One to Watch: Zephyr Benson Talks ‘Straight Outta Tompkins’ Movie, Reveals Dream of Working with Jennifer Lawrence

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Zephyr Benson is a name you’re about to become very familiar with.

This 22-year-old actor, director and writer has a number of projects in the works. First up, his new movie, Straight Outta Tompkins. Not only did Benson act in this film, but he also wrote, produced and directed it! We talked to Benson about his upcoming projects, and he also talked to us about wanting to work with his celebrity crush, Jennifer Lawrence! Check out the interview below for all of the details!

Celebuzz is starting a new series called “One to Watch.” In these articles we’re telling you all about up-and-coming stars that we think you should keep your eyes on!

Our first “One to Watch” star is Benson. Benson grew up around the entertainment industry. He’s the son of actor/director Robby Benson and actress/singer Karla DeVito. This rising star has multiple projects on the way. First up is his movie, Straight Outta Tompkins, which will be released on March 6.

(Indican and Lyric Films)

The movie’s website has a one sentence synopsis of the movie that says, “A forlorn, gifted teenager abandoned by his family in New York City mistakenly substitutes the attention of a Lower East Side drug dealer for the love of his absentee father.”

Benson talked to us about making the film, and it turns out they filmed the entire movie with a very low budget. “It was a $150,000 budget, my first film. We shot in like 16 days or so. We barely had any pre-production because we really couldn’t afford to pay anyone. I mean we paid everyone, obviously, but when we’re on set you know it’s $100 a day. So before pre-production we really had like no money, so it was pretty crazy. We basically just had like a round table of about five or six guys in pre-production who truly wanted to do everything they could to get this movie made and make it the best movie they could, which was pretty incredible.”

Benson started writing this film when he was only 19 years old, and a lot of the content is based on events from his life. He told us, “I wrote it, it was based on kids I knew, kids I grew up with, experiences that I’ve had. Things that I needed to get off my chest, it was pretty therapeutic actually. The main character isn’t like completely based on me but it was what I needed to make to be able to tell my story. I feel like there’s a little bit of all of us in the main character, Gene.”

In addition to this movie, Benson also just filmed a new movie called Coming Through The Rye. Benson appears in the movie alongside Academy Award winner Chris Cooper.

He’s already worked with a lot of amazing actors in his career. But, who does Benson want to work with in the future? He told us, “Oh man there are so many! Ben Kingsley, I love Ben Kingsley, Ray Liotta, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep. I think if I worked with them I would probably be a little intimidated at the very beginning just because they mean so much to me. They’re so incredible and they’ve really shaped my life and what I think about actors.” Benson told us he would love to work with directors Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.

There’s also one specific actress he would like to work with. When we asked Benson to name his celeb crush he told us, “Jennifer Lawrence obviously, everyone’s in love with her. She’s incredibly beautiful, I definitely have a crush on her.” We suggested that Lawrence should be in his next movie and he told us, “Yes! I would love that.”

Come on, JLaw, make Benson’s dreams come true!

To learn more about Benson and his upcoming projects, check out his website HERE! Plus, you can reach him on Twitter at @BensonZephyr!

Plus, you can watch the Straight Outta Tompkins trailer below!

Straight Outta Tompkins Official Trailer from Indican Pictures on Vimeo.

This film will be released in Los Angeles and New York on March 6, and VOD/iTunes on March 31.

Are you excited to see this movie? Sound off in the comments!

Main Photo Credit: Dan Hallman