Writer/director Tony McNamara’s Ashby will be available on DVD this coming Jan. 5 from Paramount Home Media.
Screened in April of this year at the Tribeca Film Festival, Ashby emerged from the clutter of new film openings (23 feature films and 17 documentaries) with positive buzz and was quickly snatched up as an indie acquisition by Paramount.
Let’s say up front that it is a mixed genre script from McNamara — not quite a black comedy in the literal sense, but a comedy with moments of violence. It’s what you would call “off-beat,” but in a good way.
Nat Wolff, fresh from Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars, stars as Ed, a high school kid uprooted and new in town with his single mom, June (played by Sarah Silverman — her casting gives you something of a clue as to the “off-beat” nature of the film; she has some terrific moments). Ed has no friends and would like to be nothing more than a wallflower … just blend into the scenery, get through high school and don’t get punched by the jocks.
However, events conspire against him and a class assignment leads him to his next door neighbor, Ashby Holt (Mickey Rourke), a man with 20 miles of bad road, no, wait, make that 120 miles of bad road written all over his face. He’s got health issues (in more ways than one) and has had a checkered career that includes 93 hits for the CIA — Ashby as it turns out is a retired killer (well, semi-retired). Nice neighbor.
The two hit if off, Ashby toughens Ed up and Ed reciprocates by driving his mentor to visit former associates (basically a getaway driver for hits). In the meantime, Ed meets the bespeckled Eloise (Emma Roberts — We’re the Millers, Nancy Drew, Aquamarine, etc.), learns to defend himself and discovers that he has a talent for playing football.
Now all Ed has to do is win the girl, win the big game and not get whacked. Who knew that high school would have so many challenges!!!