In director Jenn Wexler‘s SXSW-bound directorial debut The Ranger, a group of young punks get in trouble with the cops and flee the city. Fueled by an hallucinogenic drug called Echo, they hope to lay low in the woods, but the punks find themselves pitted against the local authority — an unhinged park ranger with an axe to grind.
“Jeremy Holm plays the ranger,” says Wexler. “He’s in Mr. Robot and House of Cards and he’s just f—ing awesome. I can’t wait for people to see him in this movie. Chloe Levine, who’s in The Defenders and The OA on Netflix, plays one of the punks named Chelsea. Then we have Amanda Grace Benitez, who’s in All Cheerleaders Die, and Bubba Weiler (The Good Fight), and Granit Lahu (The Sinner), and Jeremy Pope. It’s a great ensemble cast.”
Wexler co-wrote the script for The Ranger with an old friend, Giaco Furino.
“We went to college in Philadelphia at the University of the Arts and this was his, like, senior screenplay,” says Wexler. “I was always so obsessed with the idea of punks vs. a park ranger. I felt that was something that should already exist in the world! [Laughs] There should already be some ’80s movie about punks that go up against a park ranger. So, I always loved the concept, and then later, when I figured out how to make movies, I was like, ‘Yo, Giaco! Find that script and let’s make this!”
Although Wexler is a first-time director, she is certainly not lacking experience behind the camera, having recently produced Mickey Keating’s films Darling and Psychopaths, Robert Mockler’s Like Me, and Ana Ansensio’s Most Beautiful Island, which was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the recent Independent Spirit Awards. Wexler is currently performing the same role on Depraved, a reimagining of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein being made by indie-horror notable and The Ranger cast member, Larry Fessenden.
“We’re in the middle of shooting,” says Wexler. “I don’t want to speak too much to it, but everything about it looks awesome, including the monster, and I know Larry’s really excited to hop into the editing room.”
The Ranger will receive its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 12. More information about the film’s screening schedule can be found at the official SXSW website.
The Ranger is produced by Wexler, Fessenden, Andrew van den Houten, Ashleigh Snead, and Heather Buckley. The film is exec-produced by Darryl Gariglio, Giles Daoust, and Catherine Dumonceaux.