Rogers Park's Lucas Jade Zumann takes fantasy trip in 'Thrill Ride'

Tuesday, 28 November 2017, 06:43:08 AM. The young actor, best known for '20th Century Women,' says it was a privilege to be part of the fantasy adventure shot in Chicago and Woodstock.

Before he was propelled into the national consciousness in “20th Century Women,” the acclaimed 2016 film starring Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning, Rogers Park native Lucas Jade Zumann worked closer to home making “Thrill Ride.”

Shot in Chicago and northwest suburban Woodstock, the fantasy adventure film “actually was only the second movie I had made,” said the teenager, back home and taking a break from filming the second season of the “Anne With an E” Netflix series in Canada.

In the film, being released this week, Zumann plays Henry, who finds the original blueprints to the HappyLand Amusement Park, built by Al Capone in the 1930s. Legend had it, the famed gangster buried a large fortune in the park — somewhere at the end of a hidden ride that no one had discovered until Henry’s seemingly fortuitous find.

When Henry and two friends go on their quest, the attractions magically come to life. The only way the kids might make it out of HappyLand alive is thanks to the help of a friendly sea witch (Kristen Johnston of “Third Rock From the Sun”), who aids them in their fight against an evil mermaid, bloodthirsty pirates, a dangerous dragon and other monsters.

“The whole thing has a very ‘Night At The Museum’ feel to it,” said Zumann, noting how impressed he was that the low-budget independent film “really looked so good. … The funny thing: The sets they built —which were so amazing — were at Chicago Studio City, where I made my first film, the horror sequel ‘Sinister 2.’ ”

The idea for the movie came from the mind of young Mason Parrish, the son of the film’s Chicago writer-director Chris Parrish and co-producer Ilisa Parrish. After he came up with basic premise for “Thrill Ride,” Mason and his dad began swapping concepts on how the project could come to fruition.

Sadly, Mason died in 2011 from a rare form of pediatric brain cancer. “Once I heard all about Mason and how he had so deeply inspired the making of this film, it became a privilege to be on the set and be part of the whole production,” said Zumann.

Proceeds from the film will go to the Mason Parrish Foundation, a charitable corporation dedicated to supporting research and providing handicapped-equipped vans for families living with a diagnosis like Mason’s.

The theatrical premiere of “Thrill Ride” takes place Thursday at the Classic Cinemas in Woodstock. Beginning Friday, the movie will be shown at the Classic Cinemas in Elk Grove Village and Naperville. It also is now available for pre-orders on Amazon and iTunes.

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