AnnaSophia Robb is set to co-star opposite Charlie Plummer (All the Money in the World) and Taylor Russell (Lost in Space) in the Thor Freudenthal-directed film adaptation ofWords On Bathroom Walls, based on Julia Waltons debut novel. Plummer plays Adam, a high schooler living with paranoid schizophrenia and battling wild hallucinations. Luckily, an experimental drug trial promises to help hide his illness from his peers and most importantly from Maya, the girl of his dreams. Robb will play Rebecca, one of the main characters in Adams hallucinations who acts as a conduit for the feelings that he cannot express. Nick Naveda wrote the screenplay which LD Entertainment financing and Mickey Liddell and Pete Shilaimon are producing. Robb, whose upcoming projects include the supernatural drama, Down A Dark Hall for Lionsgate, Freakshow, produced by Drew Barrymores Flower Films, and the PBS Civil War mini-series Mercy Street, is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.
Actor Richie Stephens (Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds) has been cast in the female-centered WWII spy drama titled Miss Atkins Army, which will star Stana Katic, Sarah Megan Thomas, and Radhika Apte. Lydia Dean Pilcher is directing the pic, which is based on the real-life spies in Winston Churchills “secret army.” It follows British intelligence officer Vera Atkins (Katic) and two of the women she sends to France as spies, Virginia Hall (Thomas) and Noor Inayat Khan (Apte). Stephens will play Training Officer John in the film, which Thomas wrote and will produce with Pilcher. Filming is slated to being in the spring. Stephens is repped by SMS, Green Room Entertainment and Revolution Talent in London.
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.