Benza, the former Daily News show business columnist and E!’s Mysteries & Scandals host and producer, is currently writing the script.
’74 and Sunny recounts when Benza’s shy, effeminate cousin from New Jersey came to live with his Sicilian-American family during the summer of 1974 in Long Island, memories that were dominated by the author’s short-tempered, outspoken, hyper-masculine father. Through anecdotes of fishing with his father, playing tackle football and conquering neighborhood bullies, Benza tells a story of triumph and acceptance, of a loving but rough-around-the-edges family that puts aside its prejudices to welcome with open arms a young boy struggling to understand his sexuality and ultimately accept himself. It’s a story in which tolerance wins over ignorance, family neutralizes fear, and love triumphs over all.
Greg Ansin is exec producing the pic, and Michael and Andy Weiss will produce under their WeBros label alongside Gallo. ‘74 and Sunny reps the fourth time that Gallo and Andy Weiss have collaborated after their screenplay The Bummy Davis Story, and Middle Men and last October’s Bigger, the latter two titles which Gallo directed and co-wrote with Weiss.
Weiss was a co-writer on Studio 8/Sony’s White Boy Rick which made its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last fall. He is repped by ICM and Luber Roklin Entertainment. Bigger, produced by Steve Lee Jones and Beeholder Productions, was released by Freestyle and told the story of the rise of the Weider Brothers as fitness gurus who started the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest and discovered Arnold Schwarzenegger among several accomplishments in their field.
’74 and Sunny is in the mix among the many projects Gallo is planning to direct down the road, including Covet and The Nazi Titanic. Gallo, who wrote such classic action films as Bad Boys and Midnight Run, is repped by Industry Entertainment and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman.