Sabrina Carpenter and RJ Cyler are set to star in a socially aware comedy-thriller from R#J director Carey Williams. Emergency, based on the 2018 Sundance short film about a group of Black college kids who grapple with calling the police when they are faced with an unusual situation, is a comedy thriller that screenwriter KD Dávila expanded into a feature film script, which landed on the 2020 Black List. Now, it’s being made into a film with Amazon Studios overseeing the project.
Deadline reports that Carpenter, Cyler, Donald Watkins, and Sebastian Chacon have been tapped to star in Emergency, a comedy thriller from Amazon Studios and Temple Hill based on a short film that picked up the Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award at 2018’s SXSW Film Festival.
Written by KD Dávila, the short followed a group of partying BIPOC college students who are suddenly faced with a dangerous dilemma that forces them to wrangle with the role of police brutality against people of color. Williams, who directed the short, will return to the director’s chair for the feature version written by Dávila,which featured on the 2020 Blacklist. See the team behind the Emergency short film describe its impact below.
The story will remain largely the same for the Emergency movie, albeit with more hijinks. Per Deadline, the plot “centers on a group of BIPOC college students, ready for a night of partying, as they weigh the pros and cons of calling the authorities when faced with an unusual emergency.” Here is the synopsis via Deadline:
Cyler will play Sean, a college senior ready to embark on a night of partying with his best friend Kunle (Watkins) and roommate Carlos (Chacon). As they return to their apartment to pre-game, they discover a semi-conscious white girl they don’t know on the floor. Kunle wants to call the cops but Sean vehemently opposes the idea concerned how it will look when the cops show up.
Together, Carlos, Sean and Kunle load the girl into Sean’s van, with the intention of taking her somewhere safe rather than calling the police. Meanwhile, Maddy (Carpenter) has realized that her sister Emma left the party they were at and begins to search for her in a drunk panic using Emma’s phone’s location. What ensues is a chaotic, hilarious, and tension-filled chase all over town as our trio grapples with their differences while attempting to bring Emma to safety.
Maddie Nichols (A Murder to Remember), Madison Thompson (Ozark), Diego Abraham, and Melanie Jeffcoat round out the cast.
“When we made the short film, we didn’t anticipate quite how much it would resonate with people,” said Dávila. “It walked a fine tonal tightrope between comedy and thriller, and touched on the culture of fear in BIPOC communities regarding the police. I’m so glad we have the opportunity to tell a bigger version of the story, and extremely fortunate to have found a team that embraced our vision.”
Carpenter seems to have found a taste for starring in racially charged films geared toward young adults, like the acclaimed 2018 film The Hate U Give. Meanwhile, Cyler reunites with Williams after having appeared in his 2020 Sundance film R#J, a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet which /Film’s Ben Pearson took a surprising liking to.
Filming is currently underway for Emergency. Williams and Dávila will also serve as executive producers on the project.
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