According to Deadline, GLEE’s Melissa Benoist has signed on to join Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, and Alan Alda in the upcoming film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ latest romance novel THE LONGEST RIDE. George Tillman, Jr. will direct.
THE LONGEST RIDE is officially described as:
“Ira Levinson is in trouble. Ninety-one years old and stranded and injured after a car crash, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and Everyday joys that defined their marriage.
A few miles away, at a local bull-riding event, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who Bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death – loom large in Everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.
Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.”
Eastwood and Robertson will play Luke and Sophia, respectively, while Benoist will play Sophia’s roommate Marcia.
I’ve added a new large quality photo of Melissa from a photoshoot she did back in 2012!
I’ve added 12 HQ photos of Melissa attending the Glee 100th Episode celebration earlier tonight.
You wouldn’t expect the stars of “Glee” to be nervous about a little song and dance.
But that’s just how series regulars Blake Jenner and Melissa Benoist feel about putting on their first show together, along with some of their co-stars and friends from the hit musical comedy. The stars will come to Modesto for “One Night Only!” at the Gallo Center for the Arts on Feb. 22. The show is a fundraiser for Jenner and Benoist’s independent film, “Billy Boy,” which is being co-produced by Modesto native and Hollywood casting director Robert Ulrich.
“Nobody is more nervous that I am. I just don’t want to suck,” said Jenner, who plays Ryder on “Glee” and wrote “Billy Boy” last summer. “Putting together our own show is stressful in a fun way. You are worried because you want everything to be perfect. I’ve never really done this before, but it’s really exciting. We want to have a good time with everyone. We want to sing songs we have always loved and wanted to sing.”
Joining Jenner and Benoist will be fellow “Glee” castmate Alex Newell, who plays Unique on the series, and “The Glee Project” alums Lindsay Pearce, a Modesto native who was the first-season runner-up and appeared in two episodes of “Glee,” and Abraham Lim, who was on the competition show’s second season. Joining them will be L.A. comedian Nathaniel Stroud and all of the past Valley’s Got Talent winners, including Shelly Bort, Stop Motion Poetry, The Sensations and Francesca Heyward. Ulrich will host the evening.
The concert will have a variety show format with a mix of singing, dancing, comedy, audience interaction and video skits. Ulrich said the musical repertoire will range from classic standards from the 1920s to modern-day chart hits.
“I think it’ll be a really, really fun, incredible, and joyous evening. ‘Glee’ and ‘The Glee Project’ are like a family. They have remained very, very close friends,” said Ulrich who cast both shows. “Whether on ‘The Glee Project’ or ‘Glee,’ to feel like I am a small, small part of the beginning of what will be huge careers for all of them, that makes my job worthwhile and meaningful for me. And I am close friends with them. It’s like seeing my family succeed. ”
Also a family affair will be the “Billy Boy” production. The indie film is being produced by Ulrich and his son, Cooper Ulrich, with Jenner and his brother, Michael Jenner. Blake Jenner won the second season of “The Glee Project” and joined “Glee” in its fourth season along with Benoist and Newell. The trio are now all regulars in the show’s fifth season and expected to remain so on the series’ final season next year.
Jenner began writing “Billy Boy” last summer while on a trip to the Philippines with Benoist. The two began dating after they met on “Glee” and recently became engaged.
“He had showed me six pages (of the script) this past summer and I just knew automatically that it was something that was from his heart,” said Benoist, who plays Marley on series. “It is really different than what we had been working on in terms of ‘Glee,’ and that was exciting. And not because I am biased, but it’s just a really great script.”
The film is a drama about a troubled young man named Billy (played by Jenner) who meets and falls in love with a waitress (played by Benoist) and then attempts to better himself and his life. They’ve gotten creative to fund the $400,000 or so needed to begin shooting.
In November they launched an online crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter. The campaign exceeded its $100,000 goal in December. Ulrich said they’ve raised the amount needed to begin filming thanks to the Kickstarter and private investors, including Modesto entrepreneur Dan Costa, who he said “generously gave” to the project. Funds from the Gallo Center show will go toward the production as well.
“It’s been kind of crazy and really cool to see how much support we received from fans of the show and other people who have been supportive,” Benoist said of the film project. “It’s also kind of nerve-racking. It has been a really big learning experience. This is something both of us want to do for the rest of our lives – creating original projects and putting in the work ourselves. It’s really rewarding.”
I’ve added almost 200 HQ photos of Melissa attending recent events!
- Events and Public Appearances > 2013 > December 08: “TrevorLIVE LA” Honoring Jane Lynch And Toyota For The Trevor Project
- Events and Public Appearances > 2014 > January 14: Fox All-Star Party
- Events and Public Appearances > 2014 > January 18: Day For Night Video Lounge @ Huffington Post In ChefDance Space
- Events and Public Appearances > 2014 > January 18: The Variety Studio: Sundance Edition Presented By Dawn Levy
Glee‘s Melissa Benoist has been cast in Whiplash, adapted from writer-director Damien Chazelle’s Sundance-winning short film. J.K. Simmons plays a brutal jazz teacher who unloads his frustrations on a novice drummer (Miles Teller) who begins to lose his humanity in his quest to play with the country’s top jazz orchestra. Benoist just finished filming Imagine with Al Pacino and Annette Benning. She’s repped by UTA, Authentic Talent & Literary Management and Frankfurt Kurnit.
I’ve added over 30 HQ photos of Melissa attending this year’s Fox Eco casino! Thanks to Claudia for some of the photos.
I’ve added the first HQ photos of Melissa at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards!
It’s impossible to ignore the natural charisma of Melissa Benoist, whose dynamic performance as Marley Rose has made her the star to watch among the divas at Glee‘s William McKinley High. Ironically, her first day on set was more like those she spent as a shy student in Denver. “It was a choir scene, and I don’t think I said a word,” she admits. “At school, when it came to being social, I had no idea how to do it.”
Fast-forward a year, and the 24-year-old has transformed into a confident leading lady, belting out showstopping performances of classics like “New York State of Mind” and “You’re All I Need to Get By.” Her charm is so infectious it won over the heart of costar Blake Jenner, the Danny to her Sandy, both on and off the screen.
We clicked on his first day, during a ‘Born to Hand Jive’ dance rehearsal,” Melissa gushes about her real-life romance with Jenner, who plays fellow New Directions member Ryder on the show. “I love talking about it. Blake is amazing!” Despite being all giggles at the mention of his name, she firmly asserts that this is more than just a crush. “The chemistry you see with Marley and Ryder is not acting.”
Glee creator Ryan Murphy envisioned Marley as a relatable girl next door who would face problems common to many teens. “My first week, he said Marley would struggle with an eating disorder,” she remembers. Though conquering such issues on screen is emotionally draining, she says it’s also rewarding. “I still get letters from girls telling me I’ve given them hope. It’s awesome.” She’s come a long way from her days spent watching Judy Garland films with her grandma, but she knows future success isn’t guaranteed. “It’s all extremely hard,” Melissa says of shooting up to seventeen hours at a time. “But if you work your butt off and never settle, nothing will stop you.”