Old Town native Aron Gaudet and his filmmaking partner and wife, Gita Pullapilly, are in the midst of readying production on their third feature film, “Crook County.” It was announced last week that Adam McKay, director of the Oscar-winning film “The Big Short,” has signed on to executive produce the film with his Gary Sanchez Productions partners Will Ferrell and Valerie Van Gelder.
Gaudet and Pullapilly are best known to Mainers as the directors of two acclaimed feature films set entirely in Maine: “The Way We Get By,” the touching 2009 documentary about the Maine Troop Greeters at Bangor International Airport, and “Beneath the Harvest Sky,” the 2013 feature drama set during the Aroostook County potato harvest and filmed in and around Van Buren. “Beneath the Harvest Sky” starred Emory Cohen, who is currently seen in Netflix’s “The OA” and who will play “Crook County” lead protagonist Terrence Hake.
“Crook County” is the true story of one of the largest undercover sting operations in modern history, centered around Terrence Hake, a young lawyer who risked his life to go undercover for the FBI in Chicago, an operation that resulted in the arrest of over 100 government officials, including judges, lawyers, police officers and sheriff deputies.
Gaudet and Pullapilly’s script for “Crook County” appeared in 2015 on the Black List, a yearly list of the most promising unproduced Hollywood screenplays. The pair was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship last year for their work on the script. A release date for the film has not been set; it is not yet in production, though with financing secured and McKay signed on to executive produce, it is closer to being filmed.
Gaudet is an Old Town native and a 1996 graduate of the New England School of Broadcasting, the predecessor of NESCom. Gaudet and Pullapilly until recently lived in Bar Harbor; they now live full-time in Los Angeles.