Podtalk: Director Leo Milano for His Debut Feature ‘The Crusades,' Releasing July 7, 2023

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CHICAGO – It’s rare to see a director debut that is nuanced, anarchistic and different, but the high school coming-of-age comedy “The Crusades” – by first-timer Leo Milano – scores with its solid comedic script, unique characters and passionate homage to Chicagoland’s Northwest Burbs, as well as featuring hot actor Rudy Pankow (Netflix’s “Outer Banks”).

The film will be released through VMI International beginning this Friday, July 7th, and will be available to stream via Apple, VUDU, Amazon, Xfinity and more. Check your provider. There will also be a Chicagoland theatrical run starting July 7th at the historic Pickwick Theatre, click THE CRUSADES for ticket information and showtimes.

‘The Crusades,’ Directed by Leo Milano
Photo credit: VMI International

Three friends (Rudy Pankow, Khalil Everage and Ryan Ashton), who attend the all-boys Our Lady of the Crusades high school, receive earth-shattering news about an upcoming merger with a rival school, so they make a pact to have an epic weekend before potentially everything changes. While dodging the authorities, including a retired cop (Mike Starr) and an outside-the-box football coach (Nicholas Turturro), they embark upon a journey that will fall under “coming of age.” The film was co-written by Leo Milano, Jack Hussar and Shaun Early, and is Milano’s feature directorial debut.

After attending Notre Dame College Prep, an all-boys private high school in Niles, Illinois (Northwest Chicagoland), Leo Milano studied film at Columbia College Chicago, where he met producer Brent Madison and cinematographer Dillon Schneider, who he would later collaborate with on “The Crusades.” Leo is co-founder of Bad Little Thing, Inc., the production company behind the current film and his upcoming projects.  

In a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, co-writer/director Leo Milano of “The Crusades” talks about the atmosphere of his film …

In a video excerpt from the interview, how veteran actors Mike Starr and Nicholas Turturro uplifted the production …

Trailer, “The Crusades” …

CLICK HERE for a on-air 4/5 film review of “The Crusades” by Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com.

“The Crusades” will and be available through Video-On-Demand and theatrical on July 7th. Featuring Rudy Pankow, Ryan Ashton, Anna Maiche, Khalil Everage, Indiana Massara, Ashley Nicole Williams, Mike Starr and Nicholas Turturro. Written by Leo Milano, Jack Hussar and Shaun Early. Directed by Leo Milano. Not Rated. For more film information, click here.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Critic/Writer

© 2023 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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