I suspect that for a lot of people, Fisher Stevens is still best known as the white guy who wore brownface to portray an Indian character in the Short Circuit movies. But while he’s still acting (you may have seen him recently on Succession or The Blacklist), he’s also an Oscar-winning filmmaker who has produced and/or directed a handful of big documentaries over the past couple of decades. Now, for the first time since 2012, Stevens is once again directing a traditional narrative feature film – a drama called Palmer, which stars Justin Timberlake. AppleTV+ has just acquired the new movie, and you can read more about it below.
For a little while, it seemed as if Timberlake might become a legitimate leading man. After his memorable role as Sean Parker in The Social Network, he appeared in Bad Teacher, Friends with Benefits, headlined the sci-fi thriller In Time, popped up next to Clint Eastwood in Trouble with the Curve and sang a little in the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, and then starred opposite Ben Affleck in the 2013 thriller Runner Runner. I wonder if Timberlake would have returned to making music so soon if that movie had performed better, but he essentially retreated back to the music world after Runner Runner underperformed. Since then, he’s only showed up in an uncredited cameo in Popstar, appeared in a little-discussed Woody Allen movie called Wonder Wheel, and lent his voice to the animated Trolls film franchise.
But now it seems like he’s interested in resurrecting the movie star side of his career with Palmer, which follows “a former college football phenomenon named Eddie Palmer who, after a stint in prison, returns to his hometown to get his life back on track. There, he faces not only lingering conflicts from his past but also a much more surprising challenge as he finds himself suddenly in charge of a unique young boy who has been abandoned by his wayward mother.”
Juno Temple, June Squibb, Alisha Wainright, and newcomer Ryder Allen co-star, and Cheryl Guerriero (Pledge This!, Hunting Season) wrote the script. AppleTV+ has continued to sputter its way toward relevance since it debuted, but locking down big ticket movies like Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon and the Will Smith-starring Emancipation while bolstering its original film library with base hits like the Tom Hanks war thriller Greyhound and smaller films like Palmer just might help get it on track.
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