Legendary Digital’s upcoming young adult dystopian thriller The Thinning has expanded its cast, adding Ryan Newman, Lia Marie Johnson, Michael Traynor, Calum Worthy, and Matt Glave, who join the previously announced Logan Paul and Peyton List.

callumliasidebyTapping into current anxieties about environmental ruin as well growing reliance on standardized testing, The Thinning is set in a near future in which the nations of earth are staring down an overwhelming population crisis. To cope, countries everywhere have enacted drastic measures, including mandatory birth control or euthanasia of older citizens. In the U.S. however, the government has opted for an annual event called The Thinning, which sees high school students in every grade forced to take a difficult exam, with the lowest-scorers summarily executed. (Think Battle Royale crossed with Soylent Green and an argument about common core thrown into the mix.) Things go sideways when two students accidentally stumble on the fact that the tests are a sham, forcing them to fight to expose a deeper conspiracy and bring The Thinning to an end.

michaeltraynorRyan Newman will play “Sarah Foster,” a hot girl who tries to seduce her teacher, Mr. Glass in hopes that when it’s time for The Thinning, he’ll give her a pass. Lia Marie Johnson plays “Ellie,” girlfriend of Logan Paul’s character Blake. Calum Worthy plays “Kellan Woods,” best friend of one of the main characters. Michael Traynor meanwhile plays “Mason King,” the menacing officer in the Department of Population Control who runs The Thinning at the kids’ high school, while Matt Glave plays powerful Texas Governor Dean Redding, father of one of the main characters. Also appearing in the film is Patrick O’Sullivan.

Production on film is set to begin this month, with release through digital sell-through and VOD planned for 2016, marking the first such release strategy for Legendary Digital. Michael Gallagher is directing and co-wrote the script along with Steve Greene; Gallagher, Greene and their producing partner Jana Winternitz won Legendary’s “House of Horrors” short-film program, which launched in partnership with YouTube in 2014 and seeks to identify emerging talent. Gallagher and Winternitz are producing Michael Wormser through their Cinemand banner, alongside Kids at Play. Amy Laslett and Jason Berger of Kids at Play are executive producing.

Best known for Disney XD’s See Dad Run and Zeke and Luther, Ryan Newman currently appears on Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans; she’s repped by APA, LINK and attorney Laurie Megery. Previous seen in Expelled and Everything Before Us, Lia Marie Johnson will soon be seen in Emma’s Chance; She’s repped by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham.

Calum Worthy is known for the Disney Channel series Austin & Ally and will be seen next in Replicate; he’s repped by CTM International, Principato-Young and Rebel Entertainment. Michael Traynor recently completed a run during the 6th season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and has also appeared on Rectify; he’s repped by Luber Roklin Entertainment, NMA PR and Sloane, Offer, Weber. Matt Glave is known for The Wedding Singer and has appeared on Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce and NBC’s Growing Up Fisher, as well as the feature film Argo. He’s repped by Greene & Associates, Sanders Armstrong Caserta, and Felker Toczek.