EXCLUSIVE: Lou Diamond Phillips has rounded out the ensemble of Amblin Partners’ family comedy, Easter Sunday, which is based on the stand-up comedy and life experiences of comedy star Jo Koy and is set around a family gathering to celebrate Easter Sunday. Also joining the previously announced Eva Noblezada Brandon Wardell and Tia Carrere, are Lydia Gaston, Rodney To, Melody Butiu, Joey Guila and Elena Juatco.
“Starting production on Easter Sunday is the culmination of a lifetime of dreaming and decades of hard work,” said. Koy. “It’s especially meaningful that we’ve been able to assemble such an incredible group of diverse and talented filmmakers and comedians to bring this slice of Filipino culture to the world.”
Phillips will play a fictionalized version of himself in the film
Jay Chandrasekhar will direct with Ken Cheng penning the script. Rideback’s Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich will produce. Koy, Cheng, Joe Meloche, Jessica Gao, Jimmy O. Yang, Rideback’s Nick Reynolds and Seth William Meier will exec produce. The studio is eyeing a production start this spring.
Holly Bario, President of Production, and Mia Maniscalco, VP Creative Affairs, will oversee the project for the studio.
Seen as been a trailblazer in the Asian, Latinx, and Indigenous communities for decades, Phillips is best known for his star making roles in Stand And Deliver, La Bamba and the Young Guns series. The two-time Emmy Award nominee is also known for his theatre work, and received a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of King Mongkut in the 1996 revival of The King and I, which took home the Tony for Best Revival. He is currently starring in the FOX series Prodigal Son, and recently became a published author, with the release of his science-fiction fantasy novel The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira. He is repped by Global Artists Agency and Thruline Entertainment.
Gaston is a veteran actress of stage and screen, who has appeared in Broadway productions including The King and I (1996 revival), Miss Saigon and Jerome Robbins’ B’way. Her TV credits include The Blacklist, The Sopranos and The Path.
To is best known for his role as Typhoon Montalban on NBC’s Parks and Recreation. He can also be seen on NBC’s Good Girls and has recurred on HBO’s Barry. To will next be seen in the upcoming Apple+ series Easy Mark starring Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd.
Butiu on-screen credits include This Is Us, Mom, Call Me Kat, NCIS, and The Kominsky Method. Guila is an actor, comedian and frequent collaborator of Jo Koy. Guila, who plays Tito Manny, has hosted two TV Shows on Myx TV – That’s My Jam and Myx Rated, which won a Telly Award. In 2017, he taped an hour-long special on the Comedy InvAsian for Hulu & Amazon Prime and, most recently, he appeared on the Netflix special Jo Koy: In His Elements.
Juatco past film credits include Kodachrome, where she worked opposite Jason Sudeikis, Oscar award-winning film Spotlight, and cult classic Repo! The Genetic Opera. Juatco can next be seen in the thriller Escape the Field.
Gaston is represented by the Garber Agency, To is represented by Buchwald and Artists First, Butiu is represented by Ellis Talent Group and Headline Talent Agency, and managed by Sandy Joseph of SLJ Management. Juatco is repped by Tyman Stewart & Jennifer Goldhar at The Characters Talent Agency, and Felicia Sager at Sager Management.