EXCLUSIVE: Maria Bakalova (Bodies Bodies Bodies) has joined the casts of Andrew Durham’s feature directorial debut Fairyland for American Zoetrope, and Jerry Seinfeld’s first film Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story for Netflix. Details as to the roles she’ll be playing in the features have not been disclosed, though we hear she’ll only be making a cameo in the latter.
Fairyland is a father-daughter coming-of-age story that Durham adapted from Alysia Abbott’s Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. The book originally published by W. W. Norton & Company in 2012 is set against San Francisco’s vibrant cultural scene of the 1970s and ’80s, both before and after the AIDS epidemic — a crisis that would ultimately claim the life of Abbott’s father, the widowed poet and gay activist, Steve Abbott. Bakalova joins an ensemble led by Emilia Jones and Scoot McNairy, which also includes Geena Davis, Cody Fern, Adam Lambert, Bella Murphy and newcomer Nessa Dougherty, as previously announced.
American Zoetrope acquired screen rights to Abbott’s memoir all the way back in 2013, with Sofia Coppola originally set to co-write the script alongside Durham, as we told you first. Producers on the recently-wrapped feature are Durham, Sofia Coppola, Megan Carlson, Greg Lauritano, Laure Sudreau and Siena Oberman. Its exec producers are Abbott, Sudreau, Roman Coppola, Nicole Shipley, Michael Musante, Sasha Shapiro, Jesse Ozeri, Anton Lessine, Gale Harold, Rebecca Gang, Susie Landau, Brooks Price, Elena Baranova, Eileen Spitalny, Mike Spitalny, Karen Salveson, Gary Hamilton, Ryan Hamilton, Ying Ye and Jeff Sobrato. Arclight Films is overseeing worldwide sales.
Billed as a tale of ambition, betrayal, sugar and menacing milkmen, Seinfeld’s Unfrosted is set in 1963 Michigan. It will watch as sworn cereal rivals Kellogg’s and Post race to create a pastry that will change the face of breakfast forever. In addition to co-writing and directing the film, the iconic comedian is set to star, as we first reported. Others filling out the pic’s star-studded lineup include Melissa McCarthy, Jim Gaffigan, Amy Schumer, Hugh Grant, James Marsden, Jack McBrayer, Tom Lennon, Adrian Martinez, Bobby Moynihan, Max Greenfield, Christian Slater and Sarah Cooper.
Seinfeld and Spike Feresten wrote Unfrosted with Andy Robin & Barry Marder. Seinfeld, Feresten and Beau Bauman are producing the film, with Cherylanne Martin, Andy Robin and Barry Marder serving as exec producers.
Bakalova broke out with her role opposite Sacha Baron Cohen in Prime Video’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, landing her first Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Borat’s teenage daughter, Tutar Sagdiyev, in 2021. The actress can currently be seen in A24’s newly released horror-comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies from director Halina Reijn, and will soon appear as Cosmo the Spacedog in James Gunn’s anticipated Marvel pic Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Also coming up for the rising star is the adventure comedy The Honeymoon recently acquired by Prime Video and Grindstone, which she starred in and produced.
Bakalova is represented by CAA, Brookside Artist Management and Insight Management & Production in the UK.