See it tonight at WorldFest
Cam in a bunny hat, a USC posse & Houston ties, Father vs. Son brings it
Teacher became student when Joe Ballarini and Paul Wolff collaborated to writeFather vs. Son, an outlandish comedy also starring Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet that premieres in Houston Saturday night at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival.
The movie centers around a father and son who move in together over the Christmas holidays and simultaneously dive into the (same) dating pool. Jerry Coletti (Wolff) moves in with his son, Grant (Josh Dean) after his wife leaves him for her new-age Israeli Krav Maga instructor. The two men fall for the same woman, an elegant and alluring Darlene, played by Heather Stephens.
Stonestreet, I am told, plays Doug, Grant's best friend and the marketing director of a cheesy holiday decor store called Happy Holidays Warehouse. He appears in a different holiday outfit in every scene and, producer Brian Crewe tells me, had it written into his contract that he got to keep the bunny hat (see movie poster).
Ballarini, who is already an established screenwriter currently working on a project for Jerry Bruckheimer (he will say only that it's about a haunted house), was a student of Wolff's at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. For Father vs. Son, Ballarini directed his former professor.
Wolff has been a screenwriting instructor on the faculty of USC's School of Cinematic Arts for 15 years, and gushes about his young mentee. The collaboration is the realization of a dream for Wolff, who has spent his 30-plus years in the industry behind the camera as a producer, showrunner and writer. He always dreamt of being in a feature, and although the news that he'd be playing the part of Jerry in the script he co-wrote was a bomb-drop, he likens the experience of working with a slew of former students to a father watching his sons succeed.
And the film has more ties to Houston than its premiere locale — its main funding came from our city's own Mike Huffington, who met Ballarini when he funded one of his student film projects in California.
The affable posse, many of whom graduated from USC together and refer to themselves as The Class of '99, plan on making a tradition out of Texas premieres. Dance of the Dead, which Ballarini wrote Crewe also produced, debuted at South by Southwest in 2008.
Show some support tonight at 5 at the AMC 30.