John Hawkes, Octavia Spencer to Star in Gritty Thriller 'Small Town Crime' (Exclusive)

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Octavia Spencer; Anthony Anderson; John Hawkes; Robert Forster

Anthony Anderson and Robert Forster also are starring in the indie from brothers Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms.

John Hawkes, Anthony Anderson, Octavia Spencer and Robert Forster are starring in Small Town Crime, a gritty indie thriller written and directed by brothers Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms.

The movie, currently shooting, also has a deep bench of supporting talent, including Clifton Collins Jr., Michael Vartan, Daniel Sunjata, Don Harvey, James Lafferty, Jeremy Ratchford, Caity Lotz and Dale Dickey.  

The movie tells of an alcoholic ex-cop (Hawkes) who finds the body of a young woman and, through an act of self-redemption, becomes hell-bent on finding the killer but unwittingly puts his family in danger and gets caught up with several dark characters along the way.  

Spencer plays Hawkes' character's sister, Anderson plays her husband, while Forster is the missing girl's grandfather.

Spencer has been a champion of the project from its development stage and worked closely with the filmmakers on casting choices and outreach, and will continue to give her input into postproduction. She will be an executive producer on Small Town Crime alongside Mehrdad Elie, the CEO of Avva Pictures, the banner financing the indie.  

This is Spencer’s third time working with the Nelms. The first time was back in 2002 with a short titled Chicken Party. That movie was made by Tate Taylor, who would go on to direct the actress to an Oscar with The Help. In 2013, she starred in the Nelms’ feature Lost on Purpose.

Brad Johnson and John J. Kelly, who produced the Nelms’ feature Waffle Street, are producing Small Town Crime. Avva’s Parisa Caviani also is producing.

Hawkes, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work in Winter’s Bone, was last seen in 2015’s Everest and recently wrapped Martin McDonagh’s drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with Sam Rockwell, Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson. He is repped by Innovative Artists, Thruline Entertainment, and Morris Yorn.

Anderson, the star of ABC’s Black-ish, is on screens with Barbershop: The Next Cut. He is repped by UTA, Principato-Young Entertainment and Stone, Genow.

Forster is the veteran actor who appeared in London Has Fallen and was nominated for an Oscar for his turn in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. He is repped by Don Buchwald & Associates, Anonymous Content and Jackoway Tyerman.

Spencer, who voiced a character in Zootopia, has several movies wrapped, among them the period race NASA drama Hidden Figures and Gifted, Marc Webb’s drama starring Chris Evans. She is repped by WME and Jackoway Tyerman.