Edie Falco, Camilla Belle, Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), and Martin Donovan (Saved!) have committed to join Elisha Cuthbert in the indie dramatic thriller Dot for out director Jamie Babbit and Burnt Orange Productions. Shooting starts this month. Taking over the title role following the exit of Thora Birch, who was originally slated to star in the film, Belle will play Dot, an orphaned teenager sent to live with her godparents and their daughter, Nina (Cuthbert). Unable to hear or speak, Dot's alienated existence takes a disturbing turn when she uncovers the secrets of her new family. Falco plays the mother of Cuthbert's character. Ashmore plays a seemingly typical all-star athlete who turns out to be more than he seems after forming a relationship with Dot, while Donovan will star opposite Falco as the father of the family.
The film is the first project to head before cameras from Burnt Orange, a production unit owned by the University of Texas and advised by the William Morris Agency that is designed to produce features while allowing UT students the opportunity to work alongside professionals on the set. Babbit, who works as a mentor with various organizations around Los Angeles, praised Burnt Orange and its efforts to help film students who are far from Hollywood. "Burnt Orange is such a great company," she said. "Austin film students really didn't have the opportunity until now to combine their curriculum with on-set experience, like students in New York or Los Angeles do. It's a really important tool and a great complement to what you learn in school."