“Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” Mickey Rooney said that so often to Judy Garland in Depression-era films, it became a cliché.
Kids today still put on shows. But — this being Westport, and the year being 2022 — they are, well, different.
“Lux Freer” is the latest movie to be made here. The plot: A middle-class non-binary teen feels like an outcast in their new town of rich jocks and beauty queens — until a wishing well and the most popular guy in school offer a view from the top of the social ladder.
See what I mean?
“Lux Freer” is a production of Triple Threat Academy. Each summer the Westport-based school for teen and adult actors, singers and dancers (“triple threats”), founded by “Fame” star/1981 Staples High School graduate) Cynthia Gibb, runs an independent film project.
Students learn acting in front of a camera, along with directing, shooting and producing.
With a professional crew, a cast of 23, and a heap of help from Westport residents and businesses, this is the biggest Triple Threat production yet.
Westporter Andrew Wilk (multi-Emmy-winning producer/director of “Live from Lincoln Center, former Sony Music COO), screenwriter Michael Jamin (“Beavis and Butthead”), makeup artist Kathleen Fillion and filmmaker Allie O’Brien all spoke with students.
The non-binary star is Echo Bodell, Other cast members include professional actors Jean Louisa Kelly (“Top Gun Maverick”), Jamie Mann (“Country Comfort”), Cameron Mann (“Mare of Easttown”) and Natalie Mann (“A California Christmas”). All except Kelly are, were or soon will be Staples High School students.
Shooting took place at Bedford Middle School. Principal Adam Rosen welcomed the cast (many of whom attended BMS).
The Porch @ Christie’s — whose mission of inclusion aligns with the film’s theme — was another location. They catered one lunch. Comped and/or discounted food was also courtesy of Joe’s Pizza and Gaetano’s. Planet Pizza provided a uniform, pizzas and catering.
The iconic Buick station wagon came courtesy of longtime Westporter Anne Westlake.
Many Westporters joined the filming as extras. You’ll see some familiar faces (including, ahem, my own.)
Later this year – after editing and post-production — “Lux Freer” will hit the film festival circuit.
The entire cast and crew — I mean, we — can’t wait.
(For more information on Triple Threat’s fall acting and improv classes, and more, click here.)