Ryan O’Connell, Jim Parsons Starring in Comedy ‘Just by Looking at Him'(EXCLUSIVE)

Ryan O’Connell will make his directorial debut with “Just by Looking at Him,” an adaptation of his novel of the same name. In addition to directing and writing the script, O’Connell will play the lead role of Elliot, a gay television writer with cerebral palsy. “The Big Bang Theory’s” Jim Parsons will co-star as Elliot’s boss, Ethan.

According to the official description, the comedy will follow Elliot as he tries “to find love and connection in a world that wasn’t built for him.”

FilmNation Entertainment and Berlanti/Schechter Films’ Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter will produce the film. Lucas Wiesendanger will oversee production for FilmNation. Michael McGrath will executive produce for Berlanti/Schechter Films. FilmNation Entertainment is financing and handling worldwide sales with CAA Media Finance co-repping U.S. rights. Filming will start in the spring.

“It’s been absolute heaven working on the adaptation of my novel with the smarties at Berlanti/Schechter and FilmNation, and I’m beyond excited to terrorize a new medium with my gay filth!!!” O’Connell said in a statement.

That statement, witty and no-holds-barred, is a glimpse of what made O’Connell’s Netflix series “Special” such a treat. He’s also written for The New York Times, Vice and Vulture, as well as for television, including MTV’s “Awkward,” “Will & Grace,” Netflix’s “The Baby-Sitter’s Club” and Peacock’s “Queer as Folk” reboot, which he also stars in. “Just by Looking at Him” is a reunion of sorts since Parsons executive produced “Special” through his production company, That’s Wonderful Productions.

“When Ryan pitched us ‘Just by Looking at Him’ in his singular style — in his words, a Nora Ephron movie with a ton of gay sex — we were immediately hooked by his hilarious, totally original, empathetic vision for the film. Ryan is the perfect filmmaker to bring this personal-yet-universal underdog story to life. It’s unlike anything else out there, and we’re thrilled to be part of it, alongside our wonderful partners at Berlanti/Schechter,” said Ashley Fox, FilmNation Entertainment’s president of production.

“We have long admired Ryan’s work and talent and are thrilled to be a part of his directorial debut, Ryan’s singular voice and perspective deserve to be shared with the world. We couldn’t be more excited to have Jim lend his talents to this story as well,” added Berlanti and Schechter. 

In addition to his Emmy-winning work on “The Big Bang Theory,” Parsons has appeared in “The Boys in the Band” alongside Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells and Matt Bomer, and recently co-starred in Ryan Murphy’s “Hollywood.” He will lead the Off-Broadway revival of “A Man of No Importance” and will star in Focus Features’ “Spoiler Alert,” based on TVLine founder Michael Ausiello’s memoir of the same name.

FilmNation Entertainment’s recent credits include Emerald Fennell’s “Promising Young Woman,” Sean Baker’s “Red Rocket” and “The Good Nurse” with Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain.

Berlanti/Schechter Films recently backed Amazon’s “My Policeman,” which was directed by Michael Grandage and stars Harry Styles and Emma Corrin. They also recently wrapped production on Matthew Lopez’s “Red White and Royal Blue,” and are in production on Netflix’s “Atlas” with Jennifer Lopez.

O’Connell is represented by CAA, Entertainment 360, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein. Parsons is represented by Principal Entertainment LA, CAA, and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman. Berlanti/Schechter Films is represented by WME and Patti Felker at Felker Toczek Suddleson.

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