Jeff Daniels, Melissa Gilbert & Timothy Busfield launch production company

The trio's first film is an adaptation of Daniels' stage play Guest Artist.

Jeff Daniels and his fellow Michigan natives Timothy Busfield and Melissa Gilbert have launched a new film production company to develop small-budget movies.

Guest Artist, the trio's first project under the Grand River Productions banner, will debut at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in California on Saturday (09Feb19).

The film, which stars Daniels, was adapted from his own stage play. Thirtysomething star Busfield directed.

"Our shared love of the American theatre is evident in every frame of our modern little throwback," Daniels tells Deadline. "Together, we felt that there was a film in Guest Artist that spoke to the precarious role of the American artist and that made it the perfect project for Grand River Productions’ feature film debut."

Daniels wrote Guest Artist in 2006 for his The Purple Rose Theatre Company. In the film he plays a struggling playwright attempting to stage his latest play in a small Michigan town.

Purple Rose Theatre Company regulars Thomas Macias, Richard McWilliams, McKara Bechler, Ruth Crawford, Dan Johnson, and Lynch R. Travis star alongside the Dumb & Dumber actor.

"I’ve been a fan of Jeff’s writing for 25 years," Busfield adds. "I love his writing. He blends funny and dramatic as well as anybody. And Guest Artist is one of my favourites of Jeff’s plays. To be able to direct Jeff in the movie version was an incredible opportunity."

Former Little House on the Prairie child star Gilbert also can't wait to debut the new film, stating, "Working with Jeff and Tim has been one of the great joys of my career and Guest Artist holds a special place in my heart.

"It's been a thrill to be a part of this production and partner in Grand River. We are very excited to share Guest Artist with audiences."

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