'The Voice's' Frenchie Davis to Make Feature Film Debut in 'Dumbbells'
Stars from MTV’s The Hills, Hollywood legends like Carl Reiner and Nancy Olsen, sitcom staples Tom Arnold and Jaleel White and The Voice’s Frenchie Davis?
Brian Drolet and Jordan Eubanks, writer and producer of the forthcoming comedy Dumbbells, are counting on this confluence of Hollywood randomness to intrigue movie buyers and future viewers. The buddy comedy, slated to be released in 2012 stars Drolet and Mircea Monroe (The Change-Up) and is directed by Chris Livingston, son of Olsen, who earned a Best Supporting Actress nod for her work in the 1950 picture Sunset Blvd. Actor Carl Reiner, a friend of the family, heard about the picture through Livingston, and also signed on.
In fact, Eubanks and Drolet, who are best known for dating Heidi Montag and Audrina Partridge, respectively, on the first season of The Hills, and producer Barry Katz made no bones about exhausting personal relationships and calling in favors, be it enlisting TV stars Arnold and Jay Mohr, comedian Andy Milonakis or former American Idol contestant Davis. In fact, it’s how they got their movie on Katz’s radar, who lent credibility and support to the story of a former basketball star who blows out his knee and is relegated to working in a rundown Los Angeles gym.
“Barry worked with Brian on a pilot called Make it Funny and was really impressed,” Eubanks tells the Hollywood Reporter. “He told Brian, ‘Any projects you want to work on in the future, come to me and I'll help you out.’ So we contacted him last October, he was interested, got to our script, read it and loved it. He told us, ‘I don't really take risks on low-end movies, but this one has a lot of heart. It’s special.’"
After meeting in New York, Eubanks, a North Carolina native, and Drolet moved to LA together and teamed up for their first feature, 2009’s 2 Dudes And A Dream. Of his Hills experience, Eubanks says he “always wanted to be in the entertainment industry” but in “trying to figure it all out,” he fell in love with the movie-making process.
And it seems the duo’s comedic sensibility is as sharp as their networking skills, judging from a visit to Dumbbells’ set at L.A. Valley College last week. There, the majority of the basketball court and gym scenes are being filmed. As for Frenchie’s participation? Eubanks prefers to keep her role a secret for now, but reveals that she and White (aka Family Matters’ Erkel) share a unique bond.
High profile talent can be seen behind the scenes as well. Julie Ashton (Psych, Glory Daze) cast the movie and Keef Bartkus, the video editor for South Park, has signed on to edit. With filming set to wrap on August 5, Dumbbells should be ready in time for Sundance, after which its producers are eyeing a theatrical release. Says Eubanks: “It’s what we’re pushing hard for.”