Damon Wayans has completed his feature directorial debut with Behind the Smile, which has been selected for a world premiere in competition at next week’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival (March 8th – 12th, 2006) in Aspen, CO.

Wayans wrote and directed the comedy-drama in which he stars opposite his younger brother, Marlon Wayans.

Set in the world of stand-up comedy, the film tells the story of Danny Styles (Marlon), a young comedian who arrives in Los Angeles to follow his dreams of stardom. When he meets comic-superstar Charlie Richman (Damon), his life changes in twistedly unexpected ways.

“The world of comedy is so different from what people imagine. It’s often a scary place. I wanted to make a film that celebrates comedy, while exposing some of its darkest secrets,” said writer/director Damon Wayans about the film.

Behind the Smile’s supporting cast includes James Belushi, Camryn Manheim, Terry Crews, Shakara Ledard, and Mike Binder. The film also features appearances by stand-up comedians Bob Saget, Katt Williams, Jimmy Brogan, Ralphie May, George Wallace, Jay Leno, and others.

“We were blessed with an amazingly talented group of actors and comics who supported our project. I think some of them related to the surprising truths of this story,” Damon Wayans added.

The independently-financed film was produced by Clark Peterson (Monster) and Annice Parker, along with Damon and Marlon Wayans themselves. L.A. comedy impresario Jamie Masada serves an associate producer on the project, which was entirely filmed on location in Los Angeles.

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