The project is being directed and features a book by Peter Hedges, writer of the 1991 novel of the same name and its 1993 screen adaptation; and songs by Adrian Blake Enscoe, Christopher Sears, Sydney Shepherd, and Regina Strayhorn. Enscoe, Shepherd, and Strayhorn are all part of Brooklyn-based indie-folk-pop-Americana band Bandits on the Run.
Hedges' novel is set in the fictional Endora, Iowa, centering on the titular Gilbert and his dysfunctional family, which includes a mother so overweight she's unable to go outside and a mentally disabled younger brother. The 1993 screen version starred Johnny Depp in the title role and Leonardo DiCaprio as his brother Arnie, a performance that earned the actor his first Academy Award nomination.
According to the casting notice, the project is currently planning to use a cast of actor-musicians, with each performer taking on multiple roles, singing, and playing instruments. Some casting is in place, with Arnie, Amy, Momma Grape and Mr. Lamson, Mr. Ken Carver, and Tucker Van Dyke already filled. One of the characters still being cast is the title role. The Telsey Office is casting the workshop.
Hedges, father to Broadway alum Lucas Hedges, has spent the bulk of his career writing and directing for the screen. His stage works include Oregon, Champions of the Average Joe, The Age of Pie, Andy and Claire, Teddy by the Sea, Imagining Brad, and Baby Anger. After penning the screenplay to What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Hedges wrote A Map of the World and About a Boy, and wrote and directed Pieces of April, Dan in Real Life, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Ben is Back, and The Same Storm.
Reached for comments, MCC's press representatives shared that the company "hopes to share [the production] with audiences in the coming seasons."