EXCLUSIVE: Michael Zegen (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and newcomer Bellua Suarez will topline writer-director Simon Hacker’s debut feature Zoo, which recently wrapped production in New York City, starring alongside Robert Klein (Will & Grace, The Mysteries of Laura), Michael Covino (The Climb, News of the World), Isabel Arraiza (The Little Things, The Oath), and Eric Berryman (Motherless Brooklyn, Marriage Story).
In the film, Zegen plays Andy Singer, a failing father and floundering realtor on the verge of eviction, who is drowning in the sweat of a New York City summer. When Andy’s daughter Anna (Suarez), a feisty 10-year-old already outfitted with a moral compass that far surpasses her dad’s, shows up unannounced on his doorstep and informs him of her imminent departure from the city, his get-rich-quick schemes and threadbare employment are thrown into a tenuous high gear, as he attempts to salvage some semblance of paternal standing while being rapidly exposed for the fraud he is.
Hacker is producing with Wyatt McBride, with NBA All Star Gordon Hayward exec producing via his Whiskey Creek banner.
Hayward founded the production company with Hacker in 2020. Zoo marks its follow-up to The Return, a docuseries directed by Hacker, and produced with The Players’ Tribune, which is available for streaming on subscription-based sports website, The Athletic.
“Partnering with Gordon Hayward to bring this story to life has been has been so exciting, and I feel very lucky to have cast the perfect pairing of Michael Zegen and newcomer Bella Suarez,” said Hayward. “Michael’s tireless and inimitable performance is brilliant and the chemistry he shares with Suarez is one of a kind. Making this movie across the five boroughs in New York City on 35mm film has been a unique thrill and we can’t wait to share this story with the world.”
Zegen is best known for portraying Joel Maisel, the ex-husband of Rachel Brosnahan’s Midge, in Amazon’s hit comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is heading into its fourth season. He will next appear on Broadway in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Trouble in Mind alongside LaChanze, recently appearing on the film side in Michael Mayer’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, opposite Annette Bening and Elisabeth Moss, and in The Stand In with Drew Barrymore, Ellie Kemper and Holland Taylor for director Jamie Babbit.
Klein is a two-time Emmy-nominated comedian and actor known for stand-up specials including Robert Klein: Unfair and Unbalanced and Robert Klein: Child in His 50’s, who has recurred in such series as Will & Grace, The Mysteries of Laura, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and The Stones. He’s appeared on the film side in Reign Over Me, Ira & Abby, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Two Weeks Notice and One Fine Day, among other titles.
Covino is an actor and filmmaker who co-wrote, directed and starred in Sony Pictures Classics’ festival hit, The Climb. He was most recently seen starring opposite Tom Hanks in Universal Western News of the World.
Arraiza last appeared alongside Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and more in John Lee Hanckock’s Warner Bros. crime drama, The Little Things, and has also featured in films including Driven and American Dreamer, finding series regular roles in Crackle’s The Oath and USA’s Pearson.
Berryman’s film credits include Motherless Brooklyn and Marriage Story. The actor has guest-starred on the TV side in Netflix’s Bonding and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Paramount+’s Evil.
Zegen is represented by UTA, Authentic Talent and Literary Management, Underground and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis; Suarez by DDO Artist Agency and CMA Entertainment; Klein by The Conversation Company; Covino by UTA and Jackoway Austen Tyerman; Arraiza by Gersh and Circle of Confusion; Berryman by Artists & Representatives and Smith Talent Group.