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.
Jason Ritter is set as the male lead in Friends & Family, Fox‘s single-camera comedy pilot from writer David Rosen, Sony TV and BBC Worldwide Prods. Based on the UK series Gavin & Stacey, Friends & Family focuses on the key life moments for Gavin (Ritter) and Stacey, who try to maintain their relationship while combining their polarizing families’ lives. Gavin is described as adorably neurotic, a good guy who’s excited about his first real date with Stacey, a co-worker from rural Pennsylvania he’s become friends with through Skype and Facebook. Ritter, repped by ICM Partners and the Burstein Co., was among the sought after young actors this pilot season. He recently recurred on NBC’s Parenthood and last season toplined NBC’s drama pilot County.
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There’s Always Woodstock has added several new actors to its cast. Rumer Willis, Brittany Snow, Parenthood’s Jason Ritter, Jimmy Wolk, Finesse Mitchell and Anna Anissimova have all joined the romantic comedy directed by Rita Merson. There’s Always Woodstock stars Katey Sagal and Allison Miller of NBC’s Go On. The film centers on Catherine Brown (Miller), a would-be songwriter who returns to her dead parents’ home in Woodstock, New York for the summer. Ritter will be playing the self-absorbed actor and unfaithful fiance of Brown. Willis will be playing a Goth waitress at the coffeehouse owned by Sagal’s character who becomes friends with Brown. Merson, Sunrise Pictures’ Peter Schafer as well Jenny Hinkey are producing the film. Joe Dain and Jim Klock are executive producers with manager David Guillod serving as Co-Executive Producer
With NBC brass back from NBCUniversal’s weirdly-timed (for NBC) corporate retreat in Florida last week that was smack in the middle of the broadcast pilot pickup season, they’re getting right to business with pilot orders. In what is expected to be a very busy pickup day at the network, NBC has greenlighted 2 hourlong pilots produced by Universal TV: Chicago Fire, a firefighter drama from feature writers Michael Brandt & Derek Haas (3:10 to Yuma) and Dick Wolf Films, and County, a medical drama from Parenthood and Friday Night Lights exec producer Jason Katims starring Parenthood recurring player and The Event alum Jason Ritter.
Chicago Fire, which NBC announced at its summer TCA presentation, is an action-driven drama exploring the complex and heroic men and women of the Chicago Fire Department. The project, which had been garnering a lot of buzz, is executive prodced by Brandt, Haas, Wolf, his new development exec Danielle Gelber and Peter Jankowski. County takes us into the lives of a group of young doctors, nurses, and administrators, in a frenetic underfunded and morally compromising LA County Hospital.
The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best premiered in Toronto last night, and while there’s no distribution deal to report yet, writer/director and star Ryan O’Nan and Michael Weston have scored a contract that turns their fictional band into a real thing. The duo plays The Brooklyn Brothers in the film, and now O’Nan and Weston have signed a record contract to record under that band name for Rhino Entertainment. It’s an extension of a deal Rhino made to release the soundtrack of a film that also stars Arielle Kebbel, Melissa Leo, Andrew McCarthy, Christopher McDonald, Jason Ritter, and Wilmer Valderrama.
O’Nan, who wrote most of the movie’s songs, plays a musician who is on the verge of quitting after a painful breakup with his girlfriend. Then he meets a self-appointed music revolutionary (Weston). After an initial violent clash, the guys form a band, work out their
Jason Ritter has signed a development deal with Universal Media Studios to star in a new hourlong drama series from Parenthood and Friday Night Lights exec producer Jason Katims. Our sister site TVLine broke the news today. That means Ritter will stick around at NBC, where his drama The Event aired for one season, and also stick with Katims, who cast him as Lauren Graham’s love interest last season on Parenthood. Ritter, repped by ICM and manager Joannie Burstein, will reprise that role this season on multiple episodes. What remains unclear is the fate of Ritter’s former series The Event, which we reported last month was trying to find a way to land on its feet at sister network Syfy. Talks about the financial feasibility of moving a network show to cable did take place, but it’s been quiet on that front for a while.
Kathleen Turner didn’t fare so well on Broadway this week when the addiction play High announced it would close days after its opening. She’s got another project premiering at the film festival further downtown. In The Perfect Family, Turner stars as a meddling matriarch and devout Catholic whose nomination for a church award makes her more determined to rein in her husband and two grown children into her image of what the perfect family should look like. The film also stars Emily Deschanel, Jason Ritter, Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Lawrence, Elizabeth Pena and Michael McGrady. Anne Renton makes her feature directing debut on a script written by Claire V. Riley and Paula Goldberg. The film gets its debut screening April 24. Here is a scene from the film that is exclusive to Deadline:
Distribution has been set for The Perfect Age of Rock N’ Roll, the drama directed by Scott Rosenbaum that stars Kevin Zegers, Jason Ritter, Taryn Manning and Peter Fonda. Red Hawk Films will release theatrically next year, and Entertainment One has acquired home video, TV, VOD and digital rights to a film that has played the festival circuit. Zegers plays a rock star who achieved fame and fortune on his first album, helped largely by songs written by his childhood friend and collaborator who bailed out on a second album that flopped. Desperate his career is over, the rocker heads home to rekindle the relationship with his former partner, and they find themselves on a road trip down Route 66, rediscovering their rock roots. Pic was produced by Scott Rosenbaum and Joseph White and Submarine’s Josh Braun brokered the distribution deal with Vicki Cherkas. Media 8′s selling international rights at AFM. Here’s the trailer: