The acclaimed independent film was also co-written and co-produced by the 1992 Cleveland High School graduate, now known as Joshua Wade, who said he is looking forward to local reaction to his screwball comedy which made its DVD release Tuesday.
“It’s a cross between ‘Wedding Crashers’ and ‘Waiting for Guffman,’ said Wade. “It’s about two guys who hold a fake audition in New York to meet girls. It’s a buddy movie with a love story at the center of it.”
Hilarity ensues when dozens of sexy but talentless girls show up and compete for a job that doesn’t exist. Suddenly, an out-of-town farm girl shows up for the audition and Matt (Wade) along with his friend Sam (Jeffrey Schecter) are both instantly smitten with her.
The comedy puts the two love-struck misfits in the midst of writing and rehearsing a show to win the heart of the mesmerizing ‘farm girl.’ The problem is that they don’t know what they’re doing. One zany disaster leads to another. But with the help of the Broadway community, Matt and Sam have a shot at creating a brilliant Broadway hit and finding love along the way.
Joel Zwick, director of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” describes the movie as “A funny, smart and even touching comedy. The visual style is imaginative and very well executed. It is a story well told and very well acted.”
“We have had some great reviews and are very excited to finally get this movie out to the public,” said Wade, who premiered the film with longtime friend and director J. Robert Spencer at the Big Apple Film Festival in New York in 2007, and the Atlanta Film Festival in 2008.
“You wouldn’t believe how long it takes to get a movie made, let alone to get distribution,” said Wade. “Maverick Entertainment is releasing the film and we’re excited to be distributing through them.”
The film was shot in 23 days, according to Wade — similar to the time it took Clint Eastwood to shoot the Oscar-winning film “Million Dollar Baby.”
Born in Palm Beach, Fla., but raised in Cleveland, Wade left the South in 1992 for New York to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). After years of performing in the theater, on film and in commercials, the enterprising actor started writing screenplays between roles.
“J. Robert Spencer and I had been in a rock musical version of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ together and we really got along comedically,” said Wade. “He was in LA at the time and mentioned an idea for a screenplay that would be fun for us to act in as well. As we wrote it, we knew we had to be in this film because only we would really get how to play these characters.”
Spencer, who originated the role of “Nick Massi” in the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys,” approached one of the producers who loved the script and put up the money to make the film.
“The beautiful thing about this investor is that he gave us complete control over our vision,” said Wade. “He allowed us to be in the film which is practically unheard of in a world that is mostly celebrity-driven.”
While Wade admits it would be great to sell a script to a studio or network, he is currently staying busy and working on a new script to star in.
“We will see if lightning will strike twice,” he said. “I am also working on a television pilot and trying to sell a couple of other scripts from the recent past.”
Wade said his mother, Dianne Hodnett Linder, “has been the biggest motivator and inspiration for me simply because she was very encouraging of my decision to move to New York and pursue this business at an early age.”
“I gained a lot of confidence at Cleveland High School through the plays and musicals as well,” he said.
As for being satisfied with his latest DVD release, Wade said “Farm Girl in New York,” is “a fun, silly, heartfelt, labor of love. We take a very traditional format but add a screwball element that makes it more entertaining and unique than most of the big budget films out there of the same genre. You can’t help but enjoy yourself.”
The DVD is also available on Amazon.com.
Wade’s mother and two brothers, Ivo Aaron Wade and Ben Linder also graduated from Cleveland High School.