The Lessons Amy Smart Learned By Starring In Tyson's Run - Exclusive

When you sit down to watch "Tyson's Run," you can't help but walk away feeling inspired. The film follows a 15-year-old named Tyson (played by Major Dodson) who pushes through his fears, knowing he can accomplish anything he sets his mind to despite his diagnosis of autism.


After being homeschooled his entire life by his mother (played by Amy Smart), Tyson wants to attend the high school where his legendary father coaches football. There, he meets a champion runner who inspires him to compete in a local marathon. Though his parents are hesitant to have him go after such a big goal, Tyson knows he has what it takes to be one of the best runners in the world.

There's both a compelling story and an incredible cast, but Smart's favorite aspect is what the teenager ends up teaching his parents. 

"I love the journey the characters take. The character of Tyson, finding something he's passionate about and going for it relentlessly," she said during an exclusive interview with The List. "Without the fear getting in the way that, so often, we stop ourselves from something that we want to do."


As her character learns a lot from Tyson over the course of the film, Smart learned a lot by starring in "Tyson's Run," too.

Amy Smart spoke with a mother of an autistic child to learn more about her role

As soon as Amy Smart booked the role of Tyson's mother, she hit the books and did her research. "There was so many little things that I've learned that really helped me understand the Tyson character," she told The List. "I wanted to portray it as honestly as possible." 


Because of that, she went straight to the source. Seeing as "Tyson's Run" was inspired by a real boy, Smart took the time to step into the shoes of a mother whose son has autism. 

"I was able to talk to a mom who had a kid who had those similar characteristics [to Tyson] and to understand the way he thinks," she said, which helped to strengthen her character's relationship with her son.

Tyson's mom is willing to do whatever it takes to protect him throughout the film, which was something the actress was already able to relate to. Since becoming a mom, "being a parent and playing a parent is so much more weighted and honest," she told us. 

So she was able to easily understand why her character was so nervous about Tyson's first day in high school. "You go to so many different lengths to make sure your child feels okay in all aspects," she said.


Her character's messy marriage reminded the actress that communication is key

In addition to tackling the issue of inclusiveness, "Tyson's Run" has many other underlying themes that specifically pertain to the marriage of Eloise and Bobby Hollerman (played by Rory Cochrane). After spending all their time focused on their son, their relationship seems to be slowly falling apart. 


"It's sort of that universal relationship, to be honest, where people get in marriages, and they start to grow apart, and they stop communicating, and things sort of get fractured," Amy Smart told The List.

Ultimately, Tyson teaches his parents how they, too, can overcome any obstacle and connect again. "It awakens something in her that won't just roll over and not say anything," Smart said.

Playing Eloise was a reminder to the actress that "being honest and communicating in relationships is king," Smart said, and she loved how the film addressed this issue head-on. "I think what I like about this film is that it gets messy," she said. "And that's life."

"Tyson's Run" is now playing in theaters.