Fat Kid Rules the World

Fat Kid Rules the World

Jacob Wysocki as seen in FAT KID RULES THE WORLD, a film by Matthew Lillard. Picture courtesy ARC Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Fat Kid Rules the World (2012)

Opened: 10/05/2012 Limited

World Premiere03/09/2012 - 03/09/20121 day
Cinema Village...10/05/2012 - 10/11/20127 days
NoHo 710/12/2012 - 10/18/20127 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook

Genre: Comedy

Rated: R for sexual and drug content, and brief violent images.


Troy Billings is seventeen, overweight, and suicidal. Just as he's about to jump in front of a bus, he's saved by Marcus, a charming high school dropout/street musician. The two begin an uneasy friendship when Marcus enlists the musically challenged Troy to become the drummer in a new punk rock band. As Troy's relationship with Marcus grows, Troy's father becomes increasingly concerned about his son's new friendship.

Jacob Wysocki (TERRI), Matt O'Leary (NATURAL SELECTION) and Billy Campbell (THE KILLING) star in Matthew Lillard's directorial debut based on the novel by K. L. Going and produced by Whitewater Films.

Director's Vision

I was asked to write a director's statement for the FAT KID RULES THE WORLD press packet. Having been on the hustle for almost 10 years trying to get the movie made, I knew I had worked something up before and I was curious if I could just adapt it to fit my needs. Below is the "DIRECTOR'S VISION" I wrote to be included in our original investor package.

FAT KID RULES THE WORLD is a project very dear to me. 4 years ago I did the reading of it for a book on tape. During the reading, at around page 20, I picked up the phone and called to see if the movie rights were available. I knew, even then, that Fat Kid was going to make a kick ass movie.

STYLE -- I'm going to shoot the movie fast and lean. The camera will move with energy and reason. Our lighting package will be minimal and we'll light for space rather then effect. I don't believe in beauty light, I want things to look raw and sweaty. I won't use primary colors because I want the world of the film to be muted, dirty, and real. The film will play in it's own rhythm, finding simple moments of truth that will let us laugh and feel the angst of what it is to be an obese outcast. Music will also play a huge part of the film.

PRODUCTION -- Our budget is modest so we'll keep the crew small and agile. We'll hire young, qualified talent and promote people to "keys" when and where appropriate. We believe that passion is a powerful commodity and will bet on vigor of youth. I'm committed to hiring a fantastic 1st Assistant Director and Line Producer to keep us on track. I've seen movies collapse without strength in those key positions. I'm also keenly aware that a topnotch director of photography will be invaluable to our success. We'll shoot with two cameras to cut back on set up time and coverage. I'll have my editor generate an assembly as we shoot to assure we're getting the pieces we need to make a successful film.

PERFORMANCE -- This film is nothing if I can't get amazing performances out of our lead actors. Free with improvisation and alive in the moment the actors will have the ability to breath in their performances. We'll rehearse before shooting starts so that once we get on set, our actors will be prepared, fearless and ready to roll.

My job as a director is to inspire the best in people and lead them a single, creative direction. I've learned over the years that the great ones have a sense of humbleness and can let people be extraordinary. I believe in guiding the collective artistic effort rather forcing an outcome. Directing a movie is like being the coach of a team or the captain of a ship, in the end you're responsible, but it's the collective team that gets the job done. I'm ready to take this step in my life, I'm ready for the challenge of directing this movie.

-- M. Lillard.

*I'm struck with how close this vision statement is to the experience we collectively had shooting the film. In the end we chose to shoot one camera instead of two, but the rest of the statement rings pretty much true.

What I didn't know when I wrote this was how much I would come to depend of three specific people: my Director of Photography Noah Rosenthal, Editor Michelle Witten and our Executive Producer Rick Rosenthal. This film is a testament to their remarkable talents, without them I would be lost!

In a world where we are constantly mitigating our creative experience to coincide with the objectives of the bottom line, making FAT KID RULES THE WORLD was as fulfilling an experience any artist could possible hope for. It is the single proudest moment of my professional life and I'm thrilled to share it with the audiences at SXSW!

Filmmaker Biographies

Matthew Lillard (Director)

Matthew Lillard, a veteran of both stage and screen, is well known for his performances in over 50 films and television shows over the last 19 years. With titles like Scream, Without a Paddle, Thir13ten Ghosts and Scooby Doo 1 & 2, Lillard is associated with a number of Hollywood Box Office hits totaling over $700 million dollars in revenue worldwide. He received critical success with independent titles SLC Punk! and Ed Burn's The Groomsmen and debuted three films at the acclaimed Sundance Film Festival. He currently stars with George Clooney in Alexander Payne's The Descendants which received the Golden Globe for best picture and five academy award nominations. A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles and New York's prestigious Circle in the Square, the award winning actor has been the Artistic Director of theatre companies in both Los Angeles and New York City. FAT KID RULES THE WORLD World is Lillards first foray into directing. He has produced three other movies in the past. Matthew currently resides in Pasadena, California with his wife and three children.

Nick Morton (Producer)

Nick Morton currently works as a producer for Whitewater Films. Prior to joining Whitewater, he served as Executive Vice-President of Production and Development at Baldwin Entertainment Group. In that capacity, he served as an Executive Producer on DEATH SENTENCE which was directed by James Wan and starred Kevin Bacon and Garrett Hedlund. Prior to BEG, Nick was Vice-President of Production at Crusader Entertainment where he oversaw all aspects of the companies production and development slate and co-produced RAY, SAHARA SWIMMING UPSTREAM, and GAME OF THEIR LIVES. He was a Vice-President of production at Phoenix Pictures and began his career in the Independent Film Division at William Morris.

Rick Rosenthal (Producer)

Whitewater Films founder Rick Rosenthal has established himself as an award-winning director-producer, a veteran with a dynamic career spanning 25 years who is also committed to helping launch new filmmakers. Over the years, he has directed films across diverse genres, including Bad Boys, American Dreamer, Nearing Grace, Halloween II, Halloween Resurrection, and numerous hit television programs, including "Life Goes On," "Smallville," "Tru Calling," "Buffy," "Law & Order: SVU," "Providence," "Crossing Jordan," and "The Practice." Rick most recently completed principal photography on Drones -- a feature length thriller that explores the moral dilemmas confronting the US military as it expands its use of robotic weaponry to prosecute its wars.

Noah Rosenthal (Director Of Photography)

As the son of a filmmaker, Los Angeles "native" Noah Rosenthal became fascinated with the art and craft of movies at a very young age. This early interest led him on an unconventional path to a career as a Cinematographer. Attending Middlebury College in Vermont, he took a double major in Film and Media Culture and American Literature (with a little Division III Football mixed in!), guided fly fishing trips on wild trout rivers of Wyoming, travelled the country taking photographs, studied acting at The Beverly Hills Playhouse before eventually receiving an MFA in Cinematography from The American Film Institute where he was the first second-generation graduate. (His father Rick graduated the AFI in the 1970's)

His work has played at festivals all over the country as well as internationally with the success of the Short Films "The MisInventions of Milo Weatherby" "I ? Veronica Martin" and "Blink" and the Feature Films "Jealous of the Birds" and "Conception". Moving recently into Feature Films, Noah has had the opportunity to work with a group of very talented Filmmakers and Actors. His first feature "Conception" directed by Josh Stolberg (writer of Sorority Row, Good Luck Chuck and Pirannha 3D) is slated for release through Tribeca Films in February 2012.

More recently, Noah just completed work on "FAT KID RULES THE WORLD," the Directorial Debut of actor Matthew Lillard (The Descendants, Scooby Doo, Scream, SLC Punk) and "Drones," his first feature collaboration with his father Director Rick Rosenthal (Bad Boys, American Dreamer, Smallville, Life Goes On) is currently in Post-Production.

Noah prides himself on strong collaboration and the ability to work from the elements of a story to find the best look for a film. In finding and defining visual choices and structure, one can support a narrative visually in ways that help to elevate the story far beyond what is on the page. He has experience across the genres and looks forward to expanding it, fully expecting his passion for visual storytelling to be a life-long pursuit.

Mike McCready (Composer)

McCready was born in Pensacola, Florida, but moved to San Diego as a baby and then to Seattle at the age of four. His first band was called Warrior, followed by Shadow, with which he moved to Los Angeles in an unsuccessful bid at rock stardom. Thoroughly fed up with the music business, McCready was back in Seattle working at an Italian restaurant and attending community college classes when he began jamming with middle school acquaintance Stone Gossard on the material that eventually became the first Pearl Jam album.

Ryan Lewis (Co-Producer)

Ryan has spent the last decade working for companies such as NBC, Spyglass Entertainment, Jerry Bruckheimer Films and the Paradigm talent agency. His first feature, AUTOPSY, was released as part of After Dark's "8 Films to Die For" series. Most recently, his comedy HIGH SCHOOL premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and is anticipated for release in Winter 2011. Other comedies include the David Cross starrer DEMOTED and J.B. Rogers (AMERICAN PIE 2) directed POOL BOYS. Most recently, he co-produced the feature film adaptation of the acclaimed novel FAT KID RULES THE WORLD.

Evan Hoyt Wasserstrom (Producer

Evan Hoyt Wasserstrom worked with his mentor, George Gallo (writer/director/producer - films including "Midnight Run," "Bad Boys" & "Middle Men.") on films such as "My Mom's New Boyfriend" with Antonio Banderas and Meg Ryan and "Local Color" with Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ray Liotta and Samantha Mathis. Evan then produced his first script, "Senior Skip Day," a high school comedy starring Larry Miller, Lea Thompson, Norm McDonald, Clint Howard, Tara Reid." His horror script, "Cul-De-Sac," made this year's Hollywood Blood List. He is developing a television pilot, which just sold as a pitch to Universal entitled, "Echo Park."

Talan C. Torriero (Producer)

Talan C. Torriero also starred in "Skip Day," and he and Evan realized their shared passion for the same kinds of films and TV shows. After the movie wrapped, they decided to form a production company together (Whippany Park Productions). They've partnered on some spec features and pilots together before they found the award-winning book entitled, "Fat Kid Rules the World.".

K.L. Going (Writer)

K.L. Going is the award winning author of numerous books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association, and was included on YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults list and their list of Best Books for the Past Decade. Her books have been Booksense picks, Scholastic Book Club choices, Junior Library Guild selections, NY Public Library Best Books for the Teenage, and winners of state book awards. They've been featured by Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Children's Book Council as Best Books of the year. Her work has also been published in Korea, Italy, Japan, Germany, and the UK, and her novel Fat Kid Rules the World is now an independent film!

K.L. began her career working at one of the oldest literary agencies in New York City. She used this inner knowledge of publishing to write Writing and Selling the Young Adult Novel -- a how-to book for aspiring writers, published by Writer's Digest. She has also written short stories for several anthologies and currently has multiple picture books under contract. She lives in Glen Spey, NY where she both writes and runs a business critiquing manuscripts. She's also a mom to the world's cutest little boy.

Cast Biographies

Jacob Wysocki (Troy)

A native of Lomita, California, Jacob Wysocki landed his first professional acting job with a recurring role on the ABC Family series "Huge." He followed this up with a critically acclaimed turn in the 2011 Sundance standout "Terri," starring in the title role opposite John C. Reilly. Jacob received a Gotham Award nomination for Breakthrough Actor for "Terri" and was highlighted by The Huffington Post as one of 2011's Fresh Faces in Movies.

Jacob will next be seen in Matthew Lillard's directorial debut "FAT KID RULES THE WORLD," set for its world premiere at the 2012 South by Southwest Film Festival. He most recently completed production on the Universal Pictures comedy "Pitch Perfect," set in the world of competitive a capella, and the independent feature "Drones" directed by Rick Rosenthal.

Jacob regularly performs with the ComedySportz improv troupe at the National Comedy Theater in Hollywood and is a member of the viral video sketch group Bath Boys Comedy. He can be found on the Web at bathboyscomedy.blogspot.com and on Twitter (@Jacob Wysocki).

Matt O'Leary (Marcus)

Matt O'Leary most recently appeared in Andrew Niccol's IN TIME for Fox and HBO's Television Movie CINEMA VERTE opposite Diane Lane, Tim Robbins and James Gandolfini. Additionally, Matt can also be seen in the independent feature, NATURAL SELECTION directed by Robbie Pickering, for which he won a Breakthrough Performance Award at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival Awards. This film also garnered four other marquee awards at the festival, including an award for winning the Narrative Feature Competition.

His upcoming projects include Matthew Lillard's directorial debut film, FAT KIDS RULE THE WORLD opposite Jacob Wysocki; and Megan Griffith's EDEN with Jamie Chung and Beau Bridges. Both of these films will be premiering at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. Matt will also star in Disney's remake of THE LONE RANGER with director Gore Verbinksi. He most recently completed the military thriller DRONES directed by Rick Rosenthal that explores the unique moral implications of robotic warfare. Previous credits for Matt include Frailty, Spy Kids, The Alamo, Brick, Live Free or Die Hard, and Sorority Row.

Billy Campbell (Mr. Billings)

Billy Campbell currently stars in the critically acclaimed AMC television series, "The Killing." Campbell plays the role of troubled mayoral candidate Darren Richmond in the thrilling drama, which Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times describes as "scary and suspenseful, but in a subdued, meditative way that is somehow all the more chilling." The second season will premiere April 1, 2012.

Campbell is best known for starring opposite Sela Ward in the beloved ABC drama "Once and Again." In the series, Campbell portrayed single father 'Rick Sammler,' a role for which he earned a 1999 Golden Globe Awards nomination in the Best Actor - Drama Series category, as well as a People's Choice Award in the Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series category. The show was also nominated in 1999 for a Golden Globe for Best Drama Series.

Campbell's other passion in life is sailing. From May 2005 through June 2006, he circumnavigated the globe while crewing on the 179-foot tall ship, the Barque Picton Castle. During this trip -- covering 50,000 deep-water miles and 52 ports in over 20 countries around the world -- he and the crew delivered construction and medical supplies, and donated educational materials to remote villages throughout the South Pacific. From 2001 through 2004, Campbell also served on voyages in and around the North Sea and Europe on the full-rigged ship Sorlandet out of Kristiandsand, Norway.

Campbell grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, and attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago, where he studied illustration. He was trained at the Ted Liss Studio for the Performing Arts and the Players Workshop of Second City in Chicago, Howard Fine Studio in Los Angeles.

Campbell is an avid Rugby player. He enjoys reading, writing, hang-gliding and long walks in the deep woods, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, which he has for the last few years called home.