EXCLUSIVE: Ben Stiller is teaming with another comedy multihyphenate, Bonnie Hunt, for a comedy project at ABC that will star the comedienne. Hunt will write the half-hour, titled compliKATEd, with her writing partner and frequent collaborator Don Lake. The ensemble comedy centers on Kate (Hunt), a confidently insecure woman with a complicated life. It is produced by Stiller’s Red Hour Television, Hunt’s Bob & Alice Prods and ABC Studios, where Red Hour TV is under an overall deal. Hunt and Lake will executive produce with Red Hour TV’s Stiller, Debbie Liebling and Stuart Cornfeld.
In its maiden development season, Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Television has sold two single-camera comedies to ABC, Please Knock, written by Kevin Napier, and The Notorious Mollie Flowers, written by Adam Resnick (The Larry Sanders Show). Both are being produced by ABC Studios. Red Hour TV was launched at the end of last year when Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld’s Red Hour Films signed an overall deal with ABC Studios and brought in veteran film and TV executive Debbie Liebling to run the new TV division. Stiller, Cornfeld and Liebling executive produce both ABC comedies, which have received script commitments.
Loosely based on Stiller’s life, Please Knock centers on Mitch Fuller, an A-list actor who realizes he’s losing touch with reality and his family, and moves back to the same building he grew up in in New York, where his parents still live. Napier is writing-executive producing. Please Knock reunites Knapier with Red Hour. In 2009, he wrote the company’s off-beat comedy pilot at Fox The Station, which Stiller directed and executive produced.
The Notorious Mollie Flowers is set in Cape May, New Jersey. When the town’s sweetest, cutest, most selfless do-gooder is falsely accused of a crime, her reputation in town is suddenly tarnished. After being exonerated, she decides it’s time to start focusing on her own needs for once, much to the dismay of everyone around her. Resnick is writing-executive producing.
Yahoo today launched a new online-only satirical series executive produced by Ben Stiller. Written by Erica Oyama, Burning Love is a spoof of that horrendous show The Bachelor and features a bunch of well-known actors like Kristen Bell, Ken Jeong, Malin Akerman, and Michael Ian Black as well as Stiller himself (briefly) and star/director Ken Marino. It’ll be interesting to see what more established talent will partner with Yahoo on digital entertainment:
On the third day of the Cannes Film Festival it was a day for familiar names taking the spotlight on the famed Palais steps. First up tonight was the return of DreamWorks Animation. One way or another DreamWorks Animation honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg finds a way to bring his latest product to the Croisette, whether in the form of a press stunt, junket, competition or as was the case tonight with out-of-competition entry Magagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted which debuted in the prime 7:30PM slot on the first Friday of the festival. Of course with the sequel using nearby Monte Carlo as a key backdrop for the action, and Europe in its title, this was a no-brainer for Cannes Fest director Thierry Fremaux who has repeatedly called DreamWorks Animation a “friend of the festival” and loves having a fun 3D movie toon in the mix. Just two years ago the fest opened with Disney/Pixar’s Up.
Repping the movie at Cannes were directors Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon and Tom McGrath in addition to starry voices including Ben Stiller who plays Alex the lion, Chris Rock as the zebra Marty, Jada Pinkett-Smith as Gloria the hippo and David Schwimmer as Melman the giraffe. Among new cast members who made the trek to Cannes are Martin Short as Italian sea lion Stefano and Jessica Chastain as the Italian jaguar Gia.
As Stiller put it in today’s meeting with …
Here’s 20th Century Fox‘s red-band trailer for the retitled alien invasion comedy The Watch. Fox abandoned its original marketing scheme for the formerly titled Neighborhood Watch to avoid any unintended association with the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin tragedy in Florida. The R-rated comedy concerns a group of suburban men who form a neighborhood watch group and discover an alien plot to destroy the earth. It stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade. It was directed by Akiva Schaffer and written by Jared Stern and Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg. Shawn Levy produced. It opens July 27.
EXCLUSIVE: Sean Penn is in negotiations to play a small but pivotal supporting role in 20th Century Fox’s remake of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, the comedy that Ben Stiller is directing, with Stiller playing the title role. Stiller plays the timid magazine photo manager who goes off on an escapade to find a missing negative. Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine and Patton Oswalt also star. Penn most recently wrapped The Gangster Squad, playing L.A. gangster Mickey Cohen in the Ruben Fleischer-directed period cop drama at Warner Bros. He’ll next be seen in the Paolo Sorrentino-directed This Must Be The Place and is being courted by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for The Revenant. He’s repped by CAA.
Beverly Hills, CA – Ben Stiller will present at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. Stiller will be playing the title character in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which he is also directing, and will be seen next in “Neighborhood Watch.”
EXCLUSIVE: Adam Scott is in final negotiations to join Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Patton Oswalt and Shirley MacLaine in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the Stiller-directed remake for Red Hour and 20th Century Fox. Between his work on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, Scott has been knocking down the movie roles. He stars opposite Jon Hamm, Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph in Friends With Kids. He co-stars in the Sundance comedy Bachelorette, opposite Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher. That film was just acquired by Radius. Scott also co-stars in the upcoming features See Girl Run and My Mother’s Curse. Next up, he stars in A.C.O.D., which also stars Jane Lynch and Ricard Jenkis and begins production next month in Atlanta. Even Scott’s previous Starz series, Party Down, is in talks for a feature transfer. He’s repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.
Ben Stiller To Star, Direct And Produce HBO Comedy Pilot Produced By Scott Rudin; Alan Alda In Negotiations To Co-Star
HBO has assembled another star-studded team for its next pilot, comedy All Talk. Ben Stiller has signed on to star, direct and executive produce the project from acclaimed novelist Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close). Emmy winner Alan Alda is in negotiations to co-star in the project, which is being executive produced by top film producer Scott Rudin, along with Stiller, Eli Bush and Foer. Filming is tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall of 2012. Written by Foer, All Talk is described as “politically, religiously, culturally, intellectually and sexually irreverent” and revolves around the daily and life-altering dramas of a Jewish family in Washington, DC. “Ben Stiller continues to be a major, multi-talented star because of his discerning ability to embrace creative and innovative projects – whatever the medium,” said HBO’s president of programming Michael Lombardo. “From major blockbuster motion pictures to small independent films; from Broadway to off-Broadway, the common thread is always the excellence of the material. We were enormously pleased that Ben responded to this extraordinary work from Jonathan Safran Foer.”
Stiller, who started off in TV, toplining his own series, The Ben Stiller Show, will next star in, direct and produce The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. He recently wrapped production on Neighborhood Watch opposite Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill, which is set for release in July. This marks a reunion for Stiller …
EXCLUSIVE: Shirley MacLaine is in negotiations to play the mother of Ben Stiller’s lead character in Fox’s The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. Stiller also is directing the pic, on which he came aboard after sparking to a new script on the long-in-the-works project from Steve Conrad. Mitty is based on the 1947 Danny Kaye film from the James Thurber short story first published in The New Yorker in 1939, and the story of a perpetual daydreamer had been in development so long that it seemed like it might never be more than a daydream. But now it’s rolling and MacLaine is the first big casting aside from Stiller. Production is set to start in April.
With the first two grossing more than $1.1 billion worldwide, it’s a cinch we were going to see more of these guys. This time they travel through Europe with a circus. Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen and Cedric the Entertainer return, with Frances McDormand in pursuit as a French law enforcement officer (shades of Fargo?). Noah Baumbach scripted, Eric Darnell directed. Opens June 8.
Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films is making a major move in television, signing an overall deal with ABC Studios and bringing in veteran film and TV executive Debbie Liebling to run the company’s TV division, Red Hour Television. Under the pact, which will run through May 31, 2013, with an option for another year, Red Hour TV will develop and produce comedy and drama projects for ABC Studios. At the studio, Red Hour joins such pods as Mark Gordon Prods, Shondaland and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld’s Red Hour has ventured in TV before, co-producing several comedy pilots — including an untitled half-hour starring Stiller’s wife, actress Christine Taylor, at CBS; The Station at Fox; and, most recently, Justin Theroux’s Documental at HBO. But now the company is launching a dedicated TV division with Liebling at the helm. “Debbie is an incredibly talented executive,” said Stiller, who started in television as an actor on Saturday Night Live and The Ben Stiller Show. “I am hoping she helps us get a show on the air that is culturally relevant, groundbreaking, and doesn’t get canceled after 12 episodes. If she does that, I will consider the deal a major success.”
Liebling has experience in developing long-running series — she was Chief Development and Production Executive for Comedy Central for seven years, where she developed South Park. Other series she shepherded there include The Man Show, Win Ben Stein’s Money, Battlebots and Primetime Glick. Liebling most recently served as President of Production at Universal Pictures until May, when she exited as part of a department restructuring. At Universal, she oversaw the development and production of Bridesmaids, The Change-Up and Tower Heist, among others. She was previously President of Fox Atomic Pictures and spent five years as EVP Production for 20th Century Fox Films, where she was responsible for such films as Borat and the Stiller-starring Dodgeball, which he also produced. “I have known and worked with Ben over the years and always been in awe of his work ethic and standards and great taste,” Liebling said.
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has preemptively acquired The Mountain, a spec script by Helen Childress that Ben Stiller will develop to direct. Stiller and his Red Hour partner Stuart Cornfeld will produce. It’s a re-team for Stiller and Childress, who wrote Reality Bites. The project is a horror story based on characters from Summer, the novel by Edith Wharton. Set in the early 1900s, The Mountain revolves around a young woman who struggles to confront her destiny after stumbling upon a mysterious object that forces her to examine the secrets of her past. It’s a sophisticated horror premise in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby. Stiller and Childress are also developing an adaptation of the children’s book The Snowy Day under his Fox deal. Stiller continues to work on a remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at Fox that he’ll direct and star in. He’s shooting the Akiva Schaffer-directed comedy Neighborhood Watch with Jonah Hill and Vince Vaughn for Fox.
Original Artists-repped Childress also scripted Mother’s Confidential at Paramount and Allison’s Starting To Happen for Sandra Bullock and Warner Bros.
This Funny Or Die video from writer-director Josh Greenbaum explains why non-liberal America hates Hollywood. Featuring Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Jack Black, and Kevin Spacey. Wait for the scene with Bill:
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has acquired rights to the supernatural British comedy show Rentaghost, and has re-teamed Ben Stiller with his Night At The Museum writers Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. The film will be produced by Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun through BermanBraun and Kevin McCormick through Langley Park. Patrick Pidgeon is producer and Andrew Mittman is co-producer. The comedy will be based on the British TV kid series that ran on BBC1 from 1976-84. The project was once in negotiations to land at Warner Bros with Berman and McCormick as a vehicle for Russell Brand, but he withdrew after Arthur didn’t open strongly, and the studio never closed the deal. If Stiller, Lennon and Garant can replicate anything close to Night at the Museum, this could be another strong family franchise for Fox, where Stiller’s Red Hour is based.
The original show involved a supernatural firm called Rentaghost, which rented out spirits for a variety of tasks. In the take that Lennon and Garant will write, the idea is for Stiller to play an American turnaround consultant who is sent to the UK to reinvigorate a failing company. Stiller’s got a lot going on. The Brett Ratner-directed Tower Heist will be released next month, he’s shooting the Akiva Schaffer-directed Fox comedy Neighborhood Watch with Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill, and continues to work with Fox on The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, which he hopes to direct …
Theater owners seem resigned to the fact that Universal will run a premium video-on-demand test of its upcoming film Tower Heist – but are determined to push back the date, now scheduled for just three weeks after November, 4 when it opens in theaters. Negotiations continue as exhibition companies link arms: Three small regional theater chains have joined Cinemark in refusing to book Brett Ratner’s caper movie starring Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller if Universal proceeds with plans to offer it for $59.99 three weeks after the debut to roughly half a million cable homes in Atlanta and Portland, Ore. California-based Regency Theatres, Galaxy Theatres and Detroit-based Emagine Theatres as well as some small exhibitors representing some 50 screens around the country have also refused to book the movie, the LA Times reported. Exhibition companies feel that they already swallowed a bitter pill earlier this year when four studios announced a deal with satellite broadcaster DirecTV to make some movies available via VOD for $29.99 — but 60 days after their theatrical debut. Theater owners wanted to draw the line at 90 days. Anything less, they feared, would encourage many ticket buyers to wait and watch hit films in the comfort of their living rooms.