Film News Roundup: Evangeline Lilly, Ike Barinholtz Starring in ‘Happy Life’ Comedy

In today’s film news roundup, Evangeline Lilly, Ike Barinholtz and Mike Manning get acting jobs, “Easy Rider” returns and Gravitas buys “Chasing Molly.”


Evangeline Lilly and Ike Barinholtz have joined the independent comedy “Happy Life” with David Stassen (“The Mindy Project”) set to write and direct his debut feature film.

Stassen and Barinholtz are also serving as producers alongside Andrew Robinson and Aperture Media Productions. Highland Film Group has come on board to handle international sales which will begin in Cannes this month. UTA Independent Film Group is handling the U.S. sale.

Lilly will portray a new mom who suspects her workaholic husband, played by Barinholtz, of having an affair with an Instagram star. One mistake after another leads her into the arms of a younger man as she struggles to come to terms with her life decisions and be the mother she aspires to be. Principal photography will commence this summer.

Lilly starred in “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Avengers: Endgame” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Barinholtz has starred in “Suicide Squad,” “Blockers,” “Neighbors and will next appear in Amazon’s upcoming film “Late Night” alongside Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling.


Mike C. Manning (Disney’s “Cloud 9”) has been cast in “Son of the South,” directed by Barry Alexander Brown in an adaption of Bob Zellner’s autobiography, “The Wrong Side Of Murder Creek.”

Brown’s frequent collaborator Spike Lee is on board as an executive producer along with him. Manning joins previously announced stars Lucas Till, Lucy Hale, Lex Scott Davis, Julia Ormond, Cedric the Entertainer, Chaka Forman, Sharone Lanier, Brian Dennehy and Jake Abel.

Written by Brown, the civil rights era drama follows the true-life story of Zellner, an Alabama native and the grandson of a Birmingham Klansman who is pulled into the very center of the civil rights movement in 1961. Manning will play the role of Townsend Ellis, best friend of Zellner (Lucas Till).


Fathom Events and Sony Pictures will present 1969’s “Easy Rider” on July 14 and 17 on more than 400 movie screens across the country.

“Easy Rider” originally opened July 14, 1969. “In 1969, I went looking for America,” star Peter Fonda said. “Fifty years later, I’m still looking.”

Prior to its Fathom Events presentation, “Easy Rider” will return to the Cannes Film Festival (where it was honored with the “First Film” award in 1969 for director Dennis Hopper) as part of Cannes Classics 2019.

Both Cannes and Fathom Events will present a restored 4K version of the film from its original 35mm negative. The restoration was done by Sony Pictures Entertainment in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna.


Gravitas Ventures has acquired the North American rights to director Josh Sutherland’s comedy film “Chasing Molly.”

The film is available on demand, including iTunes and Amazon Prime Video. Shelley Pack and Jim Cashman play a pair of con artists tangled in a web of misadventures after a misunderstanding with a ruthless drug dealer. WWE star Kurt Angle and Felica Day co-star in the comedy.

Pack and Sutherland also produced. “We set out to make a raw unfiltered comedy where the characters are unapologetically funny,” they said.


Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

  • 45 Seconds of Laughter

    Film Review: '45 Seconds of Laughter'

    “Everyone is worth more than their worst act,” said Roman Catholic sister and anti-death penalty advocate Helen Prejean, and it’s with these words that “45 Seconds of Laughter” closes. It’s an apt sentiment on which to leave Tim Robbins’ sincerely felt documentary study of the therapeutic acting workshops run by his own theater company in [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Selected for AFI's Life Achievement Award

    The American Film Institute Board of Trustees has selected Julie Andrews as the recipient of the 48th AFI Life Achievement Award. The award will be presented to Andrews on April 25 in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be telecast on TNT. “Julie Andrews is practically perfect in every way,” said Kathleen Kennedy, chair of the [...]

  • 4127_D001_00007_RC Phyllis Logan stars as Mrs.

    'Downton Abbey' to Dominate Box Office Weekend With $30 Million

    The feature film version of “Downton Abbey” is heading for an impressive $30 million opening weekend at 3,079 sites for an easy victory at the North American box office, early estimates showed Friday. The launch of Brad Pitt’s space drama “Ad Astra” will land in second with about $20 million, while Sylvester Stallone’s action-thriller “Rambo: [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content