×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cannes: Tom Arnold Boards Indie Comedy ‘Landline’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Tom Arnold, Nick Searcy (“Justified”), Jim O’Heir (“Parks and Recreation”), Betsy Brandt (“Breaking Bad”), James DuMont (“Trumbo”), Louis Lombardi (“24”), Jay Washington (“Chi-Raq”) and entertainment journalist Bruce Fretts are coming aboard writer-director-star Matthew Aaron’s indie comedy “Landline.”

The feature follows PR exec Ted Gout (Aaron) who, after becoming stressed out over work, marriage and social media, gives up his cell phone and goes “off the grid” in favor of more manageable ’90s technology. Each day Gout grows a little bit crazier, while his wife tries to hold their marriage together.

Arnold and O’Heir play Gout’s dad and uncle, respectively. DuMont and Lombardi’s characters introduce him to two widely divergent technological paths. Brandt plays Gout’s boss, Washington plays his best friend, Fretts (in a film acting debut) plays his cable guy cousin and Searcy plays the detective who investigates him for a crime he may or may not have committed.

“It’s about the pros and cons of how our lives have been overrun by technology, where everything’s on Snapchat and Instagram, done very much in the way Albert Brooks does his films,” Aaron says.

“Landline” is set to begin principal photography on June 6, shooting entirely on location in Chicago. Additional cast will be added over the next few weeks.

The independently financed “Landline” is produced by Aaron, Anthony Guiliano, Leonard Cannata, Patrick Tobias and Steve Weirich.

This is the third feature for Chicago-based comedian Aaron, host of the web radio series “The Matthew Aaron Show.” His two previous films as writer, director and star — the relationship comedy “Bromance” and the divorce dramedy “The Way We Talk” — are currently on the festival circuit. He and Joe Carnahan recently exec produced the talk show pilot “Dine and Dash” featuring Common, Lucy Lawless, Kate Walsh and Dermot Mulroney.

Aaron met most of the acclaimed cast members on his radio talk show. “I told Betsy [Brandt] and all of these people, ‘I want to be the Ed Burns of Chicago.’ They really took to that and loved the script,” he says. The producers are now seeking domestic and international distribution for “Landline.”

Brandt stars in “Life in Pieces,” which was just renewed for a second season.

Arnold is repped by ICM, MGMT Entertainment and Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman. O’Heir is repped by Bensky Entertainment. Brandt is repped by TalentWorks and Patty Woo Management. Searcy is repped by APA and Haven Entertainment. DuMont is repped by Buffalo 8 Management. Washington is repped by Artistic Talent.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • San-Sebastian

    LargoAI Wins Inaugural San Sebastian Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Swiss artificial intelligence and data analytics company LargoAI won Sunday’s first-ever San Sebastian Film Festival Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge. LargoAI’s software provides data-driven filmmaking strategies, similar to those used by major VOD platforms which aggregate and often horde their own user-driven data. From early in the screenwriting process through development and [...]

  • MARIANA-RONDÓN-MARITÉ-UGÁS

    FiGa Snags 'Contactado,' By The Team Behind San Sebastian Winner 'Pelo Malo' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sandro Fiorin’s FiGa Films has picked up worldwide sales rights to “Contactado,” the upcoming feature by Sudaca Films’ Marité Ugás and Mariana Rondón, the duo behind San Sebastian 2013 Golden Shell winner, “Pelo Malo.” The Sudaca partners are attending San Sebastian to pitch Rondón-helmed project “Zafari” at the 8th Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum. Directed by [...]

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    'Ad Astra' Lifts Above Competition at International Box Office With $26 Million

    Though “Ad Astra” was overthrown by the Crawley family at the domestic box office, Brad Pitt’s astronaut drama reigned supreme at the international box office. Directed by James Gray, “Ad Astra” launched overseas with $26 million from 44 foreign markets. The $80 million sci-fi epic debuted in North America with $19.2 million, bringing global box [...]

  • hugh jackman tiff bad education

    Toronto's Biggest Deal Goes to HBO: A Sign of the Future? (Column)

    When it comes to how we’ll be watching movies — or, at least, watching serious dramas for adults — in the future, here are two stark and timely contradictory facts: 1. Last week, as the Toronto International Film Festival drew to a close, a deal that had been in the rumor stage for a while [...]

  • 'Talking About Trees' Helmer Suhaib Gasmelbari

    'Talking About Trees' Director Suhaib Gasmelbari Receives Variety MENA Award

    Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose Sudanese documentary “Talking About Trees” premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section, received the Variety Middle East and North Africa Region Talent Award Saturday at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt from festival director Intishal Al Timimi. Variety critic Jay Weissberg, who selected the honoree, said that it is not usual that [...]

  • Josefina-Molina

    Josefina Molina: Still Battling After All These Years

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — She isn’t done yet. The battling character of Josefina Molina, winner of Spain’s 2019 National Cinematography Prize, was glimpsed in her acceptance speech at the San Sebastian Festival on Saturday. She used part to thank those who had given crucial help, such as, among women, editors Nieves Martin (1981’s “Función de Noche,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content