The Call Sheet

The Call Sheet

DEL TORO IN DETROIT: Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro stars in “Jimmy Picard,” currently filming in and around Detroit. Director is celebrated European filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin; producer Pascal Caucheteux’s credits include the Oscar-nominated 2009 French crime drama "A Prophet.”

OSCAR NOM KENDRICK TO CHICAGO: Indiewire is reporting that "Up in the Air" Best Actress nominee Anna Kendrick will be starring in "Drinking Buddies," the next feature from Chicago filmmaker and Sundance/SXSW regular Joe Swanberg. Production is reportedly starting up this month in Chicago, I'll keep you posted...

BEST MOVIE TITLE EVER: And that title is… “Death to Prom.” Currently filming in Minnesota, this feature offers a bizarre love triangle loaded with enough glamour and attitude for “Project Runway” & Vogue, but with enough heart to make Molly Ringwald bite her lip with anticipation. Co-directors are Jeremy Wilker (“Triumph67”) and Matt Stenerson, whose “Death to Prom” screenplay was a finalist for the McKnight Screenwriting Fellowship and the Zoetrope Screenplay Competition. Follow the film and check out a teaser at the best website name ever… Um, yeah, my prom experience was great. Really great.

ALEXANDER PAYNE SCOUTING: When one of the best filmmakers we have in America is even thinking about shooting in town, I gotta mention it. Oscar winner Alexander Payne was recently in the Chicagoland area scouting locations for his next feature “Nebraska.” Payne has reportedly targeted Oscar nom Bruce Dern and SNL great Will Forte to play the estranged father and son forced to take a road trip together from Montana to Omaha. Why is Payne looking here? Illinois has film incentives and Nebraska doesn’t so Paramount asked him to peruse Lincolnland. Considering that 1. the film is entitled “Nebraska,” 2. Payne is a Nebraska native and 3. he filmed “Election,” “About Schmidt” and “Citizen Ruth” in Nebraska, it might be a tough fight to bring this one to Illinois but as always, I’ll keep you posted!

GET ON YOUR BIKE: “The Alley Cat” follows a female bike messenger in Chicago who competes in an alley cat (that’s lingo for an underground bike messenger race) that becomes a spiritual and physical journey after the evening takes a hard turn. This feature reunites director Marie Ullrich and producer Kathryn Henderson, who teamed up for the BFI London Film Festival fave “Faster,” currently being distributed by Shorts International. Casting is underway, submissions can be sent to

CHRISTMAS IN JULY: “Scrooge & Marley” recently wrapped in Chicago and is headed into post-production. This feature from co-directors Peter Neville and film critic Richard Knight Jr. presents a modern-day variation on the Charles Dickens holiday classic, recounted from a gay sensibility, with heart, comedy and music. Executive producer is Tracy Baim, whose debut feature “Hannah Free,” starring Sharon Gless, also filmed in Chicago. Cast features SNL legend Tim Kazurinsky as Marley and Chicago native David Pevsner as Scrooge, with Emmy winner Bruce Vilanch stepping in as Fezziwig. More from this film at

POWERS STILL KICKING: The one remaining pilot from 2011 that Chicago is still awaiting word on is the FX endeavor “Powers” and while most of us have long forgotten about this one, apparently it is still kicking. Producer and head writer of the proposed series Charles Eglee recently declared that the rewrites and reshoots are “actually moving forward.” “Powers” comic creator Brian Bendis confirmed via tumblr: “Based on the pilot the network ordered a handful of new scripts for new episodes and the writers should be handing them in soon. It’s slow and steady but we are still alive."

Is your film heading into production? Please drop me a note at and tell me all about it. I’ll do my best to include it in “The Call Sheet.”

Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival, Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at