93-year-old Oscar nominee June Squibb (Nebraska) has found her first, long overdue leading role in Thelma, an upcoming “action” comedy written and directed by Josh Margolin, which has wrapped production. The actress is joined in the ensemble by Fred Hechinger (The White Lotus), Richard Roundtree (Shaft), Parker Posey (The Staircase), Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange).
Margolin’s first feature, based on a real-life experience involving his grandmother, is (half-jokingly) billed as Nebraska meets Mission: Impossible. It centers on 90-year-old grandmother Thelma Post (Squibb), who gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson and sets out on a uniquely treacherous quest to reclaim what was taken from her.
Zoë Worth, a longtime collaborator of Margolin’s, and producing partner Chris Kaye started developing Thelma after reading an early draft in their writer’s group, Rock & Roll Universe. The film will be their first produced together. Invention Studios’ Nicholas Weinstock and Benjamin Simpson are producing alongside Worth and Kaye, as well as Viviana Vezzani and Karl Spoerri of Zurich Avenue, which is fully financing the film. Zurich Avenue’s Tobias Gutzwiller is exec producing along with Squibb and Hechinger, with Kat Barnette (The Listener) co-producing. CAA Media Finance arranged the film’s financing and is repping its distribution rights.
A portion of Thelma‘s budget went directly to the Motion Picture & Television Fund — the more than a century old charitable organization currently facing bankruptcy — following the shooting of key scenes at its Los Angeles-area residential living campus.
Squibb landed her first Oscar nomination in 2014 for her supporting turn in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. She’s more recently appeared in films including A24’s The Humans, Apple TV+’s Palmer and Neon/Hulu’s Palm Springs, as well as series like Life & Beth. Hechinger is best known for his work on series like Pam & Tommy and The White Lotus, having also appeared in Netflix’s Fear Street film trilogy and additional big-screen titles including The Woman in the Window and News of the World. He’ll next be seen starring opposite Nicolas Cage in the Western Butcher’s Crossing and in Scott Cooper’s The Pale Blue Eye for Netflix.
Roundtree famously played the title character in Gordon Parks’ Shaft and has most recently appeared on series like Cherish the Day and Family Reunion. Other notable film credits include Speed Racer and Brick.