Alex Pettyfer, the British star of “Magic Mike,” “Endless Love” and last year’s “Elvis & Nixon,” is set to make his directorial debut with “Back Roads,” a murder mystery in which he will also star opposite Jennifer Morrison, Juliette Lewis and Nicola Peltz.
The drama marks the debut feature of Upturn Productions, the label set up by Pettyfer and partner Craig Robinson in 2015. Filming has begun in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Based on the 1999 debut novel of the same name by American author Tawni O’Dell, “Back Roads” tells the story of Harley Altmyer (Pettyfer), who finds himself caring for his three younger sisters following the death of their abusive father and imprisonment of their mother for his murder. Altmyer’s life takes a dangerous turn when he develops a relationship with a married mother of two and a series of staggering family secrets threatens to consume him. Eventually he finds himself the leading suspect in a local murder.
“Once Upon a Time” star Morrison co-stars in the film as Harley’s love interest, Callie Mercer. Lewis is set to play his mother. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” break-out star Peltz plays Harley’s 16-year-old sister.
“Back Roads” had originally been set to see the return to feature directing of Adrian Lyne, who adapted the novel alongside O’Dell. Lyne, whose last film as director was 2002’s “Unfaithful,” will now serve as executive producer. Infinity Media’s Michael Ohoven and Industry Entertainment’s Dan Spilo, who were previously attached to the project, will produce alongside Pettyfer and Robinson for Upturn.