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The three young actors will play high school classmates of the young, aspiring filmmaker at the center of the story. East currently stars on the HBO Max series Generation and most recently wrapped production on Stampede Ventures’ Going Places.
Fegley starred in The Goldfinch and Wonderstruck and The War With Grandpa, opposite Robert De Niro. Kusman will make her feature film debut in Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming untitled film, releasing on Christmas Day this year.
The trio joins an ensemble cast that includes Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Paul Dano, Gabriel LaBelle, Julia Butters and Sam Rechner. The script has been co-written by Spielberg and long-time collaborator Tony Kushner, while the film is produced by Spielberg, Kushner and Kristie Macosko Krieger.
Kushner most recently worked with Spielberg on the latter’s remake of West Side Story.
Plot details for the untitled project are being kept secret, but one aspect of the project is a split time period that would focus on the character, who is not being called Steven, as a young child and also a teen living in Phoenix, Arizona.
Phoenix is where Spielberg lived in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The filmmaker has spoken numerous times about those years in which he faced anti-Semitism while also making home movies and adventure movies using his father’s 8mm camera that he entered into contests.
Spielberg’s family moved to California while he was still in high school, and later his parents divorced, with the budding filmmaker moving in with his father. He has spoken publicly about how he maintained his mother on a pedestal but had a strained relationship with his father, a relationship that would inform movies ranging from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial to Hook and Jurassic Park to Lincoln and Catch Me If You Can.
East is represented by Link Entertainment, Vault Entertainment and A3 Artists Agency. Fegley is repped by ICM Partners and Wright Entertainment. Kusman is represented by Innovative Artists.
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