Kevin Connolly, who helmed the Sundance short “Whatever We Do” featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Tim Roth, is set to make his feature debut on an Initial Entertainment Group-funded drama.
Pic, written by Nick Cassavetes, is based on the life of a San Fernando Valley drug dealer named Jesse James Hollywood. It will be produced by Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio. Production is set for fall.
Drama revolves around the drug dealer who landed on the FBI’s most wanted list for the kidnapping and murder of a teenager whose brother owed the dealer money. The 15-year-old was lured to Santa Barbara, where he hung out with the drug dealer’s associates. The thugs then hit the youth over the head with a shovel and shot him nine times. One killer got the death penalty, another a 25 years-to-life sentence. Hollywood is still at large.
“It’s a movie in the vein of ‘The Bully,’ about kids who get in over their heads,” said Connolly, a Long Island-bred actor-turned-director. “These kids weren’t necessarily terrible, but they got caught up in a horrible drama.”
Connolly, who’s repped by Evolution and ICM, began as a regular on the sitcom “Unhappily Ever After” and directed several episodes while starring for three seasons.
He met Cassavetes when he acted in his film “John Q” and recently completed “The Notebook.” Connolly got to know Maguire when his Maguire Entertainment produced “Whatever We Do.” Maguire and DiCaprio teamed as the latter’s shingle Appian Way has a production deal with Graham King’s IEG.