Alex Pettyfer is no longer going to be just a handsome face on the screen. Variety reported on Friday that the actor will be making his directorial debut with the film adaptation of the 1999 novel Back Roads. The film, which began filming today in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will feature Pettyfer as the lead role, alongside co-stars Juliette Lewis, Jennifer Morrison, and Nicola Peltz.
The story follows a young man named Harley Altmyer (played by Pettyfer), who finds his life turned upside down when his mother (Lewis) is imprisoned under suspicion of his father’s murder. He finds himself in the backwoods of Pennsylvania, taking care of his three young sisters, having an affair with a married woman (Morrison), and eventually accused of murder. All the while, he uncovers family secrets that further threaten his already broken life.
Back Roads will be the first feature produced by Upturn Productions, the production company started by Pettyfer in 2015 with Craig Robinson. Infinity Media will also be producing, with Hyde Park International representing the film for international distribution.
Originally, Adrian Lyne was set to director, and helped O’Dell to adapt the novel into a screenplay, but has not directed any films since 2002. He will now serve as executive producer.
Pettyfer came to international attention when he starred in Beastly alongside Vanessa Hudgens, as well as Michael Bay’s I Am Number Four. He gained further recognition for scoring roles in Magic Mike in 2012, and Lee Daniel’s The Butler in 2013. Look for him in thriller The Last Witness in the next year. He also will be producing an untitled HBO project starring Jennifer Lopez about drug lord Griselda Blanco.