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Kristen Bell in Indie Ballet Comedy ‘Dance of the Mirlitons’

Posted by Vinay Sojitra on Aug 16, 2010 | Leave a Comment
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‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ star Kristen Bell has been cast indie black comedy ‘Dance of the Mirlitons’ in the role of a pushy mother of a slightly overweight ballerina, who will stop at nothing to achieve her dream.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Director Evan Greenberg and producers Daniel Dubiecki and Joel Michaely are now focusing on their a nationwide casting search for a young actress to play a precocious 10- to 12-year old. “We’re looking to discover an unknown,” said Greenberg, adding he hopes to go down the route of movies such as “Billy Elliot” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” both of which uncovered talented youngsters (“Elliot” was the screen debut of 13-year-old Jamie Bell, while “Sunshine” made a movie star of 10-year-old Abigail Breslin, who had only worked in TV).

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The script landed on the 2005 Blacklist, alongside “Juno,” “Lars and the Real Girl” and “A Killing on Carnival Row.” The script of the Evan Greenberg focuses on an ambitious, slightly overweight ballerina with an overbearing mother who will stop at nothing to become a star. The little girl will be put in a ‘nasty’ Mean Girls-type environment and she has to prove her worth in class.

The first iteration of story was as a short story Greenberg wrote in middle school, which he turned into 50 pages of a script while attending NYU film school. “Mirlitons” generated enough heat to get picked up by Warner Independent, but when that division shuttered in 2008, the script plie-ed into limbo. Greenberg said, “It took me a few years to get the rights back”. He also added, “Once I got the rights back, it was about the right partner.

Dubiecki is an Oscar-nominated producer for “Up in the Air,” and is a producer on “Passion Play,” the Mickey Rourke-Megan Fox pic that will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month. With the role of the mother taken care of, Greenberg and the producers Daniel Dubiecki and Joel Michaely are hoping that they’ll discover a young talented actor like Billy Elliot did with Jamie Bell and Little Miss Sunshine did with Abigail Breslin.

Dubiecki and Michaely made casting the mom a priority, figuring that a name lead would get the ball rolling in terms of securing financing. Dubiecki said, “Kristen’s combination of comedic timing and authenticity will bring this character to the next level, and give this crossover appeal”. But casting “precocious” is tricky so while it’s great that Bell is on board, now comes the difficult part.

After initially being picked up by Warner Independent in 2005, the division dealing with the movie closed down in 2008, meaning writer-and-director Evan had to go back to the start in terms of securing financing for the film. He said: “It took me a few years to get the rights back. Once I got the rights back, it was about the right partner. Kristen’s combination of comedic timing and authenticity will bring this character to the next level, and give this crossover appeal”.

The producers are location-scouting. It is expected that the production of ‘The Dance of The Mirlitons’ is probable to begin in winter. Greenberg attributes his dedication to staying with the script to his unique connection with it. “I’ve never felt about anything like I do about this. It’s etched in my psyche”. “I hope that one day people will talk about how it was one of those movies that came together, fell apart, and came together again. The best projects are the ones that take the most elbow grease to get made.

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