Lupita Nyong’o. 

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, Beauty and the Beast’s Josh Gad and Offspring’s Alexander England are starring in Little Monsters, Abe Forsythe’s zombie horror comedy now shooting in Sydney.

Josh Gad.

Re-teaming with writer-director Forsythe after Down Under, England plays Dave, a washed-up musician who volunteers to chaperone his nephew’s kindergarten class field trip.

On the excursion he becomes smitten with plucky schoolteacher Miss Caroline (Nyong’o) but there is a rival for her affections in famous kids show personality Teddy McGiggle (Gad).

They are confronted by a sudden zombie outbreak from which Dave and Miss Caroline must protect the kids. Kat Stewart plays Dave’s sister.

Snoot Entertainment’s Keith and Jess Calder are producing with Made Up Stories’ Bruna Papandrea, Jodie Matterson and Steve Hutensky, funded by Screen Australia and Create NSW.

Universal Pictures will distribute in Australia and Protagonist Pictures will handle international sales.

As IF reported in June, Forsythe  got the idea after volunteering to take his six-year-old son Spike and classmates on an excursion.

Matterson tells IF the casting of Nyong’o and Gad is testament to the quality of Forsythe’s script and the way both actors responded to his work in Down Under.

Lupita is “dream casting”, she said, explaining, “We wanted someone who could play both a wonderful, fairytale kindergarten teacher and an amazingly kick-ass action hero.”

Matterson had been a fan of Gad ever since seeing him in The Book of Mormon on Broadway and rates him as one of finest actors working in comedy. Audiences will see the actor in a totally new light, she predicts.

Nyong’o, who won an Oscar in 2014 for 12 Years a Slave, recently wrapped shooting Ryan Coogler’s sci-fi action drama Black Panther for Disney/Marvel. She will next be seen in Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which opens here on December 14.

Alexander England.

Gad, who was the voice of Olaf in Disney’s Frozen, is among the ensemble cast of Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, which Fox will launch on November 9.

Snoot Entertainment launched Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken at the Toronto International Film Festival and recently finished production on director Carlos López Estrada’s Blindspotting. Its credits include Adam Wingard’s You’re Next, The Guest and Blair Witch and Charlie Kaufman’s Academy Award nominated Anomalisa.

“Abe is a brilliant filmmaker and I can’t wait for audiences to fall in love with this original film that is equal parts hilarious, heart-warming and terrifying,” said Papandrea. “We at Made Up Stories have been long-time fans of Lupita’s and Josh’s extraordinary work and we are thrilled that they have come on board alongside Alex.”

Made Up Stories recently acquired Tina Brown’s upcoming book The Vanity Fair Diaries for development as a limited series. It has wrapped production on Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale and the TNT pilot Deadlier Than The Male written by Harriet Warner and starring Amy Brenneman.

Screen Australia head of production Sally Caplan said, “Little Monsters is an utterly charming and seemingly-impossible meld of zombie horror with romantic comedy that we expect will have genuine crossover appeal for audiences. “

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