EXCLUSIVE: Casa de Mi Padre director Matt Piedmont is jumping right into another project with Gary Sanchez and NALA Films, and this time he’ll work in English. Piedmont will direct King Dork, based on the 2006 Frank Portman novel that has been adapted by D.V. DeVincentis. Shooting will begin in June, most likely in Connecticut.
The book is about best friends and outsiders Tom and Sam, who bond over their shared love of classic rock and roll, which helps them cope with the agony of getting through high school in 1987. The film will be produced by NALA’s Emilio Diez Barroso and Darlene Caamano Loquet and Gary Sanchez’s Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Kevin Messick and Chris Henchy. NALA is financing, as it did on Casa de Mi Padre, the Spanish-language comedy which plays SXSW and then opens March 16.
McKay said that King Dork was the first project bought when he, Ferrell and Henchy formed Gary Sanchez six years ago. It moved from Paramount Vantage to Sony, and then NALA got it out of turnaround, after getting a strong script by DeVincentis, whose past scripts include the music-centric pics High Fidelity and Grosse Point Blank.
“It stalled, and them Kevin Messick read it and said it was too good to let it go,” McKay told me. “Matt did a fantastic job on Casa, and this is right in his wheelhouse. Matt’s a collector of albums from the 60s and 70s, which fits right in.
“The movie is about that moment when you go from the confines of your room with your music, to venturing out in the world with fantasies of rock stardom,” McKay said. “They stumble through in a scary, hilarious way and actually in a strange way become rock stars. We all remember the days when you’d ride a bike to meet a girl, or obsess over album covers and look at bands like they were on a different planet. The movies that capture that feeling and the pain of high school are some of my favorites, from My Bodyguard to Over the Edge.”
NALA COO Caamano Loquet said they continue to bet on good material and filmmakers, and found both here. The film will be made on a budget, but it will include music rights deals, though not for the songs that fuel Rock of Ages, which fixated on the 80s. “This is set in the 80s but the music is more about those classic rock songs from the 70s, which the lead character discovers from his dad’s old albums,” she said. “The music from that period is as rich as the script that made us respond so strongly.”
Since Ferrell seems to find a way into most Gary Sanchez projects (he stars in Casa de Mi Padre), will he be suiting up as a 70s rock god, sans cowbell? “There are a couple of good roles in it he could play and Will definitely loves the script,” McKay said. “But we are just beginning the casting process.”
Piedmont, the former Saturday Night Live writer who helmed the Sundance-winning short Brick Novax’s Diary, is repped by CAA and Rumble Media, and De Vincentis is repped by UTA and Management 360.