By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com January 26, 2011 at 1:58AM
Michael Cera, Shannyn Sossamon, Amanda Seyfried, Jason Ritter Also In Cast
A year ago, it looked like indie veteran Mark Webber might be about to take a major leap in his career, as one of the more left-field choices among the top-notch ensemble of Edgar Wright's "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World." While Webber was terrific as the neurotic, fame-hungry Sex Bob-omb frontman Stephen Stills in the picture, the disappointing box office haul of the film meant that the actor hasn't quite cracked the mainstream yet, even if it's gone some way to helping things along.
Not that it's what Webber was necessarily interested in anyway; the actor's always lent towards the indie side of the spectrum, spending most of his career in films like "The Laramie Project," "Dear Wendy" and "Broken Flowers," as well as his directorial debut "Explicit Ills," and now news has broken of his sophomore effort behind the camera. The Hollywood Reporter confirms that production is underway on an untitled drama starring, written and directed by Webber. The hyphenate is also producing through his Poor Rich Kids production company.
The plot will focus on the relationship between a single father (Webber) and his two-year-old son after the death of the boy's mother, with the child role being played by Webber's own son. The actor is apparently taking pains to protect his offspring as much as possible from the filmmaking process, shooting on a DSLR camera, the Canon 5D (Lena Dunham's "Tiny Furniture" was shot on the similar 7D camera), with a minimal crew. Webber says "It's been really cool and eye-opening to limit the exposure to my son but create the scenes and moments that seem realistically uncomfortable. The blurring of boundaries and the overcompensation that you do with a child -- how you look to them for affection when it's not appropriate? It's been an exercise to capture real life moments and still tell a compelling story."
The story is apparently only a shade or two removed from Webber's own life (the actor was homeless as a child for some time, and he remains an advocate for homeless groups), and as such, some of Webber's Hollywood pals, including Amanda Seyfried, Shannyn Sossamon, Jason Ritter and, in his first role since "Scott Pilgrim," Michael Cera, will play versions of themselves, with Webber telling THR that "I'm getting them to show a real side of who they are and smash that up with people's expectations of celebrity."
Webber's debut "Explicit Ills" was decent, if not exceptional, but he showed plenty of potential, and as such, we're excited to see what he comes up with at his second time at bat, particularly with this promising cast in support. Filming's currently underway in Los Angeles on a budget south of $1 million, and we imagine we'll see it on the festival circuit by Sundance 2012 at the latest.