Principal casting on ‘The Christ Slayer’ nears completion with unique, bold choices

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‘One of the most successful down syndrome actors in entertainment’ takes on his most challenging role to date with confidence

“Every artist, in front of or behind the camera, brings his or her own special talent to a project,” said a smiling Collective Development Incorporated CEO, DJ Perry, when talking about the final lead and major supporting actors cast in ‘The Christ Slayer.’

“We’d looked at dozens of actors for the role of ‘Albus,’ the servant boy to Roman Centurion, Longinus (Carl Weyant), but we couldn’t find an actor who would bring that necessary ‘X’ factor, that intangible, yet natural sense of innocence while providing levity to the character and story,” Perry explained further.

‘The Christ Slayer,’ the final installment of CDI’s ‘Quest Trilogy,’ films in Yuma, AZ, in March.

“In our first film of the trilogy, ‘Forty Nights,’ we had a pleasant and unsuspecting ‘innocence factor’ in ‘Mr. T-Rex,’ a lamb we ‘cast’ as ‘Moses,'” continued Perry, who portrays ‘Jesus’ in ‘Forty Nights’ and ‘The Christ Slayer.’ In ‘Chasing the Star’ we had the amazing young actor Logan Kishi, whom everyone in the audience comes to love with his exhuberance and innocence of youth.”

The producers and director of ‘The Christ Slayer’ (Nathaniel Nose), after weeks of searching and auditioning, kept circling back to one actor’s demo reel and his body of work.

“We were struggling and trying not to make a mistake in a crucial role,” explained Mr. Nose. “We were looking for a ‘Sam Wise’ (Sean Astin) type to play opposite ‘Frodo’ from ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ” he added. “Someone who would do anything to serve and save his ‘Frodo.'”

CDI found its man, or we should say ‘their men,’ in Lafayette, LA.

“We’re so pleased to announce that Josh ‘The Ponceman’ Perry has been cast as ‘Albus,’ and his brother and traveling companion, Scott Allen Perry, an award-winning writer-actor-director in his own right, has signed on as ‘Gaius,’ a brutish village enforcer,” explained DJ Perry, who is no relation to the Perry brothers. (That we know.)

Added DJ, “Josh has the natural humor and chemistry in his interaction with everyone, on screen or off. You can see it in all of his work. We’re excited for Josh and Scott.”

The obvious first question to be asked before casting a young man with Down Syndrome, is ‘can he learn a multitude of dialogue and physically endure being in the film from start to finish as a lead?’ Scott Perry succinctly answered those questions for producers. “Ponce (who has been called by Hollywood press as “The most successful Down Syndrome actor in entertainment”) is one of the most talented actors I know, with a natural gift of comedic timing, something you can’t fake. He has the incredible ability to show layers of emotion with one expression. And when he gets to do drama, it is mesmerizing.”

Josh, whose family is incredibly supportive, answered first person. “I’m Josh ‘The Ponceman’ Perry and I’m a professional actor. I’ve been in lots of movies and TV shows with some of my favorite actors of our time. They’re all awesome and they know how much I love movies and acting.”

And, a young man who has an incredible ability to laugh at himself, and who ‘owns’ his Down Syndrome as ‘just words, wasn’t exaggerating. In addition to being a YouTube sensation with he and Scott’s own material, Josh has been in TV shows like Showtime’s ‘Shameless’ to films such as ‘Looper’ and ‘American Cowslip.’

He’s worked with actors from Bruce Willis, William H. Macy, Bruce Dern, Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin and Michigan’s own Jeff Daniels, to Val Kilmer, Nick Cassavetes, Emily Blunt, Diane Ladd, Cloris Leachman, Danny Trejo and many others.

A favorite among Ponce’s many off-set anecdotes came from legendary actor Bruce Dern, who won a 2013 Best Actor an the Cannes Film Festival and who was a Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee for ‘Nebraska,’ which also featured Rance Howard, who portrays the ‘Devil as an Old Man’ in all three films in the trilogy.

“Mr. Dern told me he was gonna cast me in one of his movies because I was ‘RAW!’ How cool is that!”

Scott Perry, the writing engine and wry wit behind much of the brothers’ material, has been performing his entire life. Since, as he puts it, “I played Hansel in the 3rd grade production of ‘Hansel & Gretel’ that was the talk of Our Lady of Fatima PTA and Alumni for decades.”

Since those highly successful and formidable training years, Scott has landed numerous TV and movie roles. Among them CBS’ series NCIS: New Orleans and ‘Zoo,’ ‘Shameless’ on Showtime, as well as films with his brother such as ‘Pastor Shepherd,’ and ‘American Cowslip.’

Scott says the only thing predictable about him is his unpredictable nature. And speaking of nature, his direction of the documentary, “The Outdoorsman: Blood, Sweat and Beers,” which was sold at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC to Spike TV and later the Independent Film Channel, ‘put him on fire.’

With Ponceman and his brother Scott joining the cast of ‘The Christ Slayer,’ due out in 2018, it will be hard work, having the actors stretch their chops outside their usual domain, and it will be business as usual in producing the film, a track record for which CDI has become known. ‘On schedule, on budget, and a great story with high production value and atristry.’

And always a key element of a CDI production, is camaraderie. The Perry brothers seem like a great fit, both on and off set.

Collective Development Inc.



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