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Naomi Watts, Frank Grillo to star in Once Upon a Time in Staten Island drama

No, this is not an article related to Quentin Tarantino's ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. In the interest of mixing things up, this afternoon, I'm here to bring you some news related to James DeMonaco's upcoming drama ONCE UPON A TIME IN STATEN ISLAND. In a recent development, Naomi Watts, Frank Grillo, and Bobby Cannavale have joined the cast of DeMonaco's coming-of-age family drama for Blumhouse Productions and Man in a Tree Productions.

Written by DeMonaco, who will also direct the feature, ONCE UPON A TIME IN STATEN ISLAND is set in the summer of 1982 and has as its backdrop the release of Rocky III. The story tells of an average teen who embarks on a quest in his Rocky Balboa-obsessed town that swirls in his family members. Watts and Grillo play his parents.

The project is being noted as something of a tonal and genre shift for DeMonaco, who for the better part of the past eight years has spent his time writing and directing THE PURGE franchise for Blumhouse. With that in mind, you can understand why Staten Island would come as a bit of a surprise for those who've been riding DeMonaco's horror-thriller roller coaster, for the past few years. If you ask me, it's nice to hear that a filmmaker is creating something outside of their wheelhouse, and is willing to spread their wings for a more emotional and character-driven project.

Lucius Hoyos (HEROES REBORN) will also star in the period drama alongside Jonah Hauer-King (HOWARD'S END), River Alexander (THE WAY WAY BACK), and Chase Vacnin (THE LITTLE RASCALS SAVE THE DAY).

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD will move into production later this month, though no official release date has been assigned to the film, thus far.

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