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The O.C.,’ ‘Gossip Girl’ creator Josh Schwartz films Halloween flick ‘Fun Size’ in Cleveland

Courtesy of Glenna Zofcin

Josh Schwartz, creator and producer of “The O.C.” and “Gossip Girl,” has combined the allure and drama of the series in his first feature film, “Fun Size.” And while many Ohioans might be drawn to the film because of Schwartz’s TV shows, others have a reason that hits even closer to home – “Fun Size” was shot in Cleveland.

“Fun Size,” a comedy starring Victoria Justice, who is known for her roles on Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101″ and “Victorious,” and featuring Chelsea Handler, is scheduled to hit theaters Friday.

Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who was also a producer for “The O.C.” and “Gossip Girl,” teamed up again to co-produce the film.

Justice, who plays Wren in the film, said in a college press conference call that she was mostly interested in the movie because she wanted to be part of Schwartz and Savage’s first film.

“I was sent the script and the moment I read the script, I was really interested it. I thought it was funny and a little edgier,” Justice said. “Of course, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage being attached to it, I thought it was really awesome because he created ‘Gossip Girl.’ It was (a) feature film directorial debut so I was very intrigued.”

The film takes place on the day of Halloween. Wren, a high school senior, is invited to a Halloween party by her crush Aaron Riley, played by Thomas McDonell.

However, Wren’s mother Joy, played by Chelsea Handler, wants to go to a different party with her younger boyfriend and insists that Wren must take her little brother Albert, played by Jackson Nicoll, trick-or-treating. Wren rebels, going to the party instead, and she loses Albert. The rest of the film centers on Wren and her friends’ attempts to find him.  

Justice said even though “Fun Size” is produced in part by Nickelodeon Movies, it is not made for children.

“It is a PG-13 film,” Justice said. “It’s obviously geared toward teenagers and adults.”

Justice said Handler elevates the level of comedy, even though she’s only in a few scenes.

“She’s definitely funny and cool. She would (improvise) a few lines here and there that were totally hilarious,” Justice said. “I think she does a really great job in the film.”  

Justice also said it was enjoyable shooting the film in Cleveland.

“We’ve formed a little community there, and everyone in Cleveland was super friendly to us and really nice about us filming in these different areas,” Justice said.

A few Ohio State students said the film being shot in Cleveland offers more of a draw for Ohioans to see it.

Madlyn Robey, a first-year in psychology, said she was happy to hear “Fun Size” was shot in Cleveland because it brings potential for Ohio to grow in popularity.

“I think it will bring lots of opportunities for Ohio,” Robey said. “I think it will bring more popularity to Ohio, and more money to Ohio.”

Other students said they have heightened expectations for “Fun Size” because it was made by the director of more well-known shows.

“I think it will be pretty good, since (Schwartz) has experience,” said Rachel Rohrbach, a second-year in public health. “Also, his two shows have been so popular, it would attract a lot of fans from those shows to see this movie.”

Justice said the film offers more than a laugh. She said people can learn a lesson through the film.

“(Wren) loses someone in her life who’s very important to her, and I think that affects a lot of her choices and decisions and kind of guides her emotionally a lot,” Justice said. “It’s also a coming-of-age-story in a lot of ways, and I think we can all relate to growing up and learning about ourselves and finding ourselves.”

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