On an early morning in April in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, crew members for “The Perfect Summer” anticipated their first day of shooting. As the sun was rising, they greeted 15 local surf gurus hired to consult for the movie. Standing directly in front of the beach house that serves as the home of Lou, played by Eric Roberts’ character, they noticed 20-foot waves crashing onto the sand. The winds offshore were creating a dangerous rip current that even the film’s surf leader, Shawn O’Donnell, who had surfed there for years, felt was too dangerous for anyone from the cast to be out there that day. Several locals, however, were already in the water. From the dock leading up to the beach house, director Gary Wheeler watched on tensely as he noticed two swimmers being lifted by the wind, launched into the air and driven under water. Production members from Swirl Films put the cameras down to alert the film’s on site water safety patrol. Witnesses speculated the two swimmers may have drowned had it not been for the film crew on site that day. This is how the 14-day shoot for “The Perfect Summer” began.
In The Perfect Summer, fatherless teenager Jake (Adam Horner) was happy living in Chicago, until his mother (Sydney Penny) decided to uproot them to a small surfing town where her estranged father (Eric Roberts), Jake’s grandfather, lives. The transition isn’t easy for anyone and it seems everywhere he goes, Jake manages to make enemies, including the town bully, Tyler (JD Banks), who doesn’t like the new interloper or his interest in young surfing prodigy, Kayla (Katie Garfield). Stuck in the beach town with no friends and no knowledge of surfing, Jake has nowhere to turn until Cody (Jason Castro), the local surf shop owner, reveals that Jake’s grandfather is a surf legend. Tired of feeling like an outcast, Jake asks Lou to teach him about surfing. Jake learns to face his fears, push through inhibitions and realizes that winning the respect of his new peers – and Katie’s heart – might mean facing the biggest challenge of his life.
“While The Perfect Summer beautifully uses surfing as a backdrop, this summer UP film is all about relationships,” says Barbara Fisher, SVP, Original Programming, GMC TV. “This film is about hope. It’s a film about choices. We can all identify with struggles of fitting in and falling in love, even if you don’t live next to a beach and surf.”
The movie features big-wave local surfers and stars non-surfers, including Jason Castro, who grew up in Dallas skateboarding and dreaming about the surf culture in California. “The Perfect Summer” soundtrack will feature original music by Castro.
Meet the Cast:
Eric Roberts (Lou) is an Academy Award nominee and a Golden Globe nominee who got his start originating the role of Ted Bancroft on “Another World.” He earned a ‘best actor’ Golden Globe nomination his role in “King of the Gypsies.” He was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for his supporting role in “Runaway Train.” His television work includes three seasons on the comedy “Less than Perfect” and on the hit NBC series “Heroes.” His sisters Julia Roberts and Lisa Roberts Gillan, and his daughter Emma Roberts are also actors.
An “American Idol” Season 7 favorite, the blue-eyed, dreadlocked Jason Castro (Cody) honed his music skills playing in bands throughout high school and undergraduate college. While a sophomore at Texas A&M University, Castro decided to take a break from performing and focus on his landscape-architecture studies. He continued to work on his vocal and guitar skills in his free time, and, realizing how much he missed music, decided to pursue a career as a professional musician. Having first experienced reality television in 2006 as the love interest of Cheyenne Kimball on the MTV series “Cheyenne,”, Castro tried out for “American Idol” and quickly became one of the most popular season 7 contestants. Following his fourth-place finish on the show, Jason toured the country. He released a self-titled debut album in 2010.
Sydney Penny (Alyssa) was born in Nashville, Tennessee to Hank Penny, comedian and pioneer of Western Swing music and his wife, Shari, an operatically trained singer. At age 10, Sydney was chosen to portray “Young Meggie” in the ABC mini-series, The Thorn Birds. In 1985, Clint Eastwood cast Sydney in Pale Rider; which earned her a Youth in Film Award. Sydney’s credits include Two Kinds of Love, The Last Leaf, The Fourth Wiseman, News at Eleven, Bernadette, and La Passion de Bernadett. In 1986, Sydney took to the beach as “Danni Collins” in the popular syndicated series, The New Gidget. Penny played Sophia Loren’s daughter, Rosetta in Running Away. Sydney appeared on the soap opera Santa Barbara, for which she earned her first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Younger Leading Actress for her portrayal of ‘BJ Walker.’ Penny moved to New York to appear as “Julia Santos” on the ABC daytime drama, All My Children and reprised the roll in 2005. Recent projects include Largo Winch, Hidden Places, for which she won a CAMIE award, The Wife He Met Online, The Wish List, Little Red Wagon, and Dark Canyon. Sydney co-produced her first feature film in her adopted hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, a romantic drama entitled Heart of the Country, in 2012, in which she also played a supporting role. The film was picked up by 20th Century Fox for release in summer 2013.
Adam Horner (Jake) was born in England. He moved to Australia at age 11. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles. In 2011, he auditioned for the hit television series “The Glee Project” and out of 43,000 applicants, he made it to the top 40. He was one of only a handful of international contestants to make the top 100.
Born in Orlando, Florida, Katie Garfield (Kayla) moved to North Carolina in 2001. There she studied drama and performed in many plays and musicals. Katie followed her creative passion and in the summer of 2012 moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and music. She is currently writing and recording her own original music. Her television credits include “One Tree Hill,” “Army Wives,” “The Finder,” “Vampire Diaries,” and “Under The Dome,” as well as the feature films Where the Devil Hides and Almanac, produced by Michael Bay.