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ETonline EXCLUSIVE: How Instagram and ‘The Little Rascals’ Inspired Sean Baker’s ‘The Florida Project’

October 6, 2017

Sean Baker, the creator of Fox’s Greg the Bunny, enjoyed breakout success (and Oscar buzz) with the 2015 film Tangerine. Telling the story of two transgender prostitutes, the movie was notably shot entirely on an iPhone 5. Once again, modern technology -- this time, Instagram -- is playing a pivotal role in the 46-year-old director’s latest film, The Florida Project, about 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), and her tumultuous childhood, growing up right outside the happiest place on Earth, Walt Disney World. 


Moonee and her young, out-of-work, single mom Halley (Instagram star Bria Vinaite) live week to week in the Magic Castle budget motel, run by the hardworking yet kindhearted Bobby (Willem Dafoe). It was Baker’s co-writer Chris Bergoch who brought the plight of Orlando’s hidden homeless population to Baker’s attention, and together they got to work on this film.


“I’ve always been inspired by The Little Rascals,” Baker says, referring to the comic shorts of the 1920s and 1930s (not the popular 1994 film adaptation). “I’ve been intrigued by the way they show the harsh realities of life -- in that case, the Great Depression -- but through the joyous viewpoint of children. And I thought, ‘I’m going to do this someday.’ I thought this would be my opportunity to make Little Rascals 2017.”


For more on how Baker captured the spirit of the rascals, head to!




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©2018 by Angelique Jackson. Created by The Dean's List.

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