•• Monterey Media has bought all U.S. and Canadian rights to Kaley Cuoco’s “Burning Bodhi,” two weeks after its world premiere at the Austin Film Festival, Variety has learned exclusively.
The drama, directed by Matthew McDuffie from his own script, is produced by Marshall Bear. In addition to “The Big Bang Theory” actress, it also stars Sasha Pieterse (“Pretty Little Liars”), Cody Horn, Virginia Madsen, Landon Liboiron and Andy Buckley.
“Burning Bodhi” centers on a group of lifelong friends who return to their hometown in New Mexico after word spreads on Facebook about the death of the most popular person in their group. The reunion stirs up feelings of love, longing and regret, intertwined with the novelty of forgiveness, mortality and gratitude.
Monterey plans a theatrical launch in March. The deal was negotiated with Bear and his representative Noor Ahmed of Reder and Feig LLP, and attorney Chad Mathis with Monterey Media’s Scott Mansfield.
•• The film is about a young man who reads on Facebook that his best friend from high school is dead and he reluctantly comes home to New Mexico to confront his troublesome parents, his heartbroken first girlfriend and a ton of regrets.
“This film is about your first dead friend. It’s about grief and laughter, and celebrating life, about growing up; whatever that means,” says Matthew McDuffie, writer and director of the film.
According to the New Mexico Film Office, production will take place in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County mid-July through the beginning of August.
Nick Maniatis, film office director, said the project has a strong New Mexico connection. “We are always excited to announce projects that involve local talent,” Maniatis said. “In this case, both the writer and producer make Albuquerque their home. Nothing is better than when we have New Mexicans creating jobs for New Mexicans.”
The production will also employ at least 30 New Mexico crew members and three New Mexico actors.
Ann Lerner, film liaison for the city of Albuquerque, said having a project written and produced by New Mexico residents is what New Mexico film is all about. “This project represents the independent spirit of Albuquerque filmmaking,” Lerner said. “Matt is a great writer and brings his talents to many students.”
The drama also stars Cody Horn, Landon Liboiron, Sasha Peiterse, Meghann Fahy, Eli Varga and Virginia Madsen. Madsen was nominated for an Oscar in 2004 and was seen recently in “Witches of East End.” She also starred in the short-lived TV series “Scoundrels,” which was filmed in New Mexico.
Liboiron has been seen in TV shows such as “Hemlock Grove,” “Terra Nova,” “Life Unexpected” and “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Peiterse stars as Alison in ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars,” Horn was last seen in “Magic Mike” and Fahy stars in “One Life to Live.”