Gillian Jacobs Joins ‘Cleveland, I Love You’ Community


Actress Gillian Jacbobs
joins the 'Cleveland, I Love You' cast
The community of actors involved in Cleveland, I Love You continues to grow. The production recently announced the addition of Gillian Jacobs to the cast. 

The movie, produced by Cleveland filmmakers Eric Swinderman and Mark Pengryn, tells tales of love in Cleveland by way of 11 vignettes – love stories created by some of Cleveland’s most talented filmmakers.

Jacobs, best known for her role as Britta Perry in the NBC sit-com Community, will play Busy Phillipps’ character’s sister. Phillipps, known for her work as Laurie Keller on ABC’s Cougar Town, joined the cast earlier in January. Both will star in a short written by Karey Dornetto (South Park, Community, Arrested Development) and directed by Shaker Heights native Jamie Babbit (United States of Tara, The Middle). 

Dornetto’s connection to Community helped draw Jacobs to the project. As a producer on the program, Dornetto reached out to Jacobs and she agreed, explains Swinderman.

And he couldn’t be more thrilled.

“I am a huge fan of Community,” Swinderman says. “It's one of the smartest shows on television, and Gillian is absolutely brilliant in it.”

Community also boasts a handful of Midwesterners, Jacobs included. Jacobs was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Mt. Lebanon, Penn. Her co-star, Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley Bennett), grew up in Cleveland and briefly studied acting at The University of Akron. And Anthony and Joe Russo – best known as the Russo Bros. – are executive producers and directors on the show. The Russos hail from Cleveland as well.

Which makes one wonder if other Community alum might appear in the movie.

“With such a strong Cleveland connection, you never know who else might pop in to our little film,” Swinderman teases. 

He attributes Jacobs decision to come aboard in some small part to her Midwest heritage.

“I have found with actors and filmmakers from the Midwest is no matter how much success they discover out west, they always hold a special place in their heart for home,” he says.  “Plus Cleveland and Pittsburgh are very similar. Both are industrial blue collar towns, both have active indie film communities, and both have that small town feel despite their urban setting.”

One thing is for sure. The combination of Phillipps and Jacobs will give the movie much more weight when Swinderman and his team look for ways to market the film.

“We’ll definitely find a greater interest in the film outside of Cleveland, and we are very optimistic about our distribution options,” he says. “When we started this process we wanted Leon Bibb and Robin Swoboda on board, two well-known Cleveland icons. We knew having them in the cast would add local credibility to the film and allow us to bring on local supporters. Having Busy and Gillian adds to our national appeal. They are icing on the cake.”

Jacobs and Phillipps will be shooting in downtown Cleveland the third week of February. 
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