Liam James & Sarah Steele Topline ‘Speech & Debate’ For Sycamore Pictures; Dan Harris Directing

Sarah Steele in 2007UPDATE, 7:30 A.M.: Sarah Steele also stars in the world premiere of  Karam’s The Humans, slated to begin performances September 30 at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s off-Broadway mainstage, the Laura Pels Theatre. Directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello, the play’s cast also includes Cassie Beck, Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Greg Keller and Joyce Van Patten. Steele is repped by Gersh and Global Creative-Station3.

EXCLUSIVE: The Way Way Back star Liam James is reteaming with producer Sycamore Pictures for Speech & Debate, a film adaptation of Stephen Karam’s acclaimed off-Broadway play. Dan Harris, who co-wrote Superman Returns and the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, will direct from a script by Karam. Sarah Steele (Eli Gold’s smart-ass daughter in The Good Wife) will reprise her star-making performance from the original 2007 Roundabout Theatre Company production. Completing the cast is Austin McKenzie, who recently starred as Melchior in the Broadway-bound Deaf West Theatre revival of  Spring Awakening. Sycamore Pictures’ Tom Rice is producing.

Speech & Debate follows three misfit high-schoolers frustrated by the hypocrisy they see in their parents, teachers, and the entire school board. Banding together, they revive a defunct school debate club to take on the world. Blogging, blackmail and Broadway belting drive the trio’s bond in this wickedly funny, smartly insightful and sympathetic teen comedy.

Veteran cinematographer David Hennings is shooting the film, and Robert Hoffman (Ghost World, Bad Santa) will edit. It’s shooting in Jackson, MS through August 8.

James is repped by Gersh and Principato Young.

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