Bang Bang You’re Dead
2002 | A Showtime Networks Inc. production in association with Viacom Productions Inc. and A Jersey Guys Production
Bang Bang You’re Dead, written by William Mastrosimone, is based on Mastrosimone’s play of the same title, written in reaction to threats of violence—from students, toward students—at his son’s school. He placed the script on the Internet, free for high schools to produce. The play has no set, it’s short enough to fit into a 45-minute school period, and uses few props, yet it conveys a clear, strong message that school violence must be taken seriously. Thousands of productions were generated, and email response from kids painted a grim picture of American school life. This response called for the larger audience that television could deliver. In the film, plans are made for a performance of the Internet version, a play within a play. As the central character in the larger story, Trevor Adams (Ben Foster), is encouraged by a caring teacher, Val Duncan (Tom Cavanagh), to play the lead role of Josh in the play. Val wants Trevor to confront his own notions of anger and aggression in a creative, productive manner. But Trevor is also provoked by a disgruntled student, Sean (Randy Harrison), to take revenge against the school bullies, led by football player Brad Larkin (David Paetkau). The volatile subject matter makes the school principal (Gillian Barber) reluctant to allow the play to continue. Sean befriends Trevor in the movie and Ellie Milford (Janel Moloney) is Val’s trusted colleague. As “new girl” Jenny (Jane McGregor) struggles to know how to help Trevor, Bob and Karen Adams (Eric Keenleyside and Glynis Davies), Trevor’s parents, offer what sympathy they can in a situation that often excludes them. Bang Bang You’re Dead was directed by Guy Ferland for Executive Producers Norman Stephens and William Mastrosimone. The film was produced by Paul Hellerman and Debroragh Gabler. For presenting a powerful examination of the world of troubled teens and suggesting non-violent resolutions, a Peabody Award goes to Bang Bang You’re Dead.
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