Ensemble drama About Alex, from first-time helmer Jesse Zwick, has been picked up for North America by Screen Media Films. Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Nate Parker, Max Minghella, Jason Ritter, Maggie Grace, and Jane Levy star in the pic about a group of twentysomething pals who reunite one weekend after one of them suffers an emotional breakdown and attempts suicide. Akin to a Big Chill for the Facebook and Twitter generation, the recent Tribeca premiere will see a theatrical and VOD day and date release on August 8. Zwick wrote and directed the Footprint Features and Bedford Falls Company production, which was produced by Adam Saunders and exec produced by Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz. Screen Media’s Suzanne Blech and Seth Needle negotiated the deal with WME on behalf of the filmmakers. Red Sea Media is repping international sales.
EXCLUSIVE: Jesse Zwick is making his directorial debut with ensemble drama About Alex, with Oscar-winning father Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz exec producing for their Bedford Falls Company shingle. The Footprint Features co-production stars Aubrey Plaza (The To-Do List) and a line-up of rising TV and film thesps including Jason Ritter (Parenthood), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Nate Parker (Arbitrage), Maggie Grace (Taken), Max Minghella (The Internship), and Jane Levy (Evil Dead, Suburgatory). Story picks up with seven college friends who reunite Big Chill-style one long weekend after one of their own attempts suicide. The pals wax philosophical on past relationships, old crushes, and bad decisions and how life has changed post-college in the Facebook/Twitter age.
Zwick, who’s written for NBC’s Parenthood, scripted the film. Adam Saunders is producing About Alex for Footprint Features, which also financed the indie. Producing duo Zwick and Herskovitz (The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, Defiance), meanwhile, are also exec producing The Boys of Abu Ghraib and produced Family Weekend with Footprint Features.
As flicks about the undead continue to disinter, Anna Kendrick, Molly Shannon and Cheryl Hines have boarded I Heart Huckabees writer Jeff Baena’s directorial debut. Shooting is underway in Los Angeles on Life After Beth, which stars Amazing Spider-Man 2 heavy Dane DeHaan as a guy mourning the death of his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza). But when Beth comes back to life, he tries to live their relationship to the fullest — until things take a turn for the much worse. John C. Reilly, Paul Reiser and Matthew Gray Gubler in the pic, which Baena also wrote. Liz Destro and Michael Zakin are producing the film alongside American Zoetrope, Starstream Entertainment, and Abbolita Pictures. Charles Bonan, Tim Nye, and Kim Leadford exec produce. CAA and WME are co-repping the domestic rights to the pic. Beth is the second horror comedy to flesh out its cast in the past week; Elijah Wood’s Cooties tapped Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill and others on Friday.
Those who know Aubrey Plaza from her deadpan ex-intern on Parks and Recreation will see a decidedly different side of her in CBS Films’ The To Do List. The redband trailer has arrived, complete with raunchy jokes, sight gags and “other”. Plaza’s Brandy was her class valedictorian but managed to finish high school with her virginity intact. One raucous graduation party later, she decides to remedy the situation before starting college in the fall. Watch for Brandy stumbling over her unfamiliarity with certain terms of, er, endearment. Director Maggie Carey’s 1993-set comedy boasts the tagline, “From straight A’s to her first F.” Co-starring Bill Hader, Alia Shawkar and Johnny Simmons, it opens July 26:
Busy day for Aubrey Plaza: First, her NBC sitcom Parks And Recreation got picked up for a sixth season, then CBS Films set a new domestic release date for her next movie. The To Do List, a comedy about an awkward overachiever who tries to make up for her sexual underachieving in high school before she heads to college, has been moved up from August 16 to July 26. Instead of going up against Universal’s action-comedy sequel Kick-Ass 2, it now will be counterprogramming to Fox’s tentpole The Wolverine. Writer-director Maggie Carey’s film also stars Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Alia Shawkat, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg and Connie Britton. It is produced by Jennifer Todd, Brian Robbins and Sharla Sumpter Bridgett, with Mark Gordon, Greg Walter, Tom Lassally, Maggie Carey, Bill Hader and Tracy McGrath aboard as exec producers.
Related: Summer 2013: Sleeper Movie Forecast
Will Ferrell was accepting the Comedic Genius Award at tonight’s MTV Movie Awards. Suddenly he had company onstage – Parks & Recreation‘s co-star Aubrey Plaza. She ran up and tried to wrestle the award out of Ferrell’s hands. Apparently, it was to hype her own upcoming movie – the August comedy from CBS Films, The To-Do List – whose title was written across her chest. MTV later claimed the incident was unplanned and that the MTV Movie Awards producers kicked her off the Sony Pictures lot where the show was being held. Backstage, Ferrell told MTV: “It was just a lot of liquor breath.” Well, Aubrey does call herself @evilhag on Twitter. Here’s video of the mayhem:
Here’s Aubrey Plaza (most recently seen in FilmDistrict’s Safety Not Guaranteed) introducing the R-Rated trailer for her Valentine’s Day movie that CBS Films will open on that day in 2013. Written and directed by Maggie Carey, The To Do List also features Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, Alia Shawkat, Donald Glover, Bill Hader and Clark Gregg.
Specialty releases can clean up at the box office if they’re seen as serious awards contenders, but the majority of limited rollouts never make it to the awards big leagues in a given year. Two of this week’s new specialty openers are admittedly not in play for any golden statuettes according to their insiders (unless this is some sort of reverse-psychology campaign?). First off, Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener starrer Peace, Love & Misunderstanding will open in 25 cities this weekend. Its high-profile stars along with some now high-profile newcomers might be just the thing for moviegoers looking for a summer escape. China Lion’s Double Trouble will have a smaller indie platform release, hoping to cash in on the first film of Hong Kong star Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee. Also hitting screens is FilmDistrict’s Safety Not Guaranteed, which concerns a magazine crew that sets out in search of the person who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time-travel. Then there’s Daryl Wein’s Lola Versus with star Greta Gerwig courtesy of Fox Searchlight and doc Paul Williams Still Alive is taking its story about the Oscar and Grammy award-winning star via a more DIY approach.