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Corn Bred Films: This Just May Be The Music Flick You’re Looking For

February 10, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

Terrence Flamm

As co-founders of the Chicago-based Corn Bred Films, husband and wife Eric B. Anderson and Amella Dellos spin tales of mismatched lovers, ambitious politicians, serial killers, old school newspaper editors, and zombie-fighting country bumpkins. Anderson and Dellos work together, individually, and with other directors and writers on a wide-range of full-length films, shorts, corporate videos, and documentaries. Ultimately, they hope to put the Midwest on the same footing as the East and West Coasts in terms of film production.

One big step in that direction is a working arrangement to create higher budget projects with Rock On! Films, the New York company formed by director Joe Eckardt. In a recent email interview, Eric B. Anderson explained how the partnership came about.

 

“Joe Eckardt and I shared representation in the early 2000s, so that’s how we met,” Anderson said. “When Joe decided to launch Rock On! Films and needed content to produce, he reached out to me and it’s been a very rewarding partnership so far, with Rock On! co-producing five scripts with Corn Bred.”

One of those projects is You May Be Right, a comedy about a talented but unsuccessful singer named Eddie who fronts a Billy Joel cover band called Glass Houses. Considering that most of the group’s gigs are performed before sparse crowds in dive bars, Eddie’s wife Brenda seems justified in suggesting that he seriously think about a more lucrative career. Especially now that she’s pregnant. But when the actual Billy Joel crashes his car on the Long Island couple’s front lawn, Eddie decides it’s a sign that Glass Houses is destined for greatness. You May Be Right is still being developed, and so far Joel has no involvement with the film.

“Joe [Eckardt] has had conversations with him about another project, so we’re hopeful,” Anderson said. “That’s something we’re still working on, but since we’re using cover versions, we’re optimistic we’ll get it all worked out.” Most of the songs are alt-rock takes on songs Joel recorded for Glass Houses. Anderson was particularly impressed with the band Hussalonia’s interpretation of the Joel’s 1980 chart-topping album.

The idea for You May Be Right came from another writer, who had based the story on an real life Billy Joel car accident. Eckardt optioned the script with the intention of directing and producing the film, but eventually became disenchanted.

“Joe felt there was the seed of an idea in the original script (which is why he optioned it) but the execution didn’t work at all,” Anderson recalled. “So he asked me to take a crack at a page one rewrite. I took the key element, the car accident, and turned it into something very different. The script went from a sort of ‘dramedy’ to the loopy musical comedy that it is now.”

At first glance, You May Be Right seems similar to the Mark Wahlberg movie, Rock Star, in which a singer from a cover band winds up performing with the actual group. Anderson deliberately steered away from that angle, concentrating instead on Eddie and Brenda’s emotional struggle, and the question of how far one should go to follow his dream. The action is set in New York City and involves Eddie and his friend Ronnie’s comically absurd pilgrimage to the clubs Joel played in, the homes where he lived, and the places where his album covers were shot. Anderson concedes the locale is unusual for his proudly Midwest-centric company.

 

“So it’s heavily rooted in the New York area,” he said. “Now, I recognize that goes against Corn Bred Films’ core mission, but in this case, the script predates the launch of Corn Bred Films and the story necessitates that it be filmed in New York. If there’s an opportunity to film anything in Chicago, I will definitely be advocating for that.”

Anderson and Eckardt have hopes their collaboration will be widely distributed. Although You May Be Right is still in the development stage, some of the roles have already been cast. Corbin Bernsen will portray a character named Captain Jack, Jason Mewes plays Ronnie, and America Olivo will bring the combative Brenda to life.

“I’m happy with the casting thus far,” Anderson said. “And I’m looking forward to rounding out the rest of the cast.”

In the meantime, Anderson and Amella Dellos also remain fully committed to creating work that is exclusively theirs, under the Corn Bred Films banner. Dellos served as Executive Producer for the PBS special Love Under Fire: The Story of Bertha & Potter Palmer (she’s also working on a feature film titled Courting Bertha), and Anderson is particularly keen on Zompocalypso, a comedy/horror flick he’s directing about a pair of dim-witted brothers determined to ride out the effects of the Mayan-predicted 2012 apocalypse.

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