Charlie Hewson stars in My Blind Brother, Sophie Goodhart’s new romantic comedy drama that premiered at SXSW earlier this month.

Charlie Hewson On ‘My Blind Brother’

My Blind Brother tells the story of a pair of brothers – one of whom is blind – who are in a love triangle with a woman named Rose (Jenny Slate). The competition between Bill (Nick Kroll) and his blind brother Robbie (Adam Scott) comes to a boiling point during a charity swim competition in their small town. Bringing a bit of comic relief – and recreational drugs – into the mix is Hewson’s character, the town’s blind drug dealer named GT.

“[My Blind Brother] addresses everyone’s shame and addresses how all the myriad ways in which one deals with their shame. My character is a man who does not bother with shame, and it makes him kind of glorious and free,” Hewson told uInterview about GT at SXSW in Austin, Tex. “He’s a great person to bounce ideas off of when it comes down to like, ‘I’m feeling really terrible about this situation…’ He’s like, ‘Why? It’s all good.’”

Hewson doesn’t see his character as some sort of stoner stereotype, but rather as someone whose positivity says something more about him as a person, and perhaps his blindness. From meeting blind people to prepare for the part of GT, Hewson reveals that he found that they had a disproportionately positive outlook on life. It was a real-life takeaway that he felt compelled to incorporate into his character. Hewson also tried to play it as real as possible when it came to a high conversation between his character and Kroll’s.

“You say anything you want when you’re in a basement with your buddy smoking weed. So the question of like “inappropriate,’ is interesting because, yeah, if you’re looking at a movie with those guys in that scenario it’s like, ‘Oh shit that’s some pretty daring…that’s a rude joke,’” Hewson said. “But in the context of trying to really be in that moment, it doesn’t occur to you. The inappropriate nature of it is just people being friends.”

Kroll, Hewson’s most frequent scene partner in The Blind Brother, is someone that the actor clearly admires, calling him a “fountain of comedy.” The Adult Beginners star, according to Hewson, is someone who brings the best out of those around him on set.

“It’s always just endlessly a pleasure to be with people like that,” Hewson told uInterview. “Professionally, it’s bolstering. It’s a wonderful environment to be in because he inspires you to be on top of your game. […] It wasn’t a hysterical environment at all times because we had a lot of work to do, but you could definitely feel that energy kind of percolating. Nick is very serious about comedy and he’s always in it, always thinking, what’s funny now?”

My Blind Brother also stars Zoe Kazan, Talia Tabin and Heidi Lewandowski.

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Q: How would you describe the movie? -

My Blind Brother is ostensibly a romantic comedy, but it does something different with the form. I think it’s kind of like a romcom with pathos – it’s how I can concisely think about it. My character GT is an enormous blind drug dealer in a small town, who is presumably the drug dealer in town and he operates as some kind of spiritual advisor to Nick Kroll’s character Bill, who is involved in a love triangle with his blind brother and a lovely woman played by Jenny Slate. The blind brother is Adam Scott. It’s a very good crew. The movie is, in terms of... it addresses everyone’s shame and addresses how all the myriad ways in which one deals with their shame. My character is a man who does not bother with shame, and it makes him kind of glorious and free. He’s a great person to bounce ideas off of when it comes down to like, ‘I’m feeling really terrible about this situation…’ He’s like, ‘Why? It’s all good.’ He’s not a stereotype, he’s not one dimensional in that kind of mission; he just works really really hard to be positive.

Q: How would you describe the humor in the film? -

The way that I think all of us were thinking about it – and I definitely thought about it, cause we didn’t necessarily talk about it at the time, it was just sort of understood – we were playing the people interacting as real people. There’s a lot of strange, weird shit that’s said behind closed doors. In my favorite scene with me and Nick Kroll we’re in a basement smoking weed, you know? So you say anything you want when you’re in a basement with your buddy smoking weed. So the question of like “inappropriate,: is interesting because, yeah, if you’re looking at a movie with those guys in that scenario it’s like, ‘Oh shit that’s some pretty daring...that’s a rude joke,’ but in the context of trying to really be in that moment, it doesn’t occur to you. The inappropriate nature of it is just people being friends.

Q: What was it like to work with these great comic actors? -

Nick particularly is just a fountain of comedy. He never really stops, even when he’s listening to other people talking he’s a little funny. I have friends like that. I know people like that and it’s always just endlessly a pleasure to be with people like that. But, then it’s cool too, because not only is it fun to hang out with the guy, but then professionally it’s bolstering. It’s a wonderful environment to be in because he inspires you to be on top of your game. I mention him mainly because he’s my main scene partner in the movie, but yeah, it was great. It wasn’t a hysterical environment at all times because we had a lot of work to do, but you could definitely feel that energy kind of percolating. Nick is very serious about comedy and he’s always in it, always thinking, what’s funny now?

Q: Was it challenging to play a blind character? -

I did do a bunch of research but I never really found it challenging. I found it really exciting. I personally thought of it as kind of an act of diplomacy, in a kind of weird way. Maybe that’s partly to justify the fact that I’m playing a guy who is disabled and those disabled people exist in the world and can possibly play the part, so like why me? What value do I add to playing a guy who’s blind? To me, I saw it the whole time as an opportunity for me to, first of all, meet blind people, really meet and hang out with blind people, because I don’t know any blind people. So meeting a half a dozen blind people and really spending time with them and seeing that the vast majority are like my character, ruthlessly positive people, people who work their ass off to be happy, really happy and love life, and savor life. A disproportionate number of the blind people I met are on that tip. So finding that in people that I don’t normally have contact with was really, really joyous and I get to share that joy with the movie audience, when they see me play the guy who is just having a terrific time with his life. It’s not easy to do that but he does it, he makes it his beeswax to be positive. Frankly, I never thought about blind people having that challenge, rising to that challenge. It never occurred to me because I don’t know anybody like that or I didn’t and now I do and that’s really valuable to me.