"Live like Jay," said the many followers and fans of Jay Moriarty, the young surfer who rode the fierce Mavericks. The North Californian patch of water was known for devouring surfer blood (the material, not the band), but surviving the trip was Moriarty, the central figure in Curtis Hanson's new film "Mavericks." 22-year-old Jonny Weston, currently working on the James Franco-led porn drama "Cherry," has been cast in the central role and will play Moriarty at 16, when he began training with Rick "Frosty" Hesson (the already attached Gerard Butler) to navigate the harsh waves.
Hanson's had a curious career so far, originally gaining a reputation for directing films far better than they should have been, whether it was taking "L.A. Confidential" from slick pulp to near-classic status, or turning "The River Wild" from goofball actioner to diverting, well-acted time-waster. His big-screen career dried up a bit with a few financial failures, but he gained a bit of heat by going to HBO this year, directing the solid financial drama "Too Big to Fail." His new one shouldn't lack for verisimilitude, as Weston is actually an accomplished surfer.
One curious wrinkle is Walden Media, who is producing the film and are expected to keep the picture in line with their family-friendly content. Walden almost exclusively backs kiddie fare, with films like the 'Narnia' series and offerings like "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" and a new "Benji" on the horizon. But FilmDistrict struck gold earlier this year with the family-centric "Soul Surfer" and there's reason to believe there's room for a few different interpretations on a surfing story made for the younger crowd, especially with Hanson involved.