Filed in Billy Boy

Billy Boy Photo Update + Info

I have added some behind the scenes and stills of Blake in Billy Boy, also here’s some info of the movie given by Robert Ulrich in an interview, you can read the interview below.

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“Billy Boy,” an independent dramatic film produced by Modesto native and Los Angeles casting director Robert Ulrich, could get a lift from Supergirl.

The movie, about a young man leading a criminal life and seeking redemption, stars former “Glee” castmates Blake Jenner and Melissa Benoist. Jenner also wrote the screenplay.

Ulrich, who casts “Glee,” brought them and others to Modesto’s Gallo Center for the Arts in February 2014 to perform the “One Night Only!” song-and-dance concert as a fundraiser for the movie. “Billy Boy” also was the focus of a Kickstarter crowdfunding drive in which 534 backers pledged $110,057.

The movie started filming in mid-July last year and has been in post-production since at least December, according to its Kickstarter page. Ulrich said he and his fellow producers are working to get “Billy Boy” on the festival circuit.

While he said it was frustrating not to have the movie ready earlier, delays turned out to be a “blessing in disguise” because Benoist’s and Jenner’s stars are on the rise.

Since “Glee,” Benoist has co-starred with Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons in the multiple Academy Award-nominated “Whiplash” and with Annette Bening and Al Pacino in “Danny Collins.” She had a role in the Nicholas Sparks-penned romantic drama “The Longest Ride.” She’s filming the drama “Low Riders” with Eva Longoria and Demián Bichir.

But her highest-profile work is as the star and title character – playing Kara Danvers/Kara Zor-El – on the CBS series “Supergirl,” set to debut in October. Ulrich referred to that casting as “huge” for Benoist.

As for Jenner, he shot the thriller “Within” with Nadine Velazquez (“My Name is Earl”) and Michael Vartan (“Bates Motel,” “Alias”).

And in a development that Ulrich called “superexciting for our movie,” Jenner was cast by writer and director Richard Linklater in his upcoming comedy “Everybody Wants Some,” a Texas-set tale of young baseball players on and off the field. Linklater’s 2014 drama, “Boyhood,” won the Golden Globe for best drama and was an Oscar nominee for best picture, best director and best original screenplay, among other categories.

“Everybody Wants Some” takes place in the early ’80s and is being called a “spiritual successor” to Linklater’s 1993 hit “Dazed and Confused.” In it, Jenner stars with Tyler Hoechlin (MTV’s “Teen Wolf”) and Ryan Guzman (“The Boy Next Door,” “Pretty Little Liars”).

The success of Benoist and Jenner “really has elevated the clout” of “Billy Boy,” Ulrich said.

Jenner began writing the story in summer 2013 while on a trip to the Philippines with Benoist. The two began dating after they met on “Glee” and now are married..’

Neither could be reached to comment for this story, but Benoist told The Modesto Bee in February 2014: “He had showed me six pages (of the script) this past summer, and I just knew automatically that it was something that was from his heart. It is really different than what we had been working on in terms of ‘Glee,’ and that was exciting. And not because I am biased, but it’s just a really great script.”

The film is a drama about a troubled young man named Billy (Jenner) who meets and falls in love with a waitress, Jennifer (Benoist), then attempts to better himself and his life.

If you’re expecting PG-13, think again, Ulrich said.

“It’s definitely an “R” – a dark, heavy-duty movie. We call it an exploration of violence,” he said. Gauging the film’s intensity, he called it “‘Whiplash’ times 10,000.”

Jenner’s title character is one of four best friends whose “petty crimes have become robberies and carjackings,” according to a synopsis provided by Ulrich. Despite Jennifer’s efforts, “Billy is in too deep and … finds himself struggling to take back control of his life.”

“I’m superproud of (the film), and the performance by Blake is amazing,” Ulrich said. “Blake, for ‘Billy Boy,’ looks like a different human being. He lost about 14 pounds and bleached his hair blond.” As for Jenner’s screenplay, “Here this barely 20-year-old (at the time) wrote it, and it’s so raw and powerful.”

Now, the focus is on getting the film before audiences. “Billy Boy” first was shown at its wrap party, Ulrich said, and has had four screenings since. In addition to getting it on the festival circuit, he hopes to get the movie screened in Modesto.

“Billy Boy” was a rare venture into producing for Ulrich, who said he was involved in it every day of production. In addition to the Kickstarter campaign and the “One Night Only!” concert, the roughly $400,000 budget relied on private investors, including Modesto entrepreneur Dan Costa, who was a generous backer, Ulrich said.

He called “Billy Boy” a “true family affair,” noting that he was one of five producers on the film. The others were Jenner; Jenner’s brother, Mike; Ulrich’s son, Cooper; and director Bradley Buecker, who’s worked frequently with Ulrich, producing and directing episodes of “Glee,” “American Horror Story” and “Nip/Tuck.”

Ulrich said all involved with the movie “were really trying to make something that has a lot of power and weight,” and he believes they’ve succeeded.

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