Houston Matters

Texas City is a character in Sean Baker’s ‘Red Rocket’

We talk with the director of an acclaimed new movie shot on location in the refinery environments of Texas City, Galveston, Port Arthur, and San Leon.


(L-R) Actor Simon Rex and director Sean Baker on location in Texas City in 2020.


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Film director Sean Baker is best known for 2015's Tangerine, notable for being shot using the iPhone 5S, and the 2017 film The Florida Project, which earned an Academy Award nomination for actor Willem Dafoe.

Baker is back this year with Red Rocket, which was shot in relative secrecy in 2020, utilizing locations in Texas City, Galveston, and Port Arthur.

The story focuses on a broke and homeless hustler named Mikey Saber, who returns to his Texas City hometown after a failed career in the Los Angeles adult film industry. The film has rejuvenated the career of actor Simon Rex, who has received rave reviews for his performance as Mikey.

Red Rocket had its Houston premiere at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival in November, and it opens officially on Friday, Dec. 24.

Houston Matters producer Troy Schulze sat down with Baker to talk about the film, starting with how the director was able to pivot to a different project when the onset of the pandemic threw him a curveball.

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Troy Schulze

Troy Schulze

Producer, Houston Matters

Troy Schulze is a producer for Houston Matters. He also produces the podcast Party Politics and the digital video series Skyline Sessions. Schulze has been working as a writer and producer in digital media for over 20 years. He has received three Emmy nominations for his work on the TV...

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