"The Happening," with Wahlberg, Leguizamo and Buckley, Opens Wide June 13 | Playbill

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News "The Happening," with Wahlberg, Leguizamo and Buckley, Opens Wide June 13 Friday the 13th seems a particularly apt opening date for the new thriller-horror film "The Happening."
John Leguizamo with Ashlyn Sanchez
John Leguizamo with Ashlyn Sanchez Photo by Zade Rosenthal

M. Night Shyamalan's film — described as "a lightning-paced, heart-pounding paranoid thriller about a family on the run from an inexplicable and unstoppable event" — features a starry cast led by Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Ashlyn Sanchez, Spencer Breslin, Robert Bailey, Jr. and Tony Award winner Betty Buckley.

"For Philadelphia high school science teacher Elliot Moore (Wahlberg)," press notes state, "what matters most is finding a way to escape the mysterious and deadly phenomenon. Though he and his wife Alma (Deschanel) are in the midst of a marital crisis, they hit the road, first by train, then by car, with Elliot's math teacher friend Julian (Leguizamo) and his eight-year-old daughter Jess (Sanchez), heading for the Pennsylvania farmlands where they hope they'll be out of reach of the grisly, ever-growing attacks. Yet it soon becomes clear that no one – and nowhere – is safe. This terrifying, invisible killer cannot be outrun. It is only when Elliot begins to discover the true nature of what is lurking out there – and just what has unleashed this force that threatens the future of humanity — that he discovers a sliver of hope that his fragile family might be able to escape what is happening."

Sanchez, Deschanel, Leguizamo and Wahlberg in "The Happening."
photo by Zade Rosenthal
© Twentieth Century Fox
Broadway favorite Buckley portrays Mrs. Jones in the film, described as "an eccentric and suspicious old farm woman who provides an eerie refuge for Elliot, Alma and Jess just when all hope seems lost." In press notes, Buckley said, "I wasn't going to miss this opportunity. I think Night is a poet and his interest in exploring spirituality and creating alternate universes on screen really intrigues me. I like that his films always have an intelligent social commentary to make. And I just love any good thriller; I guess I'm an adrenaline rush kind of person. . . . My role models have always been Kim Stanley, Geraldine Page and Gena Rowlands and I like that kind of authentic, realistic character work. I love that this role is not about trying to be glamorous or acceptable in some way but about being unafraid of your own humanity and really putting it out there for the camera." Among other theatre names who make appearances in the film are Tony winner Victoria Clark (as Nursery Owner's Wife) and Kerry O'Malley (as Woman on Cell Phone).

Twentieth Century Fox presents "The Happening" in association with UTV Motion Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment. Shyamalan wrote, directed and produced the Blinding Edge Pictures production. Co-producers are Sam Mercer and Barry Mendel. For more information visit www.thehappeningmovie.

Betty Buckley in
Betty Buckley in "The Happening." Photo by Zade Rosenthal

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