Local grad helps produce award-winning indie film

HUGHESVILLE – Central Pa. native Joshua Deal, an employee at the film and television production company Andrew Lauren Productions, was recently involved in the production of indie film “The Spectacular Now.”

The film, based on Tim Tharp’s novel of the same name, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January where it won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting and was released in theaters in August.

Deal, a 2006 Hughesville High School graduate, was hired by producer Andrew Lauren after spending a semester studying film at New York University.

Deal is listed in the credits as an assistant to the producer. He also appears in the film as an extra in a bar scene. Although he worked with some well-known actors, Deal said that it does not matter who you are working with, as long as everyone is motivated and works hard to create the best product that they can.

“I met all of the actors. It’s just like working with regular people,” said Deal. “It’s not all about the actors. As long as everyone who is working on the film is on board, it’s going to be a good movie.”

Deal’s responsibility was to assist the producers with the development of the film.

Film development is the first step in creating a movie. Development includes things such as creating the screenplay, developing characters and finding investors for the film.

“I’m not a producer or a writer. It’s not my movie. A lot of people worked on it, too,” said Deal. “I helped with the casting, production, investments and assisting the writers with the script.”

The film was directed by James Ponsoldt (“Smashed”) and produced by Tom McNultym, Shawn Levy, Andrew Lauren and Michelle Krumm. The film’s script was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (“500 Days of Summer”).

“The Spectacular Now” is the story of high school senior Sutter Keely, played by Miles Teller (“Footloose,” “Project X,” “21 & Over”), who is more than comfortable with his life of partying and working at a men’s clothing store, with no plans for the future. That is until his girlfriend breaks up with him because of his severe lack of motivation and emerging alcoholism.

After a hard night of binge drinking to numb the pain of heartbreak, Sutter wakes up on a stranger’s lawn to good girl Aimee Finicky, played by Shailene Woodley (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”), standing over him. Aimee is different; she doesn’t drink, reads sci-fi and has high hopes for her future plans of going to college.

Although the two are polar opposites, romance sparks. Aimee teaches Sutter how to care about people and become a better person, while Sutter teaches Aimee how to stand up for herself and not to take life so seriously.

(Editor’s note:?see film review, Page 6, for more details on the film.)

Deal said that he enjoyed working in film development but in the future would like to become more involved in television production.

“I like writing and I like producing. I’m just going step-by-step through the film industry,” said Deal.

Deal continues to work at Andrew Lauren Productions and live in New York City. He is helping to find new projects for the company. The company currently has four other films in development.

“We are working on a ‘Field of Dreams’-like movie about space travel, a Parisian thriller, a film noir set in Cuba and a dramedy based on the novel ‘Unexpectedly Milo,’ ” said Deal.

“The Spectacular Now” made its central Pennsylvania debut in Lewisburg at the Campus Theater last Friday. The final showing of the film is tonight, 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Theatre, 413 Market St., Lewisburg.