Ardent fans of Kaley Cuoco’s Instagram page might have noticed the “fine print” of her profile. There’s the name, of course, “Norman Cook,” a reference to her dog; there’s the tagline, a reference to her love for rescuing animals: “Adopt don’t shop!” And then there’s the link, provided without explanation, to the Facebook page of a little-known film, Burning Bodhi.
It turns out Burning Bodhi is an independent flick Cuoco made back in 2014, and it’s only now hitting movie screens. The film is premiering Sunday night at the Austin Film Festival. Cuoco didn’t miss the opportunity to promote the film, posting a picture of herself in character alongside co-stars Landon Liboiron and Cody Horn. Her caption made reference to the film’s prominent place in the festival.
“Thrilled to be the centerpiece film tonight at the #austinfilmfestival #burningbodhi.”
The film also stars Sasha Pieterse, Meghann Fahy, Eli Varga, and Virginia Madsen. Madsen was nominated for an Academy Award in 2004 for her role in Sideways. Horn is also known to audiences from her role in Magic Mike.
Matthew McDuffie, a film professor at the University of New Mexico, wrote and directed the film. Marshall Bear, also a New Mexico native, acted as producer. The filmmakers told the Albuquerque Journal they reached out to Cuoco, who confirmed interest in the role, but had to go back to her again after production stalled. The movie was made during a three-week break Cuoco had from filming The Big Bang Theory. Cuoco was drawn to the character, Katy, and her story. Burning Bodhi eventually shot for a total of 18 days in New Mexico.
The filmmakers were impressed with Cuoco’s ability to transform for the role, and her on-set professionalism given the tight timeline. As still shots of the movie demonstrate, Katy is not the friendly “girl next door” like her Big Bang Theory character.
“We got her for seven days. She immediately came on set ready to work. The role was something very different for her and she became Katy. It was incredible to see her transformation.”
McDuffie also said Horn had a great interest in participating.
“Cody knew there would be a great actor response to the script. There aren’t many roles out there for millennials to actually play their age. It was different and Cody recognized it.”
According to IMDB, Burning Bodhi is about a group of friends who return to their hometown after they discover one of their high school friends has died. In an interview with the Albuquerque Journal when the film was first announced, McDuffie gave more insight into the story.
“This film is about your first dead friend. It’s about grief and laughter, and celebrating life, about growing up; whatever that means.”
As for film festival fans wondering if they would get a glimpse of the Big Bang Theory star in Austin, their chances might be higher than expected. A rundown of the Burning Bodhi premiere states that McDuffie, Horn, Andy Buckley, and Cuoco are scheduled to be “in attendance.” Cuoco seemed to confirm she was in Texas Sunday night by posting a picture of herself in the hallway of an Austin hotel.
She also posted that she had her “cowgirls” in Austin with her, referring to her hair and makeup crew.
Fans of The Big Bang Theory will have to wait a few days to see Kaley Cuoco in a new episode. The series is back on Thursday nights on CBS as of November 5.
[Main photo Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment]