Rebel Wilson is making his feature film directorial debut with the musical comedy “The Deb,” a big screen adaptation of an Australian musical set in the outback.
The film is produced by Amanda Ghost, Len Blavatnik and Gregor Cameron through their company Unigram, which most recently produced the Apple TV+ movie “Tetris” and sister organization AI Film (“I, Tonya”). The project was launched around the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday at a private event aboard billionaire investor Blavatnik’s yacht, where Australian musical artists performed several songs on the vessel’s upper deck.
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Blavatnik, wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with branding for the film, introduced the singers, making it clear to the intimate gathering aboard his three-story yacht that he was an enthusiastic supporter of the project and, in fact, Wilson.
Diversity caught up on the boat with the “Pitch Perfect” star, who also has a role in the film. Wilson explained.
“I’ve always just been watching as an actress — watching, watching, watching — and then I made a lot of things with musical numbers in them, like ‘Senior Year’ on Netflix, which has a lot of cheerleading routines. Were,” continued Wilson. “Everybody was saying, ‘You should direct!’ … I just started getting offers from studios to direct movies, so I was like, ‘Oh my god, if I have to take a year out of my life and not be an actress and be a director, it has to be something like Which I am passionate about in a big way.
Originally premiering at Sydney’s Australian Theater for Young People in 2022, “The Deb” theater production was written by Hannah Reilly (“Sheilas”) and features original vocals by singer-songwriter Meg Washington (“The Beach”). Lyrics included.
The musical follows lovable farm girl Taylah Simpkins (Natalie Abbott) out of high school and the upcoming Debutante Ball, nicknamed “Deb.” . When her eccentric city cousin Maeve (Charlotte McInnes) is exiled to the drought-stricken town of Dunburn by Tayla, she thinks the ball is a “heterosexual shit-show” and immediately disrupts the status quo. In their search for the spotlight, Teela and Maeve dig deep to find self-acceptance – and a date for Deb.
Production is due to begin in Australia in September.
“My skill set has always been musical comedy,” said Wilson. “From my first productions as a playwright, they were all musical comedies, where I wrote the music for those back in the day. this only Therefore My style which I thought, out of the other films that were offered to me, this is something (I am familiar with).
“The Deb” would be produced in partnership with Wilson’s Camp Sugar Productions (“Senior Years”) and Australian producer Bunya Productions (“The Drover’s Wife”). Danny Cohen executive produces from Access Entertainment.
The adaptation will feature a cast of rising Australian stars including Charlotte McInnes, who played Maeve in the Australian musical; award-nominated Natalie Abbott; and Stevie Jean. Other Australian talent in the film includes Tara Morris, Jay Laga, Shane Jacobson and Wilson.
Wilson references Australian films such as “Muriel’s Wedding” and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” as cultural touchpoints for the project. “I really love seeing my culture on screen,” said the Sydney-raised actor. “[Those movies]are so important to me and I really wanted to make a movie that was like a modern version of them. Those movies have so much charm, they’re so colorful, and they’re so funny. And they have real Heart is
Amanda Ghost at Unigram said: “It’s a pleasure partnering with the extraordinarily talented Rebel Wilson on The Deb. It’s a project that is very intrinsic to Rebel and her Australian roots. As she introduced us to the music Karaya and talked about the film, we know this brilliant script and unforgettable musical numbers will have a new life in their capable hands. We can’t wait for the world to see ‘The Deb’.
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