This is about to get very specific to my own personal tastes, so bare with me. Today brought us two separate reports that, when combined, put two people that I enjoy watching immensely into the same film. DC Pierson, of Derrick Comedy and Mystery Team fame, and Cobie Smulders, of How I Met Your Mother fame, have both joined the upcoming Stephen Gyllenhaal directed political comedy Grassroots.
No, I don’t care what it’s about. Alright fine. The film is based on Phil Campbell’s book “Zioncheck for President,” a memoir of the 2001 Seattle City Council election. It follows Campbell (Jason Biggs), a recently fired reporter who signs on to run the campaign of his eccentric friend, former pedicab driver and fervent Monorail believer Grant Cogswell (Avatar’s Joel David Moore). Lauren Ambrose is set to play Emily, Phil’s girlfriend. Smulders will play Clair, a Monorail supporter skeptical of Cogswell’s campaign. Cedric the Entertainer will star as the incumbent Councilman running against Cogswell.
The story revolves around the citizen’s ballot initiative to build a massive x-shaped monorail connecting various sections of Seattle. It began in 1997 and was voted on more than 5 times by the people of Seattle, only to eventually get creamed by some bureaucratic red tape. It was a very contentious issue, I’m told. But according to Wikipedia, Cogswell, along with fellow activist Dick Falkenbury used some interesting tactics to gain public support:
“Falkenbury and Cogswell gathered the required 18,000 signatures necessary using an invention of Cogswell’s which he offered unpatented to the citizens of Seattle, the Automatic Petition Gatherer, an A-frame device placed unintimidatingly on sidewalks for passers by to peruse and sign at their leisure. The device was used by several subsequent campaigns for the monorail and other issues in a spate of local activism which lasted until the early 2000s.”
I don’t know if this thing will be any good, but it’s got some interesting talent. Along with Pierson, The Wrap is reporting that Christopher McDonald and Grey’s Anatomy actress Emily Bergl are among the late additions. Funny people, quirky city-level politics. What could possibly go wrong?
Grassroots is currently in production in Seattle. On a side note, Pierson recently released a very enjoyable book entitled “The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep And Never Had To.” If you have a moment, you should check out Reject Radio #35:Just Our Handsomeness, in which he and Cole Abaius chat about his book as well as super-villains with erectile dysfunction.