ACTOR AUSTIN McKenzie has dropped out from Something Like Summer, requiring the production to recast the role of Ben Bentley and move its shooting dates forward to late August.

McKenzie’s departure required producer Carlos Pedraza and director J.T. Tepnapa to reschedule the film’s principal photography in Portland; shooting begins in late August and will continue into September. The move required production staff to confirm the availability of the crew and the rest of the cast, as well as the two dozen locations at which the production will be shooting.

Director J.T. Tepnapa

Director J.T. Tepnapa

Meanwhile, the search is on for a new actor to play Ben Bentley.

“We’re encouraged by the hundreds of submissions we have received from all over the country,” J.T. said, “and I’m confident we’ll have a new actor in place before the month is out.”

Auditions are scheduled next week in Los Angeles and New York. Cast members Davi Santos (playing Tim Wyman) and Ben Baur (Jace) plan to participate in the casting process.

“The chemistry between these actors is critical to successfully telling this story,” J.T. said. “Having Ben and Davi on hand to help cast will be invaluable.”

UPDATE: MEET the 'new' Ben Bentley — actor-singer-activist Grant Davis.

UPDATE: MEET the ‘new’ Ben Bentley — actor-singer-activist Grant Davis.

RESCHEDULING The production staff contributed to the effort to reschedule the shoot, Carlos added. “Producer Hunter Arnold, production manager Tellier Killaby, co-producer Susan Funk and director of photography David Berry helped us re-work the logistics and quickly inform all our stakeholders, including investors, Indiegogo contributors visiting the set, cast and crew.”

Everyone’s efforts allowed producers to respond quickly to the situation and minimize the financial impact of rescheduling the shoot, Carlos said. “We’ll be more than ready to get this movie started in August.”

DEPARTING ACTOR McKenzie is currently appearing in the revival of Deaf West Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening in Los Angeles. The show was just extended following stellar opening night reviews, which are garnering the young actor a lot of industry attention.

Also, a new report in Broadway World indicates heightened discussion of the show’s possible move to the New York stage. UPDATE: Deadline Hollywood confirms the show is moving to New York.

“With all that is going on in Los Angeles around Spring Awakening, his manager informed us Austin couldn’t commit to Something Like Summer‘s shoot,” Carlos said. “Naturally, we’re disappointed about losing him, but we wish Austin well in his future endeavors.”

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