IN PRODUCTION: “PROXY,” “THE BUTLER,” “SOMEONE MARRY BARRY” and “THE SPECTACULAR NOW”
“In Production” is a regular column which focuses on notable independent films that are currently shooting.
Shooting from mid-July in Eastern Indiana, Scalene director Zack Parker’s Proxy is a suspense thriller about Esther (Alexia Rasmussen), a pregnant woman who joins a support group after being attacked one night and strikes up a dysfunctional relationship with a fellow victim (Alexa Havins). Parker’s last feature Scalene, which is set for release on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD on July 31st, received glowing reviews for its clever use of the fractured narrative – potentially one of the most over-used cinematic devices of the past three decades. Parker has assembled many of the same crew for Proxy, including composers The Newton Brothers and d.p. Jim Timperman, and added SFX makeup artist James Ojala (Hellboy II, True Blood). Proxy stars Rasmussen (The Comedy), Havins (When In Rome), Kristina Klebe (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) and Joe Swanberg (V/H/S). Parker’s own company, Along the Tracks productions, which he founded in 1996, is producing the film in association with Faus Checho’s FSC productions.
After screening his latest film, The Paperboy, earlier this year at Cannes, Lee Daniels (Precious) is already in the works with his follow-up, The Butler, a biopic chronicling three decades in the life of Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served eight presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. The film is currently shooting in New Orleans with an all-star cast including Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Robin Williams (World’s Greatest Dad), Melissa Leo (Francine), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Red Tails), Alan Rickman (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Jane Fonda (Peace, Love and Misunderstanding), Mariah Carey (Precious), John Cusack (The Raven) and Forest Whitaker (Catch .44). Providing the musical score is 27-time Grammy award-winner Quincy Jones (Get Rich or Die Tryin). New Orleans-based Windy Hill Pictures is financing alongside Follow Through Productions, Inner Media Capital, Salamander Media, Yogi Entertainment, Salloway Rubenstein Productions/Crystal City Entertainment, Earl W. Stafford and Starstream Films. Laura Ziskin Productions (The Amazing Spider-Man) is also producing.
Academy Award nominee Rob Pearlstein is currently shooting his writing-directing debut Someone Marry Barry, a comedy about three guys who plot to get rid of their socially inept friend Barry by marrying him off, only to end up hooking him up with his exact female counterpart. The film stars Tyler Labine (A Good Old Fashioned Orgy) as the title character alongside Damon Wayans Jr. (The Other Guys), Hayes MacArthur (Bachelorette), Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher), Thomas Middleditch (Being Flynn), Amanda Lund (Take Me Home) and Ed Helms (Jeff Who Lives at Home). Prior to Someone Marry Barry, Pearlstein earned an Oscar nod for his short film Our Time is Up starring Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects). He was also the writer, director, producer and star of the Comedy Central web series Matumbo Goldberg. (Oh, and he was a copywriter for BBDO and shot commercials for Mastercard – not the lazy type.) Straight Up Films (The Untitled Wally Pfitser Project) is financing while Life as We Know It producer Barry Josephson’s company Josephson Entertainment is producing.
James Ponsoldt, director of this year’s Sundance hit Smashed and a regular Filmmaker contributor, has begun principal photography on his latest The Spectacular Now. The comedy-drama focuses on a teenage boy who starts dating an outcast at his high school as a personal project. The cast includes Brie Larson (21 Jump Street), Shailene Woodley (The Descendents), Miles Teller (Project X) and Dayo Okeniyi (The Hunger Games). After his debut feature Off the Black (produced by Filmmaker‘s editor-in-chief Scott Macaulay) screened at Sundance in 2006, Ponsoldt became a director to watch. His follow-up Smashed, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and Aaron Paul (AMC’s Breaking Bad) won the Special Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance and gained the director further recognition for his affecting portrayal of an alcoholic couple. Director-producer Shawn Levy’s (Date Night) 21 Laps Entertainment is producing in association with Global Produce. Production is currently underway in Athens, Georgia.