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Ruby Rose has joined Paris Berelc in 1Up, the underdog comedy set in the world of esports that Kyle Newman is directing for Lionsgate and BuzzFeed.
The move occurs as Elliot Page, who was previously tapped to star with Berelc in the project, steps away from the picture, now in production in Toronto.
Taylor Zakhar Perez, who made waves with his appearance in The Kissing Booth 2, Hari Nef (Assassination Nation), and Nicholas Coombe (Dora and The Lost City of Gold) are also now on the call sheet.
The movie is the first production to come out of Lionsgate and BuzzFeed’s new partnership to develop, produce and distribute socially relevant feature films with the aim of targeting millennial and Gen Z audiences.
According to the companies, 1Up centers on a young woman named Valerie Lee, who “quits her college esports team, fed up with gaslighting from her male counterparts, and quickly realizes that her decision comes at the cost of her scholarship. But, she discovers a loophole to save her collegiate future: if she can find a coach and assemble a whole new varsity-caliber team capable of reaching the State Finals. Valerie turns to her professor, Parker Nesby, and together with Valerie’s best friend and fellow gamer Sloane, they form and train a rag-tag women’s team committed to taking down the boys that tried to shut them out of gaming in the first place.”
Berelc is playing Lee while Rose will play her mentor, the professor.
Julia Yorks wrote the script.
BuzzFeed’s Richard Alan Reid is producing along with Michael Philip and Jason Moring, with Anthony Burns executive producing. BuzzFeed said 1Up’s concept was birthed by recognizing the growing interest in competitive gaming and the underrepresentation of women in the industry.
“1UP is a fresh, authentic comedy with important social commentary, featuring a diverse cast of hugely talented and often underrepresented voices,” said BuzzFeed’s svp of global content & head of studio, Richard Alan Reid, in a statement. “Through this joint effort, we’re eager to harness the power of the internet to reach global millennial and Gen Z audiences and tap into one of the most passionate online fanbases.”
Stated Lauren Bixby, vp, acquisitions for Lionsgate: “1UP is an exciting, engaging comedy with universal themes, but what truly differentiates this film are the diverse, nuanced characters that are unusual for this genre – a rich variety of people who we don’t get to see every day.”
Rose made news on the representation front when she starred as the titular gay character in TV’s Batwoman for the show’s inaugural season. She also appeared in films such as The Meg, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, and John Wick: Chapter 2. Rose, who is repped by UTA, manager Carol Bodie and Howard Fishman, recently wrapped Vanquish, a thriller with Morgan Freeman directed by George Gallo.
Perez will reprise his Kissing Booth heartthrob Marco for the third installment of Netflix’s breakout teen romance franchise. He is repped by Buchwald and LuberRoklin.
In addition to Assassination Nation, Nef, repped by Gersh and Untitled, has appeared in series such as Transparent and You.
Coombe co-starred in 68 Whiskey and did voice work for Spy Kids: Mission Critical. He is repped by The Characters Agency and LINK Entertainment.
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