Jake T. Austin is a busy guy. Not only is he making films and working on the popular Disney show “Wizards of Waverly Place,” but he’s developing a passion project of his own. While promoting his latest feature, “The Perfect Game,” Austin took some time to discuss his future plans, which includes a "Stand By Me"-inspired story called "Kings of Suburbia."
"I’m writing a film [that is] kind of like ‘Stand By Me,'" he said, referring to the 1986 buddy drama starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell, which was itself adapted from a Stephen King novella. “It is my favorite movie. [My own project is] based on a true story about my cousin... growing up in sort of a rough neighborhood in Florida.”
There’s no Ray Brower -- the corpse the kids in the older movie discover -- in Austin’s cousin’s life, but the "Waverly Place" actor elaborated: "I threw in some elements and I took some elements from my life and took some elements from his life and sort of combined them and my overall perspective of growing up, even though I’m not finished yet." There’s also still a vital component to be worked out before the story moves beyond the script phase. “We’re in the process of getting financing for it now,” Austin said.
Once the cash flow issue is settled, it should be smooth sailing. Not only does he have a dream director in mind, but he’s got a large pool of actor pals to choose from. “I’m thinking about having Mr. [William] Dear direct it.” Dear directed Austin in "Perfect Game," though the actor admitted that he hasn’t discussed the possibility with him yet. “I love working with him and I don’t see why [he wouldn't do it],” Austin said.
As for casting, Austin isn’t opposed to starring in the film himself. “That’s the great thing of being a writer, you’re able to do whatever you want.” However, there will surely be more than one role that needs filling. “I’ll definitely put my friends who are actors in them, the people I think can do the best in the role. I’ve written characters with specific people in mind to have.”