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Aisha Tyler to Make Feature Directing Debut on Kickstarter-Funded ‘Axis’

Aisha Tyler is heading towards “Axis” as her first feature directing gig, thanks to a week-old Kickstarter campaign she launched to fund the thriller.

Plans are to start shooting for nine days in Los Angeles in June. The cast includes Emily Bett Rickards (“Arrow”), Jerry Ferrara (“Entourage”), Amber Nash (“Archer”), Paula Malcomson (“Ray Donovan”), Ted McGinley, Jonathan Sadowski and Jean-Luc Bilodeau.

Emmett Hughes wrote the script about an Irish actor, set on the morning he is set to star in a career-changing blockbuster film. As he tries to live down his rocky past, he confronts a series of devastating events that threaten his sobriety, his loved ones, and ultimately his life.

“Because we have such limited time, the lead actor is learning and rehearsing the entire film like one would a play, and that’s how we’ll shoot it,” Tyler said. “He’s the only actor on screen for much of the film so this thing will live and die by how prepared he is. We’re in rehearsals now and plan to shoot first week of June.”

As of 6 p.m. PST Tuesday, the campaign had raised $71,703 from 679 backers. The campaign, which has a goal of $150,000, will close on May 5.

Tyler directed a short film titled “Ar Scáth le Chéile” in Galway, Ireland, last winter starring Hughes. The film’s been accepted to the Newport Beach Film Festival and will screen there April 24.

In addition to being on “The Talk” every weekday, she’s a series regular on “Archer” and “Criminal Minds,” as well as host of “Whose Line Is It Anyway.”

Tyler told Variety that the entire film, with the exception of a few exterior shots at the beginning, will be shot from inside the lead character’s car.

“The intent is to rig and light the entire vehicle at the beginning and then adjust as photography continues, rather than to shoot in a more traditional master/coverage/coverage pattern,” she said. “At times the angles will be turned inward and at other times outward but the idea is to spend minimal time changing setups so that we can focus on the work.”

She also plans to shoot the script in its entirety each day, giving her the opportunity to make both global and minute adjustments in the next day’s work.

“Hopefully it will also allow room for creative serendipity — when a movie has this little time you typically can’t make space for creative play but I’m hoping we’ll have a bit of time each day to find something unexpected, whether in performance or photography,” Tyler added. “As we’re shooting digital, the main limitation on takes will be human error and or/exhaustion. Which is an ever-present threat.”

The idea is to make maximum use of the nine days, she added. “It’s a pretty aggressive approach but the only way something this compressed works is through intense prep beforehand, and extreme aggression on the day,” Tyler said.

Supporters of the campaign include Seth MacFarlane, Curtis Stone, Rob Riggle, Alfre Woodard, Angie Harmon, Taye Diggs, Rickards, Jared Padalecki, Nathan Fillion, LeVar Burton, Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, Leland Orser, Yvette Nicole Brown, Paget Brewster, Kamau Bell, Bill Burr and Jessica Walters.

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