Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, Brittany Snow and actor Johnny Simmons have begun shooting the romantic dramedy “The Late Bloomer,” the directorial debut of actor Kevin Pollak, from Eclectic Pictures and Ineffable Pictures.
The film is inspired by the real life experiences Hollywood journalist Ken Baker detailed in his memoir “Man Made,” in which the “E! News” correspondent documented a pituitary tumor that wreaked havoc on his hormones — and didn’t see him complete puberty until age 27.
Johnny Simmons stars as Pete Newmans, a young man with Baker’s condition, who pursues a career as a sex therapist. After surgery unleashes changes in Pete’s body, he undergoes an emotional reinvention that will change his romantic and interpersonal relationships forever.
The film also stars Maria Bello, Jane Lynch and Paul Wesley. It’s currently shooting in Los Angeles with a location in Bulgaria, set to end production on September 5.
TheWrap caught up with Baker to discuss the long road to adapting the book — which publisher Tarcher/Penguin plans to re-release timed with the film’s debut. The updated edition will include a brand new chapter.
“Kevin Pollak and the producers, they are the Mother Theresa of independent filmmaking. It’s a miracle this happened,” Baker said of the project, which has passed through hands like Miramax, The Wachowskis and Alcon Entertainment. It was also on Warner Bros.’ slate with Elijah Wood attached.
Originally conceived as a magazine article, Baker’s friend and game show host Ben Stein convinced him to translate his experience to book form.
“I went from having no testosterone to too much in the span of a week… the book is really about how my whole experience in being male changed,” Baker said.
“It’s surreal looking at some of the rough cuts of the scenes. It’s like a parallel universe, this guy going through some really similar things,” Baker added. “You always want to make good entertainment but it also has this reliability. Everyone — unless you have a pituitary tumor on your skull — goes through puberty.”
Baker has several other irons in the fire including a TV adaptation of his novel “How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love.” Olivia Munn has an option on the property through her CBS deal, about a heavy-set girl in a family of beauties, whose mother wants to make them the next Kardashian-esque reality clan.
Thanks to his day job, Baker said he has a “a front row seat in a master class of pop culture every day.”
Producers on “The Late Bloomer” include Ineffable, founded by Raphael Kryszek in 2010 and Eclectic, launched by Heidi Jo Markel in 2004 after striking a first-look deal with Millennium Films.