Ramin Bahrani Casts Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron In New Project; Also, Pigs Can Apparently Fly Now

by Oliver Lyttelton
May 15, 2011 11:39 AM
7 Comments
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Ramin Bahrani is pretty ace. The Iranian-American director broke through with 2005's terrific "Man Push Cart," and then followed it up swiftly with 2007's "Chop Shop" and 2008's "Goodbye Solo." There's not a bad film among them, all three humane, touching and cosmopolitan, and he's one of the most interesting young filmmakers around -- Roger Ebert even went as far as to call him the filmmaker of the decade in 2009. But strangely, we've not covered the director that much here at The Playlist: his last film hit theaters in 2008, and sadly new work, aside from the Werner Herzog-featuring short "Plastic Bag," hasn't really been forthcoming.

But word's come in from Cannes that the filmmaker has a new project going, and it for the first time, it's attracted the attention of some big names. And you might be expecting the Sean Penns or the Michael Shannons of the world to be circling the film, but the names might be surprise you: Variety report that Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron, of all people, are attached to star in an untitled drama that Bahrani will write and direct.

The film will involve a farmer (presumably Quaid), whose plans to expand cause conflict with his wife and sons (one of whom we assume will be Efron). A diverse range of companies are backing the project, including Killer Films, the company run by indie film legend Christine Vachon, London's Bankside Films and Benaroya Pictures ("Margin Call").

While the cast aren't exactly what we were expecting from Bahraini, we're intrigued; Quaid can be a fine actor when allowed to be, and Efron's making a real issue to break away from his "High School Musical" background, with his connection to more adult projects like "Snabba Cash," "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman" and, as announced on Friday, Lee Daniels' noir thriller "The Paperboy," and this is certainly the biggest step in that direction so far. Filming's meant to get underway later in the summer, and we expect to see further casting announcements fairly soon.

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More: Actors, Ramin Bahrani, Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid

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7 Comments

  • Shawn | May 17, 2011 11:15 AMReply

    Had Bahrani not stated Goodbye Solo was his tribute to Taste of Cherry NOBODY would have made the connection. They are not the same film at all.

    This guy is a good young director and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

  • scribe | May 17, 2011 8:00 AMReply

    Looks like chris and yer wants more Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or GI Joe 2 bull sh#%. You are both very sad little men and should be excised from this site- go to deadline where all the other d-bags go.

    Thank god this guy is back to work. Ebert's analysis is spot on- the kid knows how to shoot on virtually no budget with attention to detail rivaling Malick or Kazan. He will become the great actor's director of our time, right behind Aronofsky. If you haven't seen Man Push Cart, it is a modern interpretation of De Sica's masterworks Shoeshine and The Bicycle Thief.

  • The Playlist | May 16, 2011 11:57 AMReply

    "we’ve not covered the director that much here at The Playlist:"

    True, to some extent, but "Goodbye Solo" was on my 2009 Best Films list, fyi.


    http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2010/01/playlists-best-films-of-2009-editors.html

  • yer | May 16, 2011 4:40 AMReply

    Easily one of the most overrated directors out there. Seems like people are so desperate for some decent "realism" in American cinema that they latch onto anyone who makes anything near it. This guys films are contrived as hell and will age horribly. On top of that his best film is just a rehash of Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry.

  • Christopher Bell | May 16, 2011 4:13 AMReply

    His films always seemed a little too calculated to me. I liked them fine, but they always felt somewhat stiff.

  • actionman | May 16, 2011 1:59 AMReply

    Goodbye Solo is a small gem; a masterwork for sure. I need to see his other two films. His short film with Herzog was sublime.

  • jane | May 16, 2011 1:47 AMReply

    Good director, good cast . Goodbye solo was a very good movie. The director is undoubtedly very good. I am sure abt this movie to be good.

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