Musical ‘Amarillo’ Sells to Sharpened Iron Studios, Hires Filmmaker Ate de Jong to Direct

·2-min read

Sharpened Iron Studios has acquired the original musical screenplay “Amarillo” and has enlisted European filmmaker Ate de Jong to direct the film.

“Amarillo,” written by Variety’s executive VP of global content Steven Gaydos, is set behind the scenes of a reality TV music competition series and tells the story of two young singer-songwriters who pretend to be lovers for the camera and end up becoming a real-life couple.

“Amarillo” will feature 16 original songs written by a team that includes singer-musician Rob Kolar, who most recently scored the TV comedy series “The Detour,” along with the Nashville-based Michael Kosser, Gregg Stewart and Terrance Dwyer.

Production is slated to begin in Amarillo, Texas, this fall and the project will be filmed on a sound stage at Sharpened Iron Studios.

“The team we’ve assembled to make this film knows and loves music and they are all dedicated to the spirit of truly independent cinema,” said Sean Doherty, CEO of Sharpened Iron Studios, a West Texas-based production facility and original film and TV content firm. “It’s important to Sharpened Iron that the film reflects Texas culture and ‘Amarillo’ will be packed with romance, Americana music and fun. I loved the movie musical ‘Once,’ and I believe ‘Amarillo’ is ‘Once’ for people who love American roots music.”

De Jong’s credits include the war epic “The Bombardment,” the 1991 American indie comedy hit “Drop Dead Fred” and the 2016 London-set romantic comedy “Love Is Thicker Than Water,” starring musician-actor Johnny Flynn. This year, de Jong co-produced the upcoming true-life inspirational film, “My Best Friend, Anne Frank.”

Gaydos recently served as an associate producer on the 2021 Hallmark Channel romantic comedy “Beverly Hills Wedding.” His prior screenwriting credits include the thriller “Iguana” and “Road to Nowhere.”

“Amarillo” will also be produced by Ellis Goodman, co-producer of the Broadway shows “Over the Rainbow” and “An American in Paris” and executive producer of recent films “Art Paul of Playboy,” the award-winning “Mulberry Child,” and Renee Zellweger”s 2019 Oscar-winning “Judy.”

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