Dylan O’Brien is a bloody mess in the upcoming drama “Ponyboi.”
Based on the 2019 award-winning short film of the same name, “Ponyboi” stars O’Brien, Victoria Pedretti, and Indya Moore, with writer-director River Gallo leading the feature.
The official synopsis reads: Ponyboi is an intersex runaway. He works at a laundromat and hustles as a sex worker. But after a mysterious encounter with a man from his dreams, he learns that perhaps he is worthy of leaving his seedy life in New Jersey behind.
First-look photos show O’Brien covered in blood, with Pedretti sporting a fake pregnant belly. The duo previously worked together on 2020 anthology series “Amazing Stories.”
Gallo co-directed the short alongside Sadé Clacken Joseph, with Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, and Seven Graham executive producing. “Ponyboi” premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
The feature film is directed by Esteban Arango (“Blast Beat”) with Ed Wu serving as the cinematographer.
“It began with my passionate yet complicated relationship with my home state New Jersey,” Gallo told Subvrt magazine in 2020. “New Jersey has always been my biggest muse, in that much of my trauma growing up intersex is rooted there. Most of life I dreamed of running away from New Jersey and all the painful memories I experienced there. As I got older and discovered my intersex identity, I began to appreciate and be grateful for what those experiences taught me.”
Gallo added, “I cultivated a reverence for that highway heaven and all the affliction and loneliness I had feeling like an outsider in my teen years. However, being a misfit can be one’s greatest gift. If you survive and come to terms with your struggle, you realize that you had the power all along to change and to get what you want out of life.”
O’Brien recently appeared in “Not Okay” opposite Zoey Deutch. The actor is in post-production on upcoming thriller “Caddo” and political satire “Maximum Truth,” co-written by Ike Barinholtz and “The Mindy Project” director David Stassen.
O’Brien’s “Ponyboi” co-star Pedretti, who exited upcoming series “Saint X” earlier this year, previously addressed playing a queer character for Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor” in 2020. The “You” alum told NBC News that she studied Timothée Chalamet’s performance in “Call Me By Your Name” for inspiration.
“Every character has a voice and has an issue and is privileged in some way and oppressed in another, and there’s a conversation to be had there about how they exist in the world,” Pedretti said. “I can’t feel passionate about a project unless I feel like it’s saying something.”
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