Film News

Burnt Orange has been living in a cave, while Texas looks to be trending toward Santos; plus, 'Ape Shit,' 'Chainsaw,' and 'The Breakdance Kid'

Filmus Nextus

Carolyn Pfeiffer, head of Burnt Orange Films, was about to tour area caves the other day as the University of Texas at Austin's film branch embarks on its third feature film, a caveman comedy tentatively titled Homo Erectus and starring, written by, and directed by Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City). The project, slated to go before the lens Nov. 7, replaces country musical Austin Angel, which was pushed back so that director Zalman King could take on a higher-profile project. But Pfeiffer says Burnt Orange remains committed to Angel, as well as to Terrence Malick-produced The Marfa Lights, which is expected to be filmed in the spring. Off the development slate is A West Texas Children's Story, which couldn't pull together financing. "With great sadness we had to let it go," Pfeiffer says. Homo Erectus came to Burnt Orange's attention in July, when Jared Hoffman, a UT alumnus and Rifkin's agent, sent along the script. He was sent back photos of Central Texas caves, and the wheels started turning. Casting is in full swing both in Los Angeles and Austin for the film, described as in the vein of Woody Allen's early comedies like Bananas. Pfeiffer just saw a rough cut of Burnt Orange's last project, The Cassidy Kids, and reports she and Tom Schatz of the UT Film Institute are enthusiastic about the Jacob Vaughan/Bryan Poyser project.

Texas "Wing'?

What television show set in the White House is considering filming part of its upcoming campaign season in Austin? Here's a hint: One of the upcoming candidates for prez on the show is a totally fictional character – a Texas liberal. Also in the shameless rumor department, CBS is said to be scouting Austin for a romantic drama pilot that would be set here.

Madonna Drives Me Ape

Bob Ray and Jerry Clark (he was Toe in Ray's Rock Opera) of CrashCam Films have signed a deal with Madonna's Maverick to create Ape Shit, an animated television series that Ray describes as "gut-busting, smart/lowbrow, down-and-dirty, pseudo-intelligent potty humor." Meanwhile, Ray's roller-derby documentary Hell on Wheels has been pared down to 85 lean, mean minutes, and an original score is in the works.

Casting Call

Joining Jordana Brewster in the cast of Platinum Dunes' The Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel are Taylor Handley (The OC), soap star Matthew Bomer, and Diora Baird (Playboy playmate from August). Oh, and the film recently put out a call for someone to play a 10-year-old Leatherface. Meanwhile, the other Baldwin brother, Daniel, has joined the cast of Pepe Serna-starrer Clean Sweep.

And the Rest

The Austin Movie Show is outliving the Austin Music Network. You can join their weekly tapings at 7pm on Sundays at the Paggi House or catch up on the Web at Encore Video is moving down the road apiece from its current Burnet Road spot come Nov. 6. Look for your favorite flicks and CDs at 1745 W. Anderson Ln.... P.J. Raval took the Haskell Wexler Award for his cinematography on Kyle Henry's Room from the recent Woodstock Film Festival... Lubbock Lights, the documentary about how great music comes mysteriously from the flat environs up yonder, is out on DVD. More at University of Texas grad Amy Hassler is an executive producer for Rhythm & Hues, the Los Angeles-based animation and visual effects studio that worked on groundbreaking effects for the upcoming Christmas blockbuster The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe... The Breakdance Kid, which showed at last year's Austin Film Festival, comes out on DVD on Oct. 25 and will be available at Netflix, Amazon, Target, and evil, evil Blockbuster. Crockett High School teacher Larry McLaughlin's Austin-shot film transports us back to the Eighties for a tale of "love, rivalry, and parachute pants."… There will be a screening for Viva Les Amis, the documentary about Austin's beloved Les Amis Cafe, on Saturday at 8:30pm at Spiderhouse, 2908 Fruth. DVDs of the film will be available for purchase. Visit for more information.

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Caroline Pfeiffer, Burnt Orange, Adam Rifkin, Homo Erectus, Austin Angel, Bob Ray, Jerry Clark, Ape Shit, The Breakdance Kid, Jordana Brewster, Austin Movie Show, P.J. Raval

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