"The Blind Side" star Quinton Aaron, "Twilight Saga" actor Edi Gathegi and "90210" actress Gillian Zinser are set to star in British writer Ben Caird's feature directorial debut "Halfway," TheWrap has learned.
Jonny Paterson is producing the movie, which Aaron will executive produce with former NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha ("Beasts of No Nation"), Tommy Oliver and longtime entertainment executives Bonnie Greenberg and Jonathan Baker.
"Halfway" stars Aaron as Byron, a recently-released convict who finds himself trapped between two worlds -- his urban criminal past and his new life as the only black man in a predominantly white, conservative Wisconsin farming town. The film chronicles Byron's struggles as he adapts to his new life on probation, while trying to elude the very real threat of relapsing into his old life of crime.
Zinser will play the eldest daughter of Byron's new family for whom he becomes a friend and confidante, while Gathegi plays Paulie, Byron's lifelong pal who hasn't been afforded the same second chance.
Amy Pietz and TJ Power will co-star in the film, which started production earlier this week on location in Montfort, WI.
The "Halfway" filmmakers intend for the movie to serve as a commentary on the fractured incarceration system in America and the serious socio-economic implications that result from recidivism (the reincarceration of released felons for a similar crime within a short period of time). The American prison system has been at a breaking point for years, with a 700% growth in inmate population since 1973 that now stands at 2.4 million -- higher than any other democratic nation in the world. Coupled with the discouraging statistic that nearly 66% of released prisoners will find themselves back in prison within three years, and approximately 75% within five years, it's clear that more should be done to ensure that released prisoners are given the opportunity for an actual second chance.
The executive team behind "Halfway" supports entertainment that illuminates social conflict, and specifically develops projects that aim to inspire social change. To that end, they have announced plans to form the Halfway Foundation, which will seek to raise awareness for and create more public initiatives towards reducing recidivism rates.