Jennifer Hudson, Ernie Hudson and Octavia Spencer to star in Lifetime’s ‘Call Me Crazy’
The Lifetime Original Movie event Call Me Crazy: A Five Film, which brings together an all-star ensemble cast with five interwoven stories about how everlasting bonds of love and family can overcome life’s most challenging hurdles, will make its world premiere on Saturday, April 20, at 8:00pm ET/PT.
Through the five shorts named after each title character — Lucy, Eddie, Allison, Grace and Maggie – powerful relationships built on hope and triumph raise a new understanding of what happens when a loved one struggles with mental illness. Call Me Crazy stars Academy Award and Golden Globe winners Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and Octavia Spencer (The Help), Sarah Hyland (Modern Family), Sofia Vassilieva (My Sister’s Keeper), Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect), Ernie Hudson (Oz), Jason Ritter (Parenthood), three-time Emmy Award-winner Jean Smart (Frasier), Lea Thompson (J. Edgar), Oscar-nominee Melanie Griffith (Working Girl) and Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately). Laura Dern (Enlightened), Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help), Bonnie Hunt (Return to Me), Ashley Judd (Missing) and Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’s Diary) direct the anthology.
Call Me Crazy is executive produced by Jennifer Aniston, Marta Kauffman, Kristin Hahn, Kevin Chinoy and Francesca Silvestri, all of whom executive produced last year’s critically acclaimed Lifetime Original Movie Five. The movie is produced by Sony Pictures Television, Echo Films and Freestyle Picture Company.
“When we started researching this topic, we were all surprised to learn that one in four adults lives with some sort of mental illness. With so many people dealing with this in their private lives, there is still so much stigma and shame. It’s time we bring it out of the closet and into the light of day,” said Aniston.
Kauffman added, “We are so proud to be a part of this powerful television event. To work with such amazingly talented directors, writers and actors, and for Lifetime to give us the opportunity to tackle such an important issue is nothing less than miraculous. We are extremely grateful to be able to shed even a little light on this topic, and we fervently hope that this is just the beginning of the mental health discussion in our country.”
“We are thrilled to have such a brilliant ensemble of talent – both in front of and behind the camera – on this film, which uses dramatic and comedic storytelling to capture one of the most relevant issues our country faces today,” said Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President, Programming, of Lifetime Networks.
“After the success of Five, it is a privilege to collaborate again on Call Me Crazy: A Five Film,” said Helen Verno, Executive Vice President of Movies and Miniseries, Sony Pictures Television. “This brilliant team of executive producers has gathered an extraordinary cast and an exemplary team of directors and writers to create an innovative approach to address the serious subject matter of mental illness.”
ABOUT CALL ME CRAZY: A FIVE FILM
Written by Deirdre O’Connor (Five) and directed by Howard, Lucy follows the film’s title character (Snow), a law student who finds herself amidst the horror of schizophrenia, landing her in an institution where, through the support of a new friend (Ritter), meds and her psychotherapist (Spencer), she begins her path to not only healing, but a promising future. Lucy also features Clint Howard (Fringe).
Grace, directed by Maguire and written by Howard J. Morris (Five), explores bipolar disorder through the experience of a teenage daughter (Hyland) whose mother (Leo) grapples with the condition. Also starring in Grace are Melissa Farman (Temple Grandin) and Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights).
Allison weaves together comedy and family drama in a story about healing when its eldest daughter “Lucy” (Snow) returns home from inpatient treatment and spoils her sister “Allison’s” (Vassilieva) unveiling of her new boyfriend to their parents (real-life wife and husband Smart and Richard Gilliland, Desperate Housewives). Allison, also featuring Ken Baumann (The Secret Life of an American Teenager), was written by Jan Oxenberg (Parenthood) and is directed by Dern.
Eddie, directed by Hunt and written by Stephan Godchaux (Five), delves into the world of depression as seen through the eyes of a comedian’s wife (Thompson) as she grapples with understanding how her husband Eddie (Mitch Rouse, According to Jim), whom is so loved, can be so withdrawn and overcome with sadness. The short also stars Handler and features appearances by Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall), Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers), James Avery (The Closer) and Ross Mathews (Chelsea Lately).
In Maggie, penned by Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary) and directed by Judd, a female veteran (Hudson) returns home from war to her son and father (Ernie Hudson), only to have her life shattered by the onset of posttraumatic stress disorder, through which her lawyer, “Lucy,” helps her. Griffith also stars in Maggie.
Call Me Crazy: A Five Film is an extension of the Five franchise that started in 2011 with the Lifetime Original Movie Five, starring Patricia Clarkson, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shalhoub, Jenifer Lewis, Kathy Najimy, Bob Newhart, Tracee Ellis Ross and Jeffrey Tambor. Five used humor and drama to focus on the effect breast cancer and its different stages of diagnosis have on relationships and the way women perceive themselves while searching for strength, comfort, medical breakthroughs and, ultimately, a cure. Recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with its Television Academy Honors, winner of a Banff World Media Award and nominated for DGA, WGA, NAACP Image and Imagen Awards, Five was directed by Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore, Patty Jenkins and Penelope Spheeris.