Producers of the indie film musical “Americana Dream” have tapped Nashville-based music artists Mary Sarah and Sam Varga to play the story’s central couple, Billie Carton and Lucky Fontana.
Sarah and Varga nabbed the leading roles after an extensive nationwide search for singer-songwriters to act in the original musical written and directed by Ate de Jong and co-written by Variety’s Steven Gaydos.
“Americana Dream” takes viewers behind the scenes of the film’s titular reality TV music competition program, where Lucky and Billie transition from imposters willing to do anything for money and fame, to a real couple, willing to sacrifice their dreams of success for real love and their real music.
Sarah was a finalist on season 10 of NBC’s “The Voice” and is set to star in Justin Ward’s upcoming film comedy “Paradise: The Movie.” Sarah recorded her first album “Bridges,” when she was only 15; the project showcased her talent alongside country music legends including Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and Tanya Tucker and was reissued through Time Life Records in 2020.
Varga has also been performing since his early teens, releasing singles and performing regionally; his dynamic live act garnered significant attention in Austin, Texas, before he relocated to Nashville in 2017. Last year, Varga’s single “Fall Down,” co-written with Kalie Shorr and William Stone, clocked in with 1 million views on TikTok.
Jonathan De Azevedo has also been cast alongside Sarah and Varga, playing the key role of O.D. Orozco. The Los Angeles-based actor was last seen in Shawn Levy’s blockbuster comedy “Free Guy,” starring Ryan Reynolds, and he also co-starred in Dennis Dugan’s 2020 film comedy, “Love, Weddings & Other Disasters.”
The project is produced by De Jong, whose credits include “Drop Dead Fred” and “Love Is Thicker Than Water”; Gaydos, who has served as Variety’s executive VP of content since 2019 and, outside journalism, has producing credits on films including 2021’s “Beverly Hills Wedding” and “Road to Nowhere,” which he also penned; and Ellis Goodman, who most recently executive produced 2019’s “Judy,” for which Renée Zellweger earned an Oscar for best actress.
Music for the film has been composed by the songwriting collective, “Rain in the Drought,” which includes veteran Nashville tunesmith Michael Kosser, whose songs have been recorded by country superstars Blake Shelton, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty and Marty Robbins; singer-songwriter Gregg Stewart, of Stewboss and of the Mazarines; and singer-songwriter-composer Rob Kolar, who recently composed the music for Samantha Bee’s TBS comedy series, “The Detour.”
“Americana Dream” will shoot in Louisville, Ky., this fall.
[Pictured: Mary Sarah, Sam Varga and Jonathan De Azevedo.]