if you can't be yourself, be buddy holly

When a charming, troubled former child actor is released from prison (again,) he embarks on a whirlwind journey to become Buddy Holly for the role that could save his career.


Romeo Reed is finally released from prison (again,) and he believes he has found a new lease on life. But when he returns home to his demanding stage mother, Teresa, and learns that no one will work with him, he must find it within himself to get his career back on track. When a local news broadcast reveals a Broadway play about legendary musician Buddy Holly is holding open auditions, Romeo and Teresa believe this is their last shot. First, however, Romeo must face some of the skeletons in his closet, like the flamboyantly ruthless loan shark he owes money to, Dennis D, and his crazy ex- girlfriend, Grace, who claims she’s pregnant with Romeo’s baby. In need of serious help, Romeo seeks out his former acting coach and mentor, Colin Michaels. Though Colin believes that Romeo ruined his reputation as a teacher, Colin agrees to help him when he learns that he is dying from cancer. Using the method acting approach, Colin and Romeo begin rehearsing. Colin has Romeo dress, talk, and act EXACTLY like Buddy Holly. Through the method, Romeo learns about the good natured personality of Buddy Holly and begins to crave being a good person himself. He realizes he can no longer be his former self, especially if he wants to win the heart of Lady, a local waitress he sets his sights on.


As he dives deeper into the role, preparing for his big audition, Romeo plays live shows as Buddy Holly and runs around New York City and New Jersey while trying to dodge Dennis D, Grace, his mother, and a young neighborhood boy named Henry, who is writing a story on Romeo for the local paper. As Romeo goes further down the rabbit hole, things begin to unravel. Romeo believes whole-heartily that he is in fact now Buddy Holly, and forgets to check-in with his parole officer. The police arrive at Teresa’s house and arrest Romeo for failing to meet his parole obligations. As Romeo sits quietly in a tiny jail cell thinking about how he will not make his call-back audition in the morning, Teresa, redeeming her reputation with her son, enters the police precinct dressed in a policewoman’s uniform and covertly frees her son while taking a guard hostage. Making early morning news, Teresa speeds down the West Side Highway into Manhattan with the police in hot pursuit. She drops Romeo off at his audition and leads the police in circles. Romeo nails the audition and for his grand finale, is tackled by police at the end of his live performance. Six months later, Teresa finishes her sentence for breaking her son out of jail while Romeo sits at the local diner as himself when he gets a phone call. Next to him, his Buddy Holly attire on the vinyl seat. He takes a moment and then rushes out of the diner, throwing the Buddy Holly outfit on quickly while somewhere in Jersey, Henry finishes writing Romeo's comeback story. 

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Formed by singer/songwriter Buddy Holly in the 1950’s, The Crickets were an American rock and roll band from Lubbock, Texas. “That’ll Be the Day,” their first hit record, became a number one hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 23, 1957.  Two years after the release, at only 22 years old, Buddy Holly was killed in a plane crash. 

The Crickets helped set the template for subsequent rock bands such as the Beatles, with their two guitar-­bass­-drums line­up and the talent to write most of their own material. Holly was among the first artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 13 on its list of “100 Greatest Artists”. There are five licensed Buddy Holly songs in this film.

STATUS - In development

BUDGET - $3-5 mil

MODEL - Indie/Musical/Comedy

ASSETS - 5 Buddy Holly Songs, Michael Simon (Director), Bonnie Timmermann (casting), Bruce Lowe (Composer)


DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY - Festivals, foreign pre-sales

FINANCIALS - Seeking equity in first position 20% premium into a 50/50 split