by Edward Havens
I'm sure in real life, Johnny is a really good kid. And I pray that someday, he'll do something... ANYTHING... that will get the sting of that annoying brat from Jerry Maguire out of my head. His newest project, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town may be a step in the right direction.
Based on the National Book Award and Newbery Prize-winning novel by Kimberly Willis Holt, Lipnicki will play Toby Wilson, a 13 year old in Antler, Texas, who finds his world in upheavel after his mother leaves to become a singer in Nashville, and the girl of his dreams who barely acknowledges his existence. Of course, Toby's life will make a turn for the better, and the catalyst for that change is Zachary Beaver, who travels with a sideshow billed as "The World's Fattest Kid". The two young men will naturally help each other out in ways they never could have done alone.
Casting has begun for the following roles:
Otto Wilson: Caucasian, 30s-40s. Toby's father. Affable but quiet. Loving father and husband. Upset when his wife leaves to pursue a singing career but will not face his feelings or talk to his son about their loss. Tries to mask his pain with awkward attempts at humor.
Heather Wilson: Caucasian, 30s. Toby's mother. Beautiful, vibrant, aspiring singer. Restless and dissatisfied as wife and mom. Consumed with her dream of becoming a country music star. Loves her family but leaves them to pursue a singing career. Sympathetic despite questionable decisions.
Cal Alvarez: 11-13 years old. Latino/ Caucasian. Typical adolescent. Plans on having a fun and ordinary summer with his best friend Toby. But when his beloved brother dies in the Navy, he is forced to confront loss and his feelings of guilt over not answering his brother's frequent letters.
Mickey Alvarez: 18 years old. Latino/Caucasian. Cal's brother. Protective, loving, kind-hearted, heroic. Leaves home to join the Navy and writes regularly to his little brother. Dies suddenly during a routine mission.
Connie Alvarez: 17 years old. Latina/Caucasian. Cal and Mickey's sister. Sweet, quiet, compassionate. Able to look past Zachary's physical appearance and see his inner beauty. Innocent flirtation develops between her and Zachary and a romantic spark is ignited.
Paulie Rankin: 40s-50s. Guardian to 600 lb Zachary Beaver. A tough guy from New Jersey, he calls himself "The Wizard". Runs sideshow with Zachary as main attraction. Unintentionally careless in his treatment of Zachary.
Ferris: Late 40s-50s. An alcoholic, he has led an unfulfilled life. Runs local BBQ restaurant. Dodged Vietnam draft by shooting himself in leg. Studied to become a preacher but never saw it to completion. Redeems himself by presiding over a makeshift baptism for Zachary Beaver.
Earline: 40s. Uptight County Clerk of small Texas town. She is a busy body who disapproves of Zachary's arrival and is obnoxiously vocal about her opinions…
Shooting begins in and around Austin, Texas on September 23.
If you feel you are rightly suitable for one of these roles, please feel free to have your agent contact either the production company or the casting directors.
Director: John Schultz
Producers: Amy Robinson, Jay Julien
Writer: John Schultz
Casting Director: James Calleri