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Screen Media Films has acquired North American rights to ensemble drama “About Alex” following its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Jason Ritter, Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Nate Parker, Max Minghella, Maggie Grace and Jane Levy star. The film will be released in theaters and on VOD day-and-date on Aug. 8.

The film is directed by Jesse Zwick from his own script and produced by Adam Saunders. Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz are the exec producers.

The story involves a circle of twenty-something friends reunite for a weekend away after Alex, portrayed by Ritter, suffers an emotional breakdown.



Aubrey Plaza was terror-stricken when she arrived at the abandoned Catskills ski lodge that served as the set of her indie film About Alex — so much so that she became closer to her castmates than originally expected.

“I forced Jane [co-star Jane Levy] to move in with me because I was terrified I would get murdered by some mountain person,” confesses Plaza, one of the lead characters in the film about a group of old college friends who reunite over a long weekend to bond after one of their pals attempts suicide. “I felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, and it was totally creepy.”
With little to do during the off-hours, Plaza — who plays Sarah, an attorney who turns to cooking to de-stress when emotions run high during the drama-filled reunion — decided to dedicate her free time to cooking.
“One of the first nights I was there, I decided that I was going to cook for people,” says the Parks and Recreation actress, who made spaghetti dinners for castmates Levy, Max Greenfield, Jason Ritter, Max Minghella, Nate Parker, Adam Saunders, and Maggie Grace. “I was going to be that person in real life to help get into character.”

The experience of bunking up and cooking in a rustic cabin in upstate New York ultimately proved ideal in cultivating the type of longtime friendship depicted in About Alex. “It felt extremely honest, especially in the way that everyone gathers together after so much time,” says Greenfield, who plays snobbish graduate student Josh. “And I know that I was first drawn in because I thought that it would be fun to hang out with this group for a month and really go after this material.”
Plaza agrees, adding that the cast — largely first-time acquaintances — had some extra help when it came to bonding. In keeping with their rustic location, some old-fashioned summer camp-style group exercises were in order. Debut director and screenwriter Jesse Zwick organized an activity where the cast sat in a circle and “with our eyes closed, we talked through our characters and how they related to one another,” says Plaza. “That was really impactful, because it was one of those elementary-school moments where everyone had to have a quiet moment, which doesn’t happen with adults very often.”
In the movie however, the gang discovers that maintaining friendship isn’t easy once the frat parties and late-night dorm gab sessions are over; they find that limited interaction through social media can distort relationships, testing even the most sincere of intentions.
“I felt that within a few pages of reading the script, that it immediately grabbed me in a way that is pretty unusual,” says Greenfield, who plays Schmidt on New Girl. “It really inspired me to go after this material and story, which are so different from what I do week in and week out.”
And although Greenfield didn’t pick up cooking like Plaza, he says he did leave set a bit wiser.
“In real life, I am not very smart or educated,” jokes Greenfield. “So with all the smart references that my character makes that I was forced to look up, I do feel like I can walk away learning something from this guy that was a lifelong college student.”

About Alex premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday.

BANG BANG BABY is a musical about Stepphy (Jane Levy), who lives in the sleepy 1960′s town of Lonely Arms with her alcoholic father (Peter Stormare). Stepphy’s dream of escaping to a better life on the stage and screen seems to be coming true when rock star Bobby Shore’s (Justin Chatwin) car breaks down in Lonely Arms. But Fabian, the town creep, tells her that the local chemical factory is leaking dangerous purple fumes that can cause human mutations. Stepphy becomes obsessed with hiding these dark secrets from Bobby.

When you live too much in your fantasies, reality begins to look like a nightmare…

Writer/director Jeffrey St Jules developed Bang Bang Baby at the Cannes Film Festival Residence program. His short films have screened internationally and he is a past attendee of the TIFF and Berlin Talent Labs. Produced by Daniel Bekerman and Christina Piovesan, Bang Bang Baby is St Jules’ first feature film.


Jeffrey St. Jules will direct the movie, which is a co-production between Scythia Films and JoBro Productions

Jane Levy (“Suburgatory”), Justin Chatwin (“Shameless”) and Peter Stormare (“Fargo”) will star in director Jeffrey St. Jules’ indie movie “Bang Bang Baby” for Scythia Films and JoBro Productions, TheWrap has learned.

Principal photography began earlier this week in Toronto.

“Bang Bang Baby” is a 1960s musical about Stepphy (Levy), who lives in the sleepy town of Lonely Arms with her alcoholic father, played by Stormare. Stepphy’s dream of escaping to a better life on the stage and screen seems to be coming true when rock star Bobby Shore’s (Chatwin) car breaks down in Lonely Arms. When the town creep tells Stepphy that the local chemical factory is leaking dangerous purple fumes that can cause human mutations, she becomes obsessed with hiding the dark secret from Bobby.

The film is produced by Daniel Bekerman, Jonathan Bronfman (son of movie mogul Paul Bronfman) and Don Allan, while executive producers are Christina Piovesan, Lon Molnar, Mark Gingras and Ethan Lazar.

“Bang Bang Baby” is a Scythia Films/JoBro Production with the participation of Telefilm Canada and The Harold Greenberg Fund.

VFX company Intelligent Creatures (“Watchmen”) is involved with the project, which apparently named Chatwin’s character after its cinematographer Bobby Shore (“Goon”).

“This movie is poppy and shiny on the outside and on the inside it’s a pretty gritty psychological portrait of a young woman who lives too much inside her own dreams,” said Bekerman. “Jane Levy and Justin Chatwin’s charisma and iconic quality make them fun to watch and they’re also capable of conveying a lot of depth. Peter Stormare is so exciting as George, because he can use humor to communicate the pathos of a character like nobody else can. They all tuned into Jeffrey’s vision really fast which makes us feel like we’re on the right track.”

St. Jules is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has screened at Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival. He developed “Bang Bang Baby” in the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéfondation residency program.

Levy is represented by WME and the Burstein Company, while Chatwin is repped by UTA and Alchemy Entertainment. Stormare is represented by ICM Partners and Silver Linings Entertainment.

Evil Dead’s Jane Levy and X-Men: First Class’ Lucas Till are, according to TheWrap, being eyed by Paramount Pictures to take leading roles in the upcoming Monster Trucks. The live action/CGI hybrid is to be directed by Chris Wedge (Ice Age, Epic).

The screenplay for Monster Trucks arrives from Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who also wrote DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda and Paramount Animation’s upcoming SpongeBob SquarePants sequel.

No plot details have been revealed as of yet, although a release date of May 29, 2015 has already been set. That’s likely to shift, however, unless Paramount gives Monster Trucks a green light and moves into production immediately.



The actress tells TheWrap that the changes made for Season 3 were unexpectedly beneficial for the ABC comedy

When ABC’s critically acclaimed fish-out-of-water comedy, “Suburgatory,” returns for its third season, two major players will be missing from Chatswin.

As part of its deal, show producers, Warner Bros. Television, had to let go of series regulars Alan Tudyk, who played Noah Werner, George Altman’s (Jeremy Sisto) best friend; and Rex Lee, who played the Chatswin High School’s guidance counselor, Mr. Wolf, among other cost cuts.

But, star Jane Levy, who plays Tessa Altman, said that the changes were actually good for the show.

We, of course, miss the presence of Rex and Alan all the time,” Levy told TheWrap. “But, I think actually it strengthened our show in that all of our storylines had to be condensed and that’s the price of less people.

I think that the stories became stronger, the script became stronger, and I don’t think that anyone was really expecting that,” she continued. “Now that there are seven characters I think that’s been a surprise that we’ve noticed, less storyline so more time to exist in them and experience them and I think that’s a good thing.

Levy did tell us that Tudyk appears on at least three episodes this season.

In addition to Tudyk and Lee, Parker Young, who played Ryan Shay, didn’t return to the show this season. Not only did his character leave for college, but Young found a new gig. He’s currently starring on new military comedy, “Enlisted,” on Fox.

What does that mean for Tessa and Ryan’s off-and-on romance?

I think there is a big part of her that regrets not giving it more of a fight when they broke up, not trying harder for them to be together,” Levy said.

The good news is that Tessa may get a second chance. Young does come back for a few episodes this season.

“Suburgatory” returns Wednesday 8:30/7:30c on ABC. Visit ABC.com for more on the show.