Emmy winner Courtney B. Vance has been cast as Julia Roberts’ husband and Lucas Hedges’ stepfather in the indie drama Ben Is Back, it was announced Tuesday.
The film hails from writer-director Peter Hedges, and it co-stars Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies). Color Force and Black Bear Pictures are producing alongside Peter Hedges, with 30WEST and Black Bear fully financing. Production began today in New York.
Ben Is Back is described as a powerful drama that follows the charming, yet troubled, Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges) who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben’s wary mother, Holly Burns (Roberts) welcomes her beloved son’s return, but soon learns that he is still very much in harm’s way. During the 24 hours that may change their lives forever, Holly must do everything in her power to avoid the family’s downfall and protect the ones she loves. Of course, Vance’s character has his own philosophy on how to handle his stepson’s return, and it puts him at direct odds with his wife.
Vance won an Emmy for his excellent turn as Johnnie Cochran in the FX series The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. He recently co-starred opposite Tom Cruise in The Mummy and appeared alongside Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman in the comedy Office Christmas Party. Vance also recently went head-to-head with Oprah Winfrey in the HBO movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Vance is also part of the all-star cast of Wes Anderson’s animated film Isle of Dogs, and he’s also reteaming with director Anthony Hemingway on the FX drama Heist 88.
CAA, which packaged and arranged financing for the film, is representing U.S. rights, while Sierra/Affinity is handling international rights.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief