EXCLUSIVE: Mark Webber Films Indie Drama Starring His Two-Year-Old Son
Michael Cera, Amanda Seyfried, Shannyn Sossamon and Jason Ritter will make appearances in the film.
A filmmakers true life relationship with his son is center stage in a new indie drama in which Michael Cera, Amanda Seyfried, Shannyn Sossamon and Jason Ritter either co-star or cameo as heightened versions of themselves.
Mark Webber, an indie actor whose biggest credit is playing Stephen Stills in the cult movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, wrote the script. He also stars in and is directing the untitled film, which is in production in Los Angeles.
Webber, repped by Innovative, is producing through his company Poor Rich Kids along with his partners, Liz Destro, Mat Spraggala, and Molly Engelhart.
The movie (with a budget well below $1 million) centers on a struggling single father, an actor played by Webber, raising his two-year-old son after the death of the child’s mother. Because the story so closely mirrors Webber’s own life story, he is using his own two-and-a-half year old son to play the young boy in the film.
“That’s the crux of the film,” Webber said, having just returned to L.A. from Sundance. “After spending so much time with my son being a father, I became obsessed with the idea of showing the most authentic father-son dynamic on screen.”
He said he is taking great pains to shield his son from the rigors of the shoot and conducted tests to see if he could make it as non-invasive as possible. To that end, he is shooting with no crew -- just himself, a director of photography and a sound guy -- and is using Canon 5D Cameras.
“It’s been really cool and eye-opening to limit the exposure to my son but create the scenes and moments that seem realistically uncomfortable,” Webber said. “The blurring of boundaries and the overcompensation that you do with a child -- how you look to them for affection when it’s not appropriate? It’s been an exercise to capture real life moments and still tell a compelling story.”
The whole movie is designed to be a shade or two from real-life with Cera, Seyfried, Sossamon and Ritter, his true-life friends, playing versions of themselves. “I’m getting them to show a real side of who they are and smash that up with people’s expectations of celebrity.”
Webber has worked mostly in the indie world with credits ranging from acting in 2002’s The Laramie Project to writing and directing his first indie film Explicit Ills in 2008. He was shooting the movie earlier in January but took a break to teleport to the indie film Mecca for a few days, and is now back behind the camera.
“It was inspirational,” he said of his jaunt to Sundance. “I can see other people’s work, I can hear what they have to say, and not so be consumed about myself where years earlier how I felt about my whole year hinged on Sundance. I had a very adult Sundance experience.”
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