The hilarious idiocy of “Bobby Roberts”

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Peter Gilroy as Bobby Roberts

Peter Gilroy as Bobby Roberts

The Bobby Roberts Project is a comedy series about a quest for fame undertaken by the title character, Bobby Roberts, who happens to be the (fictitious) son of actor Eric Roberts.

Bobby hopes to gain celebrity by completing a biopic about George Washington, but a lack of funding, a wealth of inexperience, a delusional ego, and a baffling misconception of America’s first President hamper his efforts.

In his vision, the Founding Father is best friends with one of his own former slaves, and the First Lady is a vixen. Also, the President has terrible teeth.

Such a clueless scenario would only inspire a moron, and that’s where the fun begins.

"President George Washington" in "The Bobby Roberts Project"
“President George Washington” in “The Bobby Roberts Project”

“Bobby is like a douchebag kid,” says Patrick Richter, who executive produced the pilot with Yajaira Marie and creator Tom Wilbeck. “You hate him and you love him, but you want him to succeed.”

Joined by a pair of idiotic friends, Roberts’ harebrained pursuit of glory elevates the film to a level of deadpan absurdity comparable to great mocumentaries like Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman.

The cast includes several well-known actors who are in on the joke.

Besides Jaleel White and Eric Roberts, who play warped versions of themselves, it features Fred Willard as a studio executive, Chris Kattan in a guest appearance, and Entourage regular Sabina Gadecki.

Bobby Roberts is the first release of Py Films, a fledgling company started by Richter and Marie in late 2017. They completed it in partnership with Wilbeck’s company, Valmo Productions.

Py Films Yajaira Marie and Patrick Richter
Py Films Yajaira Marie and Patrick Richter

By day, Richter and Marie work as Post Supervisor and Production Coordinator at Quriosity Productions. At night, they forage for scripts wherever fate happens to take them — airport lounges, industry events, neighborhood bars.

Richter was introduced to Wilbeck while having a drink in Lincoln Park with photographer Kohl Murdoch. He describes the Bobby Roberts creator and director as, “hands down, the most intense, driven guy you’ll probably ever meet.”

“Tom said he filmed some stuff a while back for the Bobby Roberts Project and wanted to turn it into a feature,” Richter continues. “It’s these casual interactions with people that are really important and spur projects that are amazing.”

When Richter reviewed the footage, he saw the makings of a “hilarious, hard-hitting, no holds barred TV pilot.”

Converting the originally intended feature-length film into several episodes of a series was a daunting task, but fate was on their side.

Tom Wilbeck
Tom Wilbeck

“Instead of reshooting everything, we wrote a script based off of what he already had,” Richter continues. “We were really lucky.”

He and Marie also began assembling a team of individuals and vendors like Noisefloor Ltd. and Periscope Post & Audio to get it done.

The pilot for The Bobby Roberts Project will screen Friday night during a special event in the theater room of The Witt Hotel on State St.

For more information, click here.

CREDITS
Directed by: Brett Hudson, Tom Wilbeck

Written by Tom Wilbeck

Produced by
   Seneca Lester — co-producer
   Yajaira Marie — executive producer
   Felix Pineiro — associate producer
   Patrick Richter — executive producer
   Tom Wilbeck — executive producer

Cinematography by
   Vladimir Van Maule

Film Editing by
   Nathaniel Nose
   Miles Santiago (Assistant Editor)

Casting By
   Jan Glaser
   Claire Simon

Production Design by
   Stacey Buckner

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
   Ronnie Kwasman — first assistant director
   Johnny Woj — second assistant director

Art Department
   Stacey Buckner — set designer

Sound Department
   A.J. Olstad — re-recording mixer
   Jamie Vanadia — sound editor
   Katie G. Waters — post sound producer

Visual Effects by
   John Zachary — visual effects
   Camera and Electrical Department
   Joe Cheung — first assistant camera
   Jenny Roh — second assistant camera Casting Department
   Jacob Hayman — casting assistant
   Erin Stewart — extras casting: Chicago

Costume and Wardrobe Department
   Kate Grube — wardrobe Location Management
   Meredith Bahuriak — location manager

Other crew
   Meredith Bahuriak — script supervisor
   Nikki Hassinger — production coordinator

 
To contact editor Daniel Patton, email dan@reelchicago.com.

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