Off the Record: New Ulm movie project update

I had a short visit this week with David Rysdahl, the New Ulm native who is busy acting and writing scripts in New York. He was in town for a funeral, and stopped by to update me on his plans for a movie he wants to shoot in New Ulm.

Originally, plans were to shoot the movie in March, but a lot of things came up to set that schedule back.

Rysdahl has been working in a couple of other projects, including “Dead Pigs,” a film shot in China about the true story of thousands of dead pigs found floating in the Huangpu River in 2013. Rysdahl played a lost ex-patriate trying to find work as an architect. The film won the Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble Acting at the Sundance Film Festival.

Rysdahl’s girlfriend and writing partner, Zazie Beetz, has been busy as well. She will be appearing in the upcoming film “Deadpool II,” coming out in May. She plays a superhero named Domino in the film, which stars Ryan Reynold and Josh Brolin.

But Rysdahl is still planning on shooting the film sometime this year. It’s an original screenplay called “Shelter,” written by Rysdahl and Beetz, about a man whose a 13-year-old daughter pretends to have cancer. Her father (Rysdahl) is hooked into the ruse, and he brings her back to his hometown (New Ulm) where his mother is pastor of a small church. The church gets caught up in the story, raising money for her and building community support, but it all threatens to come crashing down.

He’s still working on the screenplay, and hopes to make use of New Ulm as much as possible for the project.

In another step for his acting career, Rysdahl has signed with the agency ICM as an actor and writer. ICM represents other actors like Roseanne Barr, John Cena and Jim Caviezel. Being with an agency should open up some opportunities and garner more support for his project, he said.


Kevin Sweeney has been the managing editor of The Journal since May 1985. A native of St. Paul, he worked at newspapers in LeSueur and Albert Lea before moving to New Ulm. Contact him at