James Cox (‘Wonderland’) Directing
Talk about your random casting. “True Blood” star Anna Paquin, Ryan Phillippe and Luke Wilson have joined the cast of the Nu Image/Millennium Films dramedy “Straight A’s.” Directing the picture is James Cox, who hasn’t helmed a feature-length motion-picture since 2003’s “Wonderland” starring Val Kilmer as the infamous porn star John Holmes.
Written by Dave Cole, the picture chronicles the life of a man (Phillippe) who’s struggled with addiction and rehab clinics for over ten years. Making matters worse, the man is haunted by the ghost of his dead mother, pressing him to return to the family he forsook years ago. Equipped with pills and weed, he returns to Shreveport, Louisiana and finds his brother’s wife who is still in love with him.
So it’s a love triangle, Phillipe playing the fuck-up, Wilson playing his brother and Paquin playing the wife. Riley Thomas Stewart (“The Beaver“) will play Phillippe’s son. Now the question is why these actors are actually starring in this film.
Wilson we get. He can buy some groceries now with this picture. But Paquin is a relatively big TV star now thanks to “True Blood” and Phillippe, well, yeah, his career is really uneven and he’s never been able to nab a leading man role that’s really thrusted him onto the A-list even though he’s flirted with those options (see: when he was up for “Captain America“).
Millennium is known for B-movies like “Conan the Barbarian,” “The Mechanic,” “Drive Angry 3D,” “The Expendables” and the likes so it’s curious why they’re veering into dramedy territory, other than actor Scoot McNairy (“Monsters“) who is one of the producers strangely enough. When they have ventured into indie territory — “Brooklyn’s Finest,” “The Son of No One” — the results have not been exactly stellar. Hell, this film is obviously set in Louisiana due to tax incentives. This is of course, the company that placed a “Bad Lieutenant” reboot in The Big Easy simply for tax credits. OK, we’re being unduly harsh here, but if this film gets a proper theatrical release, we’ll be surprised. [Variety]