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Rohal Finds ‘Scoutmasters’ in Knoxville and Oswalt

Guatemalan Handshake and Catechism Cataclysm helmer Todd Rohal’s Sundance workshopped screenplay has received the greenlight. According to Deadline, production on the to be retitled Scoutmasters commences this week with Johnny Knoxville and Patton Oswalt toplining the dark comedy with a supporting cast rounded out by Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street), Maura Tierney (television’s ER) and Patrice O’Neal with the hope that the production squeezes in a part for Robert Longstreet.

Guatemalan Handshake and Catechism Cataclysm helmer Todd Rohal’s Sundance workshopped screenplay has received the greenlight. According to Deadline, production on the to be retitled Scoutmasters commences this week with Johnny Knoxville and Patton Oswalt toplining the dark comedy with a supporting cast rounded out by Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street), Maura Tierney (television’s ER) and Patrice O’Neal with the hope that the production squeezes in a part for Robert Longstreet. Ramin Bahrani/David Gordon Green producer Lisa Muskat was on board from the get-go, and now Big Beach’s Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf’s are also picking up the tab. Green is exec producer. If all goes well, I smell a possible Sundance showing in 2012.

Gist: When a well-meaning but immature Scouting Leader kidnaps his adopted Sudanese nephew to indoctrinate him into the joys of scouting, his good intentions are quickly thwarted as he leads his troop down a darkly comic road of chaos, death, and destruction. Knoxville and Oswalt will play battling brothers who attempt to honor their ailing father by taking a troop of boys on a camping trip.

Worth Noting: When Rohal was a Boy Scout, some scoutmasters faked a death as part of a first aid test. The film should use some aspect of this anecdote.  

Do We Care?: We can vouch for his first pair of efforts – in our review of Catechism Cataclysm we had this to say about Rohal: “it’s rare that a filmmaker’s voice can come through so distinctly these days. There aren’t really any obvious influences for Catechism. Rohal seems to be coming from some combination of the Midwest—particularly religious fanaticism and hypocrisy laced with strip mall and Walmart culture, Lynch, Linklater, Malick, and then the oft-referenced reference points are unfortunately Napoleon Dynamite and fortunately his collaborators David Gordon Green and Jody Hill.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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