Advertisement
  1. Arts & Entertainment

This Tampa man wrote a movie starring Frankie Muniz

Andy Warrener went from Civil War reenactor to screenwriter. ‘The Black String’ has two local screenings next week.
Screenwriter Andy Warrener shows off a copy of his film "The Black String" available at a local Walmart. [Andy Warrener]
Published Oct. 18
Updated Oct. 22

Andy Warrener is a bit of a renaissance man.

He’s a carpenter, electrician and freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Tampa Bay Times and Creative Loafing. He’s a married father of two, partakes in Civil War reenactments and is active in local nonprofits and community groups such as the Keystone Civic Association and Hillsborough River State Park Preservation Society. In 2018, he unsuccessfully ran as an independent for Florida House District 64.

But the title of successful screenwriter can now be added to the 41-year-old Keystone-Odessa man’s resume. Warrener wrote The Black String starring Frankie Muniz of Malcolm in the Middle fame.

The movie is about a lonely 20-something whose unexpected encounter with a mysterious woman brings him illness and nightmarish visions. Paranoid and desperate, he goes on a quest across the suburbs to find the seductress who started it all.

The Black String has been shown at 11 film festivals so far and is available for purchase in stores throughout the country and via streaming services.

It will have two local screenings soon, one in Tampa and one in Safety Harbor. The Tampa Bay Times recently spoke with Warrener to find out what led to this big break.

"The Black String" was written by Andy Warrener. [Andy Warrener]

How did you end up writing a movie starring a known Hollywood actor, now available around the country?

I’ll nutshell it up. I went to University of Central Florida to study theater, moved out west to Los Angeles wanting to do the acting thing for a while, realized I was a much better writer, sold my first script in 2006, but it was never made, and then met Brian Hanson, the director of The Black String, while working together at a nightclub in Hollywood. He and I hit it off and wrote this script now called The Black String.

That went cold for a while. He and I wrote, he directed and I starred in a feature-length guerilla film in 2009. That was the time I moved back to Tampa when my second child was born. From there I got into journalism and have been doing it for the last 10 years.

I then decided to run for public office and crashed and burned gloriously, but this film happened.

Frankie Muniz in "The Black String." [Courtesy of Andy Warrener]

How did you get Frankie Muniz attached to the film?

They were casting it out in L.A. and sending me some of the audition tapes. Some were great actors. Really some fantastic people who tried out. Then one of the producers said, “Hey, Frankie Muniz might be interested in being in the film.” They had him read for it, but it was a formality. He was really good in it. The acting is first class all the way around. The more I watch it, the better he comes off. As hard as it is to shed that Malcolm in the Middle persona that follows him everywhere, I felt like he did a great job.

Screenwriter Andy Warrener is behind the "The Black String" starring Frankie Muniz. [Andy Warrener]

Do you feel like you’ve officially made it in the film business now?

I am 41, a part-time electrician and a struggling freelancer, so I know a lot better than to get my hopes up. But this is possibly the most exciting thing to ever happen in my life besides my children being born and my wife saying yes to marrying me.

The momentum just keeps going and every day I wake up and something new has happened — like a new film festival in another country. This wave has not stopped. Great. Let’s keep it rolling.

If YOU GO

The Black String

The film will be screened at 10 p.m. Oct. 25 at Villagio Cinemas, 11778 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, and at 10 a.m. Oct. 27 as part of the Halloween Horror Picture Show film festival at Gigglewaters Social Club & Screening Room, 737 Main St., Safety Harbor.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Mandy Moore will perform at the Straz Center in Tampa on April 9, 2020. Carter Smith
  2. Simple Thanksgiving stuffing. MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Keep it simple this year.
  3. The 1975 perform on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" on Nov. 18. SCOTT KOWALCHYK  |  CBS
    Find out when Switchfoot, AJR, Judah and the Lion and more will hit the stage at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
  4. The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts illuminated its new sign for the first time on Dec. 6, 2010. Times (2010)
    The historic donation that renamed the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center is still impacting Tampa Bay’s arts community.
  5. This July 31, 2019, file photo shows an Impossible Whopper burger at a Burger King restaurant in Alameda, Calif. Restaurant Brands International (QSR), operator of Burger King and Tim Hortons restaurant chains, on Monday, Oct. 28, reported third-quarter earnings of $201 million. BEN MARGOT  |  AP
    In a lawsuit filed in Florida’s Southern District, Phillip Williams is suing Burger King for $5 million.
  6. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" stars Tom Hanks. LACEY TERRELL  |  TriStar Pictures/Sony Pictures
    ‘21 Bridges’ and 'The Irishman’ also open locally, plus a film in the park and the anniversary screening of ‘Galaxy Quest.’
  7. A turkey surrounded by side dishes. Associated Press
    Tried-and-true techniques for the big meal.
  8. A Brooklyn Blackout Cake. LORRAINE FINA STEVENSKI  |  Special to the Times
    This rich, intensely chocolate cake was inspired by the original Ebingers blackout cake.
  9. Michael McDonald, right, will rejoin the Doobie Brothers for a 50th anniversary tour that will hit Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on June 10, 2020. Clay Patrick McBride
    The Doobies and McDonald haven’t toured together in 25 years.
  10. White bean stew with salami and kale MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Salami and kale bolster this creamy one-pot meal.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement