Blue Mountain State’s long awaited movie The Rise of Thadland was released today. Since midnight it’s already managed to shock the world, becoming the #1 movie on iTunes most purchased films. The film’s production team battled no shortage of challenges creating Thadland, and we caught up with one of them today for an inside look.
Alex, thanks for taking the time out to speak with us and thanks for hosting our snapchat at the Thadland premiere this past weekend. So many people are talking about BMS right now. What was Blue Mountain State’s journey from being a cancelled show on Spike, to Netflix and now a full length movie?
Happily, it was a no brainer given what similar an audience it seems Your U and BMS shares.
It’s not typical for project’s to go from being cancelled to becoming feature films in theaters or blowing up on Amazon and iTunes. Alan explained the journey best on KTLA News this morning.
We see that you weren’t part of the show, just the movie. How did you get involved?
At the time I was just a hungry film student. One day I was browsing successful Kickstarter campaigns to emulate for the music festival I was throwing at the time. Being familiar with BMS (having been cancelled) I was shocked when I came across theirs. Watching it then grow into the third highest grossing Kickstarter campaign ever over the next month validated my belief of what a truly loyal, cult following had grown for BMS. By then I believed in the film’s success so passionately that I would have literally produced and distributed it myself if I had the millions, but I don’t (yet). I tried everything I could think of to reach the producers and get involved. Finally one morning I woke up to a voicemail from Romanski, the co creator of BMS. He was fired up about the passion I had for their project and wanted to meet for lunch at some point that week. I immediately drove to LA to stay on call for him. After four days of sleeping in my van and showering at various gyms I signed up for free trials at, he called with a time and place.
When we met I explained my marketing and public relations background to him which was when he found use for me. At the time they were considering a custom, limited edition BMS beer. Thanks to my relationships with BevMo and Lagunitas Brewery, I had found my way in. As an aspiring filmmaker/actor I didn’t care how I got on set at the time, as long as I was there. The brewery deal never happened however Lagunitas did send us almost two thousand beers, for free. A few of which made their way into the film as ‘thank you’ product placements.
Lagunitas, yum. What did your role on the film become after the beer deal didn’t happen?
I made my way out to Wilmington, North Carolina unsure what my role was going to be. I knew I had brought more to the table than just being a production assistant. I spent most of the time shooting the behind the scenes documentary, and working directly under Ryan Haffey, one of the producers (and coolest guys I’ve ever met). I made a quick cameo in the film doing some background work and some additional contributions to wardrobe by acquiring product placements from Kix’ies and Strideline Socks, who also contributed some custom BMS socks just for the film!
Do you see BMS’ popularity being the reason Thad and Mary Jo’s acting careers have sky-rockted?
Yes and no. The amount of fans and exposure the show generated for them speaks for itself but BMS was just an example of their talents and dedications to their craft.
Alan Ritchson (Thad) is unstoppable. His success was inevitable thanks to his work ethic. Do more people recognize him in public as Thad than any other characters he’s played? Of course, but the sky was and is the limit for him as a person as well as an actor, regardless of BMS. Im grateful for what I was able to learn from him on and off set. His next film, Lazer Team looks just as funny.
Frankie (Mary Jo) won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival last year for her short film SMILF (which Showtime actually bought) and then she kicked ass in Mr Robot, which just won a Golden Globe. Her newest film Too Legit (which I’m actually in) also made it to Sundance a few weeks ago, as yet another example of her prime writing and creativity paying off. I foresee her career going in a more serious direction than playing a drunken cheerleader (not that she didn’t play her well). She has a voice and a message that a lot of people are going to hear.
A lot of BMS fans seemed to doubt the film would ever be released. What do you know of its year long delay?
Not much other than that Lionsgate held things up a bit. There was also a delay in removing enough scenes so it would qualify for an R rating and not the NC-17 rating we originally received. All I know is everyone on BMS’ end, especially director Lev Spiro were working non stop to put the project out immediately and get all the fans/kickstarter backers their gifts and the movie.
Final question, what was your favorite part about going from being a fan to actually in the Blue Mountain State movie and on set, as a part of it’s production?
Without doubt the relationships. Being on set and gaining 40+ more long days of experience was great but meeting producer Eric Fischer may have been the best thing that happened to me. We both have strong baseball backgrounds and I think he’ll have some interest in my high school baseball series I’m pitching to MLB Network. He’s certainly someone who could help bring that project to life, which will be huge for me.
Made some cool friends along the way and once again proved to myself there is nothing in life we can’t achieve when we commit to it. Thanks for having me, love your guys’ Instagram eye candy. Go Goats!
Now there you have it. Netflix has been rumored to have interest in picking up BMS for seasons four and five. The movie’s success won’t hurt those chances and it would be the first time in Netflix history a discontinued show was picked up (four years) post cancellation. Leaving the fans of BMS the only ones to thank.