The independent film, written by Joe McClean, centers on Andrew (Underwood), a man dealing with the disappearance of his wife. As Andrew falls deeper into paranoia, he finds that the only way out of the self-destructive cycle seems to be through his new girlfriend Emilia (Silverman), a victims advocate and self-help blogger he meets in group therapy, who is dealing with her own demons from her past. The drama will explore if they are strong enough to get past their own nightmares and mental illnesses to find true happiness together.
Underwood will direct and produce the indie feature, which was originally supposed to shoot in 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Production will begin in New York this summer.
“A true artist thrives in all genres. Most people know of Sarah Silverman‘s brilliant comedic performances, but she’s a devastatingly raw and authentic dramatic actress as well,” Underwood said in a statement. “I was introduced to this dimension of her artistry in the film, ‘I Smile Back.’ Wait until you see her in ‘Viral.’ She’s going to be an absolute revelation!”
The film will be produced by McClean, Daniel Cypress and York Films’ John Kalafatis, Joanna Kalafatis and Andreas Ignatiou.
As noted by Underwood, Silverman earned critical acclaim and a SAG award nomination for her dramatic work as Laney Brooks in “I Smile Back.” The Emmy-winning actor and comedian most recently finished production on the feature film “Marry Me” (set to debut in February 2022), starring opposite Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. Silverman’s screen resume includes “Battle of the Sexes,” “The Book of Henry,” “The School of Rock,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “The Sarah Silverman Program,” “Crashing,” “Masters of Sex” and “The Good Wife.” She currently hosts the popular “The Sarah Silverman Podcast” on iTunes and other platforms.
Underwood is currently nominated for a Tony Award for best actor in a leading role for his acclaimed performance in “A Soldier’s Play.” On screen, the Emmy and Grammy-winning actor recently starred in “When They See Us,” “Dear White People,” “Juanita” and “Self Made” (for which he won his seventh NAACP Image Award in March). Underwood is also set to reprise his role as attorney Jonathan Rollins on a new incarnation of “L.A. Law,” which he will executive produce for ABC.
Underwood’s previous directing credits include the 2009 indie feature film “The Bridge to Nowhere,” the short film “The Second Coming,” as well as several music videos and commercials. In 2016, Underwood directed Megadeath in a 360-degree virtual reality concert video, which ultimately won a Clio Award.
Silverman is repped by UTA, Thruline and Ziffren Brittenham. Underwood is repped by ICM, Thruline & Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.