Melissa Leo May Play a Terrorist-Fighting Tollbooth Worker in Neil LaBute’s THE TOLL

     November 21, 2013


Director Neil LaBute said it himself – it isn’t easy getting a movie made – but, should one of his impending projects get a green light, we could have a particularly unique action hero on the way – Melissa Leo.  The Toll is penned by newcomer Jane Henderson and tells the tale of a New Jersey tollbooth worker who winds up responsible for thwarting a terrorist attack threatening the entire east cost. That tollbooth worker? Not Jason Statham, Daniel Craig, Tom Cruise or some other familiar saves-the-day type. Should The Toll come to fruition, Leo would be the one to go head-to-head with the enemy. Hit the jump for more details.

melissa-leo-the-tollWhen asked about the status of The Toll during the press day for his upcoming film, Some Velvet Morning, LaBute admitted:

“That’s really just discussions. It’s a script that I thought was interesting. Melissa Leo, I’ve worked with her on stage. It’s one of those, wouldn’t it be great if we get to make this? It’s at that stage.”

Leo’s production company, First Lady Films, is behind the project, so just to confirm, we asked if Leo would also be the one taking the lead role to which LaBute simply replied, “She would, yeah.” 

Even though the film’s heroine is just a tollbooth worker and not an international spy or secret service agent, when you’ve got a narrative centered on bringing down a terrorist attack, it’s easy to picture something in Roland Emmerich territory. However, LaBute insisted, “I don’t think that’s the way it would go.”

After digging deeper and asking for more details on the film’s tone, LaBute further explained:

I think it’s meant to really be a character piece, to take a middle-aged woman and put her in a crisis you would normally find Bruce Willis. It’s finding someone who has none of the supposed attributes of an action hero and yet asked to do all of the things that those people are asked to do. It’d be great if it could work, but who knows. Movies are – all I’ve found is that they’re just tougher and tougher to make.”

As LaBute mentioned, it’s important to note that The Toll is still in the development stage and is not necessarily guaranteed a green light. Hopefully that’ll change soon, but until then, you can catch LaBute’s latest, Some Velvet Morning, on iTunes and VOD on December 10th and in select theaters on December 13th. Keep an eye out for our full interview with the writer-director closer to that film’s release.


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