Logo, TVOne Networks’ Stars to Portray Jace and Allison
LOS ANGELES — Producers of the screen adaptation of the acclaimed young adult novel, “Something Like Summer,” announced casting for two more of their lead roles.
New York actor Ben Baur, who plays the lead in the provocative Logo TV web series, “Hunting Season,” will portray Jace Holden in the feature film from Blue Seraph Productions, now in the midst of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
Meanwhile, Atlanta-based Ajiona Alexus, who co-stars in “The Rickey Smiley Show,” will play the film’s female lead, singer Allison Cross.
The two join Austin McKenzie, who will portray Benjamin Bentley in the story of the gifted young singer whose relationship with unattainable athlete Tim Wyman is depicted over the course of a dozen years.
The novel upon which the film is based is the first of a popular five-book series by author Jay Bell, winner of the 2013 Lambda Literary Award. “Something Like Summer” was named one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2011.
“Something Like Summer” is slated to shoot in Portland, Ore., next spring. J.T. Tepnapa will direct, joined by writer-producer Carlos Pedraza, both behind 2011’s critically acclaimed “Judas Kiss,” and the recently released “The Dark Place.”
“WE’D BEEN keeping our eyes on Ben Baur, but it was a suggestion from the book’s author, Jay Bell, that made us finally call his agent,” Tepnapa said. “We had seen enough of Ben’s work in ‘Hunting Season’ that we decided to forego an audition; we just offered him the role.”
Alexus’ acting reel caught the producers’ attention this past summer, and they followed up with an audition using Skype, from her home in Georgia.
“Her TV work proved she had the acting and comedy chops,” Pedraza said. “And her music video demonstrated her powerful voice and stage presence. She was the one by which we measured all the other actors who auditioned for the role.”
Baur is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, with television work in “Happily Divorced” and “Nip/Tuck,” as well as several commercials.
“I’m so thrilled to be a part of this project. I know this story has touched a lot of people and it’s so incredible to be able to help bring it to life.” — Ben Baur (“Jace”)
He was picked No. 20 in Out magazine’s Top 100 Eligible Bachelors of 2014. His other credits include Fox’s “The Following,” the short film “Kelly,” and the cross-cultural feature “Front Cover,” now in post-production.
For her part, Alexus won acclaim for her stage performance in “A Raisin in the Sun,” then moved on to film and TV roles. At 14, she landed her first lead role in the feature, “Unspoken Words.” Just a few months later, she booked the role of DeAnna on “The Rickey Smiley Show.”
BORN INTO a family of singers and musicians, she has also showcased her musical talent, opening for artists like Diggy Simmons, OMG Girlz, TK N Cash and IYAZ. In 2012, she released a mix-tape titled, “Radio Ready,” and in 2013, she recorded her debut single, “Dream Big,” under Earn B. Management. Alexus is currently recording songs for her debut EP.
“I am grateful for this opportunity. I’m inspired by Allison because she’s the person who’s always there for you.” —Ajiona Alexus (“Allison”)
She is represented by J Pervis Talent Agency in Atlanta; Baur is represented by New York’s Clear Talent Group. Patti Carns Kalles, CSA, is the film’s casting director.
“Something Like Summer” is the third feature from Blue Seraph Productions, a Los Angeles company founded by director Tepnapa. His creative partner on “Judas Kiss,” Carlos Pedraza, also produced their second feature, “The Dark Place,” which is due for digital release on December 2, from Broken Glass Films.
The film is co-produced by Tom Ly of Jade Knight Productions in Seattle, which acquired the rights to Bell’s novel. More information about “Something Like Summer,” including its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, can be found at SomethingLikeSummer.com.