Acclaimed writer/directors Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck's new film It's Kind of a Funny Story, will begin production in New York City in early December and has confirmed casting for eight key roles. Focus Features holds worldwide rights to the project, which it is co-financing with Wayfare Entertainment. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
Kevin Misher, who most recently produced Michael Mann's Public Enemies and Dito Montiel's Fighting, is producing It's Kind of a Funny Story through his Misher Films with Wayfare Entertainment's Ben Browning. Wayfare's Michael Maher and Peter Rawlinson are executive producers; the company is in pre-production on the 3-D underwater epic Sanctum, to be executive-produced by James Cameron.
Keir Gilchrist, who stars as the title character's son on the hit television series United States of Tara, will play the film's lead role. Costarring will be Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Emma Roberts (of the upcoming Valentine's Day), Academy Award nominee Viola Davis (Doubt), Zoe Kravitz (The Brave One), Aasif Mandvi (The Proposal), Lauren Graham (of this winter's NBC series Parenthood), and Jim Gaffigan (of Focus' Away We Go).
The comedy-drama has been adapted by Ms. Boden & Mr. Fleck from Ned Vizzini's 2006 novel of the same name; 16-year-old Craig (to be played by Mr. Gilchrist), stressed out from the demands of being a teenager, checks himself into a mental health clinic. There he learns that the youth ward is closed - and finds himself stuck in the adult ward. One of the patients, Bobby (Mr. Galifianakis), soon becomes both Craig's mentor and protégé. Craig is also quickly drawn to another 16-year-old, Noelle (Ms. Roberts). With a minimum five days' stay imposed on him, Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up. Ms. Davis will play Dr. Minerva, the adult ward's staff psychiatrist; Ms. Kravitz will portray Nia, Craig's longtime crush; Mr. Mandvi is cast as Dr. Mahmoud, a hospital psychiatrist; and Ms. Graham and Mr. Gaffigan play Craig's parents, Lynn and George.
The movie is the third feature from the filmmaking team of Ms. Boden & Mr. Fleck, following Half Nelson (2006), for which lead actor Ryan Gosling received an Academy Award nomination, and Sugar, which was released theatrically earlier this year. Focus director of production Matthew Plouffe is supervising It's Kind of a Funny Story for president of production John Lyons.
Mr. Schamus said, "Anna & Ryan are two of today's finest independent filmmakers. The compassion they always show towards the characters in their movies will be particularly in evidence in this humane comedy, especially as performed by these wonderful actors."