The shooting of Rebel Wilson’s directorial debut ‘The Deb’ is set to begin in September 2023 in Sydney, Australia. The film follows Taylah Simpkins, “a farm girl and outcast in high school” who hopes to turn her life around by participating in the Debutante Ball AKA the Deb. Taylah’s perceptions about self-acceptance are challenged by her cousin Maeve, who considers the event traditional and narrow-minded. The musical film will progress through the lives of Taylah and Maeve as they “embark on a journey to discover self-acceptance and find a date for the Deb, all while challenging societal expectations.”
“Because I’ve been on set and have done so many musicals, you kind of pick up things like how to shoot a musical number and how to do the soundtrack, because you’re there and you’re part of it,” Wilson told Variety about directing a musical. “I’ve always just been watching as the actress — watching, watching, watching — and then I produced a lot of things with musical numbers in them, […]. Everyone kept saying, ‘You should direct!’ … I just started getting offered movies to direct from studios, so then I was like, ‘Oh my God, if I have to take a year out of my life and not be an actress and be a director, it has to be something that I am massively passionate about,’” the ‘Pitch Perfect’ star added.
Wilson’s experience in the genre gave her enough confidence to embark on a new journey as a director. “From my first productions as a playwright, they were all little musical comedies where I wrote the music for those ones back in the day. It’s just so my genre that I thought, out of the other movies that I was offered, this one is a thing [I’m familiar with],” the actress said in the same Variety interview. In addition to direction, Wilson will also star in the film, which is a screen adaptation of Hannah Reilly’s eponymous theatre production, which originally premiered at Sydney’s Australian Theatre for Young People in 2022.
Natalie Abbott is set to play Taylah in the film. Charlotte MacInnes, who played Maeve in the theatre production, will reprise her role in the film. Other cast members of the film include Stevie Jean, Tara Morice, Jay Laga’aia, Shane Jacobson, etc. Amanda Ghost, Len Blavatnik, and Gregor Cameron produce the film through their company Unigram (‘Tetris’) and sister outfit AI Film (‘I, Tonya’). Wilson’s Camp Sugar Productions and Bunya Productions partner with Unigram to produce the film. Danny Cohen of Access Entertainment serves as an executive producer.
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