Creator Plus, a movie studio and distribution startup centered on digital influencers, has greenlit its second feature-length film: Country-club comedy “Diamond in the Rough,” starring Samantha Boscarino (Disney’s “Good Luck Charlie”) and TikTok star and entrepreneur Griffin Johnson (MTV’s “Ridiculousness”).
Production is slated to begin this week in Los Angeles. Creator Plus expects to release the movie on its digital sell-through platform in the spring of 2022.
The film joins the startup’s first film project, “Jane,” starring Madelaine Petsch (“Riverdale”), who is also producing, singer-songwriter Chlöe Bailey (part of sister duo Chloe x Halle), Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”), Ian Owens and model Chloe Yu. “Jane,” which has run into COVID-related production delays, is slated for an early 2022 release.
Creator Plus, formed earlier this year, finances in-house production and development and promises to give its talent partners creative approval and to share profits (previously, it has promised a 50-50 backend revenue split). “Creators can participate evenly with us in shared revenue and, in some cases, may even earn more than Creator Plus,” said Adam Wescott, head of studio for Creator Plus.
Its film projects target production and marketing budgets of between $500,000 and $2 million. The first window of distribution for its films will be on Creator Plus, where individual titles will be available for purchase, with secondary distribution pegged for streaming services and other outlets.
In “Diamond in the Rough,” Ariana Alvarez (Boscarino) is lost after the death of her parents and can’t hold down a job. To help her navigate post-college life, her doting Tío Jorge gets her a seasonal membership at his swanky country club and challenges her to make some friends. But Ariana soon learns that life among the wealthy and golf-obsessed is a lot like being back in high school: cliques abound, mean girls are everywhere and only the richest kids get to call the shots. Will the country club change Ariana — or will it be the other way around?
Boscarino previously starred in the lead role of Ellie in Lifetime movie “The Cheerleader Murders.” Her other TV credits include “For All Mankind” on Apple TV Plus, Fox’s “The Resident,” TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” and “How to Rock” for Nickelodeon.
“I’m so thrilled to be working on a project with such strong female representation, in both cast and crew,” Boscarino said in a statement. “As a Latinx woman, it means so much to not just portray a stereotype but a complex and relatable character like Ariana who is trying to find herself in the world. I can’t wait to be a part of bringing her story to life!”
Johnson, who gained fame on TikTok and Instagram initially by being a member of the Sway House creator collective, has gone on to become a venture capitalist through his fund Animal Capital.
The film’s cast also includes David Koechner (“Anchorman,” “The Office”), Rizwan Manji (“Schitt’s Creek,” “The Magicians”), Caitlin Carver (“Dear White People”), Natasha Behnam (“American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules”), Essence Stiggers (“Bosch” spinoff), Kirstin Leigh (“Hawaii Five-0”), Carolyn Hennesy (“True Blood,” “General Hospital”), Wayne Wilderson (“The Mick,” “Veep”), Andy Cohen (“Ray Donovan,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), Pat Finn (“The Middle,” “The Goldbergs”) and Carlos Lacamara (“The Garcias,” “The Mexican”).
“Diamond in the Rough” is a modern-day spin on comedy classics like “Caddyshack” and “Happy Gilmore,” according to Wescott, a producer on the film.
“True to the Creator Plus mission of creating impact-driven feature films, ‘Diamond in the Rough’ uses comedy to explore themes of the racial and gender prejudice and class dynamics that have historically existed in country clubs,” Wescott said.
The original screenplay for “Diamond in the Rough” is penned by James Sommers and Grace Church (Nickelodeon’s “Past Due With Tia Mowry”), with a rewrite by Crystal Ferreiro (“Diary of a Future President,” CW’s “Hermanas”).
Jeannette Godoy is set to direct and produce. A first-generation Mexican American, Godoy credits include “The Garcias” family comedy for HBO Max with a bicultural cast and crew; directing the cold open for HBO Max’s “Ha Comedy Festival,” starring Danny Trejo and Isabella Alvarez; and creating and directing a short series for Bumble, “Pure Corazón,” which follows three Latino daters from different cultural backgrounds as they navigate dating, life and identity.
Alongside Wescott, Godoy and Johnson, the project will be produced by Rebecca Stone, Nick Phillips (head of production, Creator Plus) and McKenna Marshall (director of development, Creator Plus).
Boscarino is represented by A3 Artists Agency and Echo Lake Entertainment, and Johnson is repped by Vybe Trybe and WME. Godoy is with the Agency for the Performing Arts (APA); Sommers and Church are repped by Chris Sablan at Avenue 220; and Ferreiro is repped by Verve and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis.
Creator Plus was founded by Benjamin Grubbs, former global head of top creator partnerships at YouTube, and Silicon Valley tech investor and entrepreneur Jonathan Shambroom, once GM of the Crackle streaming service.