.