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Luke Kirby and Jennifer Podemski Build ‘Empire of Dirt’; Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, and Seth Green are ‘Identical’

Written by on October 3, 2012 

After debuting with a little-seen — but, I’ve heard, not too shabby — superhero comedy Defendor, writer-director Peter Stebbings is on the path to his second feature. The pieces are starting to fall into place at THR, where it’s said that Luke Kirby (Take This Waltz), Jennifer Podemski (also of the Sarah Polley film), Cara Gee, and Shahiyela Pourier-Eyre will all be headlining a domestic drama entitled Empire of Dirt.

Their logline gives the impression of a rather standard affair, telling of a single mother (Gee) who tries to both survive, financially-speaking, and prevent her daughter (Pourier-Eyre) from taking a life on “the streets.” (Perhaps she can step up 2 them.) The two bigger names in Empire‘s cast will actually be going into supporting mode; Kirby is to be seen as the mother’s ex-boyfriend, while Podemski will play her mother.

Taking into account the way Stebbings (reportedly) flipped some familiar tropes the first time around, it’s not impossible to think Empire of Dirt can stand out a bit from dramas on sale for a dime a dozen. Maybe Kirby can even bring back his rickshaw — it is a Canadian production, after all.

Next, THR and Variety each inform us about The Identical, “a rock and roll fable about the power of music and dreams” which is expected to star Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green, and Joe Pantoliano. Dustin Marcellino is making his directing debut here, using a screenplay from Howie Klausner (Space Cowboys) that focuses on a family whose story is told by way of some good old rock ‘n’ roll.

Set from the ’40s to the ’60s, The Identical will specifically center on Green as a drummer who finds himself “challenged by excesses of wine, women and song”; we also have a preacher (Liotta), his wife (Judd), and “a music-loving garage mechanic” (Pantoliano). Man, what else do you need?

The Identical will begin shooting this week.

Does either indie effort have “the right stuff” at this moment?


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