EXCLUSIVE: Ray Nicholson (Licorice Pizza), Elizabeth Lail (Mack & Rita), Leila George (Animal Kingdom) and Grammy winner Rick Springfield (Ricki and the Flash) have signed on for roles in Oscar and Emmy winner Patricia Arquette’s feature directorial debut, Gonzo Girl, based on the novel of the same name by Cheryl Della Pietra. The actors join an ensemble led by Camila Morrone, which also includes Willem Dafoe and Arquette, as we told you first.
The film currently in production in Utah is set in 1992 and follows aspiring writer Alley Russo (Morrone), who has an exciting new job as the assistant to legendary “gonzo journalist” Walker Reade (Dafoe), living in his compound/party house in Aspen. Under orders to help the famously chaotic Walker settle down to work on his long-promised latest blur of fact and fiction, Alley soon learns the truth: a lifetime of chronic substance abuse has chipped away at Walker’s writing ability, until all he can produce from his drug-drenched brain are pages of word salad. Obliged to help a manic, sodden blowhard get through one relatively uncreative day after another, Alley begins to transform Walker’s rants and raves into publishable prose by running it through the filter of her own mind and her own typewriter, an act of moral support/plagiarism/treachery that keeps Walker’s career alive — for a few more months.
Nicholson will play major movie star and former teen heartthrob Larry Lukes, who is a regular guest at Walker’s compound because he has optioned the writer’s most famous book, with Lail as Walker’s current girlfriend Devaney Peltier, who appears to enjoy the absolute chaos that goes with his lifestyle. While George will portray will play the beautiful and famous actress September McAvoy, shooting a movie with Larry, who appears to be his latest romantic conquest, details as to Springfield’s role are being kept under wraps.
Frank Hall Green (The Outside Story) is producing through Catch & Release Films, alongside Tom Heller (Foxcatcher, Mud) through Rh Negative Entertainment, Cameron O’Reilly (The Truffle Hunters) through Bayard Productions, and Arquette.
Nicholson recently appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza and has also been seen in films like Promising Young Woman, as well as the series Panic and Mayans M.C. He’ll next appear alongside Zoey Deutch in Amazon’s romantic comedy Something From Tiffany’s, and in Neil LaBute’s thriller Out of the Blue with Diane Kruger, Chase Sui Wonders and Hank Azaria.
Lail can currently be seen starring opposite Diane Keaton in Katie Aselton’s comedy Mack & Rita for Gravitas Premiere, which was released in theaters on August 12th. She’s otherwise best known for her work on such series as You, Ordinary Joe, Gossip Girl and Once Upon a Time.
George is best known for her role as Janine “Smurf” Cody on TNT’s Animal Kingdom, also previously appearing in Vincent D’Onofrio’s Western The Kid and Universal’s adaptation of Mortal Engines.
Springfield is a musician and actor whose past film credits include Ricki and the Flash and Battlestar Galactica. Notable TV credits include The Goldbergs, American Horror Story, Supernatural, True Detective and Californication.
Nicholson is repped by UTA, Sugar 23 and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern; Lail by CAA, Authentic Talent and Literary Management and Schreck Rose Dapello; George by Silver Lining Entertainment, the UK’s United Agents and Australia’s United Management; and Springfield by WME and Schreck Rose Dapello.