The curse of the child star is not easily overcome. Ask Spencer Hayes.
An Oscar winner at the tender age of 8, as an adult he has been reduced to presiding over grocery store openings.
When the out-of-work actor who used to know the limelight gets word that a remake of “Gone With the Wind” is in the offing, he thinks who better than he to play Rhett Butler. Relocating to a sleepy Southern town to research the role of a lifetime, he may just find himself instead of the character.
Hayes is the central figure of director Ryan Phillips’ feature film debut, “Southern Comfort,” which goes before the cameras in Charleston and Los Angeles in July.
Phillips and producer Adrian Westendorff of Charleston, one-time classmates at the University of South Carolina, are joined on the project by screenwriter Bruce Rubenstein, who adapted a story by Michael O’Hare Wallace.
“It’s an edgy script that doesn’t follow the typical romantic comedy road map,” says Phillips. “I’m confident (that) with the team we have attached, the movie will turn out great.”
As of now, the cast includes Matthew Marsden (“Transformers”), Andrew Dice Clay (“Entourage”), Shirly Brener (“Righteous Kill”), Griff Furst (“Battleship”), Richard Bryant (“Army Wives”) and Jake Johnson (“Talladega Nights”).
“I’ve had to take on the challenge of finding very remote locations to create the feel of a small town, but maintain the beauty of Charleston. The film is technically set in Georgia, but the stark contrast between the deep South and big city L.A. is a primary focal point of the story.”
Westendorff scouted locations on the peninsula, in North Charleston, Mount Pleasant and West Ashley.
The team plans to submit “Southern Comfort” to the Sundance, Cannes and Tribeca film festivals.
For more information, casting news and behind-the-scenes photos, visit www.facebook.com/southern comfortmovie.
Reach Bill Thompson at 937-5707.