Los Angeles-based Sri Lankan American actor/independent filmmaker/operatic singer Gehan Cooray is pleased to announce that his new romantic comedy, THE BILLIONAIRE, has been honored with The Best Comedy Feature Award at the Burbank International Film Festival. In addition, THE BILLIONAIRE was selected as a Finalist for the Best Feature Film Overall at the festival.
The film was the brainchild of Gehan Cooray, who adapted the film’s screenplay from George Bernard Shaw’s The Millionairess and also played the lead role. THE BILLIONAIRE invests a contemporary romantic slant on Shaw’s classic comedy, infusing it with a LGBTQ perspective.
Multi-hyphenate Gehan Cooray’s inspiration to distill George Bernard Shaw’s classic, once controversial play was due to the lack of stories about marriage, separation and remarriage from the Gay and Asexual points of view. With that trans-formative goal in mind, Cooray who is an alumnus of the USC School of Dramatic Arts, and who made his Carnegie Hall solo concert debut in 2019, embarked on his maiden feature.
Retaining the brainy wit of Shaw’s dialogue, Cooray invigorated the cerebral complexity of the original with a modern-day representation of sexuality, romance and relationships. By changing the genders and sexual orientations of certain characters, Cooray transformed Shaw’s heterosexual couples into Gay and Asexual couples.
“Even in the 21st century, we seldom see Same-Sex Marriages and Relationships depicted onscreen with the kind of complexity and nuance that Opposite-Sex Marriages and Relationships are. That is definitely something that I wanted to accomplish with THE BILLIONAIRE,” Cooray notes.
The 116-minute film was directed by Michael Philip, whose company Film Tiger handled the production. Others in the cast, in addition to Gehan Cooray, include Jordan Belfi, Randy Wayne, Davi Santos, Spencer Squire, Brian Carleton, Heather Tom, Derek Carley, Kit Chester.
With a panache reminiscent of Old Hollywood and the grand acting styles of such stars as Bette Davis and John Barrymore, director Michael Philip visualizes the production with a deft feel for the complex characters, while he catapults it with breakneck speed, recalling the romantic movie comedies of the 1930s.
THE BILLIONAIRE brims with a blend of good old-fashioned British humor and contemporary romantic entanglements. In a seamless re-imagining of Shaw’s witty and then controversial play, THE BILLIONAIRE unfolds with a sophistication that is often lacking in romantic comedies today.
“I would be ecstatic if both the Hollywood film industry, and a broader global audience at large, could regard THE BILLIONAIRE as the 21st century equivalent of classic Hollywood films like My Fair Lady, All About Eve, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, while also appreciating my themes of diversity and inclusion,” Cooray says.
In his capacity as Executive Producer, Cooray envisions a global platformed theatrical release for THE BILLIONAIRE — New York, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney, among others — while embracing the potential of international streaming markets.
THE BILLIONAIRE is the debut feature film project of Gehan Cooray, who looks forward to many more films in the future, as a multi-hyphenate creative.
- Producers: Glen Reynolds, Jo Marr, Michael Philip, Gehan Cooray
- Executive producer: Gehan Cooray
- Director: Michael Philip
- Screenwriter: Gehan Cooray, based on the play The Millionairess by George Bernard Shaw
- Director of photography: Stephen Chandler Whitehead
- Production designer: Michael McShane
- Costume designer: Scott Jerell
- Editors: Aaron Yeger, Devin Hamilton, Gehan Cooray
- Casting: Shannon Makhanian, Doug Haley
- Cast: Gehan Cooray, Jordan Belfit, Randy Wayne, Davi Santos, Spencer Squire, Brain Carleton, Heather Tom, Derek Carley, Kit Chester
- Running time — 116 minutes
- Not Yet Rated
Social Media for THE BILLIONAIRE/GEHAN COORAY:
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3582034/?ref = tt cl t5