Kat in a hot Austin indie summer; plus, 'How to Eat Fried Worms,' Jeffrey Travis, and the rest
Pepsi, Si; Fonzie, No: Yes, that was Hallie Kate Eisenberg, the girl from the 1998 Pepsi commercials, you saw roaming Austin. She's all grown up and starring as Erika, the tall girl in New Line and Walden Media's adaptation of Thomas Rockwell's book How to Eat Fried Worms, which shoots here through mid-September. Henry Winkler, Jane Seymour, and Lou Diamond Phillips are not in the film, despite reports (and a mysterious photo) in another publication. But rumor has it an Austin-based director who is not named Richard Linklater or Robert Rodriguez is in negotiations to play the dad. Meanwhile, the Travis Heights neighborhood, hit by a rash of car break-ins, might contain the film's biggest fans. A security guard keeping an eye on location equipment there recently nabbed a thief in action, film spokesperson Toni Atterbury reports.
Second Chance Squared: I last spoke to Jeffrey Travis in 2004 when he was shooting sample scenes at Austin Studios for a Fox TV pilot about a stick figure that comes to life. Fox passed, calling it too family-oriented for their demographics, but Nickelodeon is now taking a serious look at Except for Danny, which Travis, father of three, thinks is a perfect second chance for the project. Speaking of, Travis recently directed and produced Second Chance, a spec reality show pilot in which homeless families are given a place to live, job training, dental care, counseling, and of course a makeover. "Hopefully it does some social good instead of just providing entertainment," Travis says. "It's rewarding to be a part of." The local Salvation Army is involved, as well as an unnamed Austin businessman. Oh, and the ultra-busy Travis recently produced and directed second unit on Cake, a romantic comedy about a wedding gone wrong, which shot partially in Austin. It stars William Zabka (Johnny in The Karate Kid), Ann Cusack, Joe Estevez, Thomas Calabro, and G.W. Bailey.