We caught up with writer, director, and founder of indie production company TXL Films, Taron Lexton, who recently wrapped production on his indie feature, Nomad. It stars White Lotus breakout Leo Woodall and Jordi Webber (Home and Away, Head High), and was shot entirely on location across 26 countries.
We asked Taron about his indie films production company, what we can expect from the upcoming feature, filming in 26 countries, working with Leo Woodall, and more. Check out our conversation below.
*This interview was conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike.
What can you tell us about your indie production company, TXL Films?
Taron Lexton (TL): We’re a boutique production company focused on bold, humanity-driven stories that connect us to each other and the world. We started in 2004 and have now filmed in more than 50 countries, across all 7 continents. TXL began as a group of passionate filmmaker friends working out of a garage and grew into a global network of creatives. We’re obsessed with perfecting the process of filmmaking and creating great experiences for audiences and filmmakers alike. Making movies is what we love, and we think the best work comes from stoking that passion and joy for cinema.
Nomad was shot on location across 26 countries. Was this always the plan for the film? How did you manage to stay on schedule?
TL: We wanted to do something that had never been done before. We always planned 26 countries because the standing record was 25 held by Tarsem’s “The Fall” (2006). So that was the minimum. Our favorite films tend to be ground-breaking, and that was part of what inspired us to make films at all, so we wanted to pay that forward. We asked ourselves, what can we do that hasn’t been done before? How can we not just follow the lines but actually add something meaningful to cinema? Above all, what can we do with next-to-no budget?
Just one example of this was on our first day of principal photography, capturing a total solar eclipse in Chile with our lead actors Leo Woodall and Sana’a Shaik right in the middle of it. We had 2 minutes 18 seconds and, of course, only one chance to nail it. That is one instance of the many ways all these locations and natural events weave into our fictional story to give a real scope and impact unlike any other. In the end, we filmed in more than 30 countries and were the first narrative film to shoot on all 7 continents. Let’s just say, we discovered why no one had done it—it’s a razor’s edge short of impossible.
How did the idea for the film come to be?
TL: I grew up traveling, so it’s actually a very personal film. My mom had a human rights non-profit and, as a kid, I traveled with her to more than 30 countries, which was a profoundly moving and formative experience. To see humanity and feel that connection across so many cultures, it changes you. I wanted to somehow capture that feeling of wonder and humanity, and this film was my attempt at doing that. Doing it all for real, with no green screen, no sets, and no lights, gave it an authenticity and resonance I don’t think we could have otherwise achieved. Because of the scope of the travel and the stunning locations we would be capturing to tell this story, it was important to me to film Nomad in IMAX using Arri Large Format cameras and lenses. The film is epic because the world is epic. It’s simultaneously massive in scope and deeply personal.
What was your experience like working with actor Leo Woodall on this film?
TL: Leo is a very rare combination of talent, grit, work ethic, and joy. There’s a reason his career is exploding and, now fresh off a SAG Award for “White Lotus,” it’s been exciting to watch him continue to rise. He’s a total blast to work with, and his performances are rich and powerful. This film was basically an expedition. We filmed in locations no one had ever filmed before, and some were extremely difficult to reach. We encountered wild animals, fires, hurricanes, and every conceivable climate. Leo was an absolute beast. He even helped us carry gear. And then after hours of harrowing climbs and hikes just to get to the location, he would get right into character and deliver a beautiful and nuanced performance. It was Herculean and stunning to watch. He’s not just a star; I suspect he might be superhuman.
What are some key messages you hope people take away after watching Nomad?
TL: To me, the film is about loneliness and connection. I think, especially in the wake of the pandemic when people were so isolated and unable to travel, those themes have even more resonance. There’s a deep sense of humanity that we all share, and I think travel is a way to connect with that. This film is a love letter to travel, to the world, and to humanity. It’s a deep exploration of what it means to be human in a way that’s never been seen before on film. I’m really excited for people to experience it and find their own truth in it. The world is a profound enigma that never stops unfolding. That’s the kind of stuff cinema is made for.