The Valley of the Sun will be the backdrop for “Raising Buchanan,” a quirky film with some Hollywood talent that contains the following: the corpse of a long-dead president;  a cellist with a checkered past and some serious money problems; and an eccentric ventriloquist with a pack of loyal followers.

All of these converge to create the comedy “Raising Buchanan,” which will begin filming in October.

Shooting will take place at several locations throughout the Valley including local private businesses and residences. The film’s producers anticipate wrapping up shooting by November, and post-production will be completed by Spring 2018.

The film is written and directed by Rocky Mountain Emmy-award winner Bruce Dellis, who hails from Tempe and has been recognized as Arizona Filmmaker of the Year by the Phoenix Film Foundation. He has been nominated for 13 Rocky Mountain Emmys, winning four. He has an extensive track record in short films, and this is his first time serving as both writer and director for a full-length feature film.

“Raising Buchanan” stars Emmy-nominated and Tony Award-winning actor René Auberjonois as President James Buchanan. Auberjonois is best known for playing Clayton Endicott III on the popular TV show “Benson,” as well as roles on “Star Trek: Deep Space 9” and in the film “The Patriot.”

Auberjonois said that the screenplay was attractive to him because it is “beautifully written,” and he’s looking forward to bringing the deceased president back to life.

“The script is outrageously funny and courageously insightful in its way,” he said. “The role is one of the most challenging I have had in a long career, but I’m psyched to sink my teeth into it and look forward to the start of filming.”

The protagonist, Ruth Kiesling, will be played by local actress and executive producer Amanda Melby Crisalli, who boasts an extensive background in independent film. The cast includes a combination of national and local acting talent — including a cameo appearance by famed comedian and television star Andy Dick. 

“Raising Buchanan” is a dark comedy in the tradition of such films as “Harold and Maude,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Election.” The plot centers around Ruth, a desperate woman who steals the corpse of deceased president James Buchanan — considered by historians as the country’s worst ever — hoping to net a large ransom. Complications arise when it seems no one is particularly interested in getting him back.

“We’re very much looking forward to bringing Bruce’s incredibly funny screenplay to life over the course of the next few months,” Crisalli said. “’Raising Buchanan’ has the kind of humor and tempo that draws people in and has you rooting for people who aren’t necessarily making the best life decisions. We have been fortunate to assemble a very talented cast and crew to create a film we think people will enjoy immensely.”

Distribution channels for the film have yet to be determined, but Crisalli said the team will plan on submitting the film to a number of different film festivals to raise its profile.