BLT-Sunny Hills Similarities?
We thought we'd share this question from Tom L., and Justin's personal
response. This is a question that has come up in past Q&As, and we thought
it would be important to address it here. We hope it helps to clarify any
"Is it true that BLT is based on the Stuart Tay murder case in Orange
County?" -Tom L., Houston, TX
The impetus of "Better Luck Tomorrow" was inspired by a rash of news stories
about violence and teenagers, an issue that lately seems to pop up every
other week. At the time, I worked a lot with youth in both media and
sports, and I felt that if I were to take 10 credit cards and make a film,
it would deal with the issues that were important to me, and to the people I
knew and worked with. This question regarding similarities to the Sunny
Hills case has been asked in Q&A's before. My response has always been the
same: that "Better Luck Tomorrow" is not based on Stuart Tay's murder. I
only know of the tragic event through newspapers and television, like
everyone else. At the very beginning of the writing process, I made a
conscious decision not to base it on that, or any other, real event. I
didn't know the people or the details of what exactly happened, and out of
respect to the people associated with the case and their families, I did not
want to misrepresent them. Also, as an artist I wanted to explore and deal
with issues and themes that are independent of true people and events.
Since the completion of the film I've talked to people who are both familiar
with the Stuart Tay case and have also seen "BLT", and they have assured me
that even though there are some similarities between the two, the characters
and plot lines are completely different from the real people and events.
Additionally, I have spoken to Angela Oh, who is one of the lawyers involved
in the original case. It seems that an unnamed reporter, who perhaps wanted
to drum up controversy, claimed that I denied ever knowing that the case
existed. This couldn't be further from the truth. I explained to Angela
that I have never denied knowing about the incident. On the contrary, it
was the knowing of the incident, along with several other instances of teen
violence depicted in the news media, that inspired me to explore the
fictional story and characters of "Better Luck Tomorrow". Angela seemed
relieved. Her only concern was the unfounded rumor.
I hope this answers a lot of your questions. However, if there are still
some concerns, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the details of
the Stuart Tay case, and then watch "Better Luck Tomorrow". Once you
compare the facts to fiction, it will be very clear.