Amy Redford accents family drama in thriller ‘What Comes Around’

Amy Redford, a second generation actor-director following in the footsteps of her Oscar-winning father Robert, has made something personal with Friday’s thriller “What Comes Around.”

Summer Phoenix, of the acting clan that includes her Oscar-winning brother Joaquin, is Beth, a mother who discovers her daughter Anna’s (Grace Van Dien) 17th birthday heralds a complicated step into adulthood.

Suddenly, there’s a man in Anna’s life, Tim (Kyle Gallner), an older, mysterious guy she met on the internet who has driven hundreds of miles to surprise her – and maybe seduce her — on her birthday.  As alarm bells ring, as confrontation ensues, “What Comes Around” pivots dramatically.

It all began, Redford, 52, said in a Zoom interview this week,  when she read Scott Organ’s play.  “I realized what a wonderful opportunity it would be adapt it for the screen, especially during COVID times. It was Trojan Horse-ing some interesting ideas through genre.”

Specifically, in the unraveling of who Tim is, the film is, Redford said, “exploring some concepts that needed to be explored.  When we look at somebody’s behavior and demonize them, perhaps we’re missing out on the opportunity to be inquisitive.

“I think if you follow the genesis of somebody’s behavior, often you can see that maybe they were not served in their earlier life and they were failed.  That does not mean that you have to endorse or condone their behavior, but maybe we can be a little bit more compassionate.

“Through these devices (social media, phones) that our children use, we expect them to find their way — and I feel like we also have a responsibility to understand better what the digital world is for young people. Not being quite so judgmental.

“I know I was. I’m falling down on my face 1,000 times as a parent trying to figure it out. So maybe we need to ask more questions instead of making so many statements.”

Which is where “What Comes Around” becomes very personal?

“Absolutely! As a parent, as a woman, as somebody who was young once. As one that loves that intensity (of first love) which is really what it’s all about.

“I am a fallible human being. We are all fallible human beings — and that’s okay to investigate. So as I try to understand the landscape that my almost-15-year-old is inheriting, I realized that there’s a lot that maybe I don’t understand.

“So with the richness of Scott’s characters in the context and the fact that it was an entertaining thriller, it felt like a really great way to explore some of these ideas.”

“What Comes Around” is in theaters and on streaming platforms Aug. 4


Amy Redford’s drama thriller ‘What Comes Around’ is in theaters and on streaming platforms Aug. 4. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)


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