Film News Roundup: Bill Bellamy, Julie Gonzalo to Star in Horror Film ‘The Great Illusion’

In today’s film news roundup, Bill Bellamy and Julie Gonzalo join “The Great Illusion,” Tommy Ragen gets the lead in “Chasing,” and shooting wraps on human-trafficking drama “Natalie.”

CASTINGS

Bill Bellamy, Julie Gonzalo, Ireland Basinger-Baldwin, and Ava Locklear are rounding out the cast of the horror-thriller “The Great Illusion,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Previously announced cast includes Graham Greene, Selma Blair, Glenn Morshower, Tokala Black Elk, Jon Lindstrom, Kenzie Dalton, and newcomer Oscar Cardenas. “The Great Illusion” is co-written by Cardenas and daughter Maria Gabriela Cardenas, who will direct as her feature film debut. Amy Williams is producing.

“The Great Illusion” follows a tortured FBI agent suffering from an irrational fear of darkness, as he investigates a mysterious former prostitute in order to catch a vicious serial killer. Production starts on June 4 in Los Angeles.

Bellamy hosts “Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?” Gonzalo starred in TNT’s “Dallas.”

Bellamy is repped by Innovative Artists and Barry Katz Entertainment. Gonzalo is repped by Innovative Artists and LINK Entertainment. Basinger-Baldwin is repped by Innovative Artists. Locklear is repped by TalentWorks and LINK Entertainment.

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Tommy Ragen, the 10-year-old guitar prodigy from Broadway’s “School of Rock” national tour, has landed the co-lead in Brookwell McNamara Entertainment’s “Chasing.”

Principal photography is set for this summer. Sean McNamara will direct from a screenplay by Matt Allen. The story centers on a music manager whose life is shattered when her brother (and lead vocalist) is killed in a tragic accident. A decade later, she meets a 10-year-old boy and becomes convinced he is the reincarnation of her brother.

“I have been a director/writer/producer for the past 30 years and I’ve seen a lot of kids, but Tommy is amazing,” said McNamara. “He has an awesome, raw and innocent quality. And with his extraordinary musical talents, this story is a perfect fit.”

Producers are David Brookwell and McNamara, who is represented by APA.

PRODUCTION WRAPS

Julia Sarah Stone, Martha Plimpton, and Peter Outerbridge are starring in the human-trafficking drama “Natalie,” which has just wrapped principal photography in Ontario, Variety has learned exclusively.

Sally Karam of Sixth Avenue Productions is producing and Damon D’Oliveira of Flimshow Inc. is exec producing with Rama Rau directing. The cast includes Steven Love, Connor Price, Michelle McLoed, and Sofia Banzhaf.

Rau is directing “Natalie” from a script by Bonnie Fairweather and Kathleen Hepburn. Stone portrays Natalie “Honey Bee” Sorensen, an underage truck stop prostitute trapped by her ruthless pimp boyfriend until she is transplanted into foster care with her new family, headed by Plimpton and Outerbridge’s characters in remote Northern Ontario.

“The time to tell Natalie’s story is now, when women’s stories are being told like never before, and more importantly, being heard,” Rau said. “Making this film has been exhilarating, intense and, at times painful, because the story doesn’t hesitate to go to some really dark places. It is very important for me to tell this story with authenticity and every decision I made when filming hinged on that one thought – are we telling her story from a real place or not?”

“Natalie” was made in association with the Northern Ontario Heritage Corporation, Ontario Media Development Corporation, Telefilm Canada, CBC – Breaking Barriers Film Fund, and Harold Greenberg Fund.

Plimpton recently starred in the ABC sitcom “The Real O’Neals.” Stone starred in the Syfy series “Aftermath.”

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