As reported in Variety last week, Jack Black has signed on to star in this new film from Orange County writer Mike White and producer Scott Rudin. Black’s character, Dewey Finn, was described as a musician who becomes a substitute teacher in an uptight private school, who influences the young students with his antics and music. What the Variety didn’t tell us is the ages of Dewey’s charges. Think Dead Poet’s Society meets Kindergarten Cop somewhere in the middle…
Yuki: 9 to 11 to play 9 years old. Asian to play Japanese. Shy and unpopular, Yuki is a stunning classical guitar prodigy whose personality blossoms when he is appointed lead guitarist in the band. However, although Yuki enjoys guitar, and his new popularity, his real ambition is to get good grades and ultimately become a doctor. His parents want no part of Dewey. (Guitar experience helpful.)
Summer: 9-11 to play 9 years old. Summer is the classic teacher’s pet who enjoys being in control and in charge of everything. She is blonde, privileged, precocious and bossy. At the top of her class, she enjoys keeping tabs on the rest of the kids. She is immediately suspicious of Dewey and his unusual teaching methods.
Freddy: 9-11 to play 9 years old. Freddy has a very low attention span and is very hyper. He is a mischievous gremlin who would probably be expelled if it weren’t for his father’s donations to the school. Dewey harnesses Freddy’s energy and boosts his self-esteem by appointing him drummer of the band. (Only actors with drumming experience who are very physical and can sing a bit should apply.)
Lori: 9-11 to play 9 years old. Lori is a shy, meek, overweight girl who is a very talented pianist. Her mother is constantly calling her “fat” and telling her that she’ll be denied opportunities because of her size. Dewey empathizes with Lori, and urges her to follow in the footsteps of Aretha Franklin and Mama Cass. Because of Dewey, Lori starts believing in her talent and herself. (Must be able to play piano.)
Diego: 9-11 to play 9 years old. Latino. A talented musician, Diego becomes the bass player for the band.
Tomika, Marta and Alison: 9-11 to play 9 years old. These three girls become the back-up singers for the band. (All three must be able to dance a bit.)
Leonard: 9-11 to play 9 years old. Must be able to be a human beat box (make percussive sounds with his mouth). He becomes a DJ for the band and spins records.
Mark: 9-11 to play 9 years old. He is the other DJ for the band and spins records. Must be physical.
Michelle: 9-11 to play 9 years old. Timid. Girly. She ends up as a groupie.
Lindsay, Eleni and Carey: 9-11 to play 9 years old. Other groupies. They are also girly. The groupies are in charge of decorations, hair, and make-up as well as boosting the band’s morale.
Anuj: 9-11 to play 9 years old. South Asian. Male. A roadie.
Matthew and Gordon: 9-11 to play 9 years old. Other roadies.
Derek: 9-11 to play 9 years old. He is put on security detail. He and the others on security keep a lookout for teachers at the school to make sure no one outside the class knows about the band. Derek sings a bit of a Nirvana song at one point.
Holly: 9-11 to play 9 years old. She is also on security detail and at one point plays “Heart and Soul” on the piano.
Jimmy: 9-11 to play 9 years old. Jimmy is the third child on security detail.
The storyline: Down and out rocker Dewey Finn (Jack Black) has been fired from his band, is deeply in debt, and is practically friendless. When he hears of a Battle of the Bands contest sponsored by a local radio station, Dewey is determined to win the prize money and turn his life around. None of Dewey’s peers want to be in a band with him; one night, by chance he hears 9 year old guitar prodigy Yuki Takeuchi play. Yuki is a student at a prestigious private grade school, which prepares very young minds for Ivy League colleges. In order to get close to Yuki, Dewey poses as a substitute 4th grade teacher at the school, and unbeknownst to the parents and school personnel, decides to form a rock band with Yuki and the other students in the class.
No director has signed on of yet, although Rudin had hoped to have one set by the end of last week. Shooting begins in mid-November.
If you feel you are rightly suitable for one of these roles, please feel free to have your agent contact either the production company or the casting directors.
Director: In negotiations
Producers: Scott Rudin
Writers: Mike White
Casting Director: Ilene Starger