EXCLUSIVE: New Films International has tapped Larry Charles (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld) to write The Man Who Sued God, with an eye to direct the reimagining of the 2001 Australian cult hit of the same name. Charles’ last feature as a director was 2012′s The Dictator, which followed his 2006 hit Borat, the 2008 Bill Maher documentary Religulous, and 2009′s Bruno. He’ll put his own spin on the original film’s premise about an ex-lawyer who files a claim against The Man Upstairs after his insurance company dismisses the destruction of his boat as an “act of God.”
Billy Connolly and Judy Davis starred in the Australian version, which opened at #1 at the Aussie box office and spawned a Bollywood remake. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: David Permut’s long-in-the-works film about the late comic Sam Kinison has taken form. Larry Charles, who helmed the Sacha Baron Cohen comedies Borat, Bruno and The Dictator, has signed on to direct and Josh Gad is set to play the pentecostal preacher-turned-manic standup comedian. Kinison has a script by xXx scribe Rich Wilkes, based on the book Brother Sam by Bill Kinison. Permut will produce, Tom Shadyac and Bill Kinison will be exec producers, and Steve Longi and Permut Presentations’ Chris Mangano will co-produce.
“There was nothing conventional about Sam Kinison and neither will be the cinematic interpretation of his life,” said Permut. “Larry Charles is the perfect director to bring Rich Wilkes’ incredible script to screen, and Josh Gad’s tremendous ability to morph into a role will bring great depth to Kinison’s larger than life persona.”
The film picks up the Kinison story in the 80s, as he transitions from the family business of Pentecostal preaching and into stand up comedy in Hollywood. Kinison and Charles cracked that racket around the same time, when Kinison was tearing tickets for The Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd and waiting for his chance, while Charles was hustling to sell jokes to the headlining comics long before he became writer/producer of Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage. Read More »
The hot cable comedy project, which has Billy Crystal attached to star, co-write and executive produce, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix co-writing/executive producing and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat‘s Larry Charles directing/co-writing and executive producing, has been picked up by FX with a pilot order. Titled The Comedians, the single-camera comedy, which was taken out earlier this month, is produced by Fox TV Studios, marking the first FX pilot to not come out of the in-house FX Prods.
In The Comedians, Crystal plays a superstar veteran comedian who is reluctantly paired with a younger, edgier comedian for a late-night comedy sketch show. It is based on the 2004 Swedish series Ulveson And Herngren, starring comedians Felix Herngren and Johan Ulveson as they put together a sketch program. Charles is set to direct the pilot, which is said to be in the documentary style he perfected on another cable comedy starring a veteran stand-up comedian, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Charles, Nix and Crystal are co-writing with comedy writer-producer Ben Wexler, who previously worked with Nix on Nix’s Fox dramedy The Good Guys. The four executive produce with Nix’s manager, producer Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin, both of Fabrik Entertainment (formerly Fuse), which, like Nix, is under a deal at FtvS. Carl Molinder and John Nordling of Stockholm-based Efti AB, which is behind the original series, also executive produce. Fabrik’s Kristen Campo co-exec produces. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A hot comedy project is expected to hit the cable marketplace next week. I hear the untitled comedy has Billy Crystal attached to star, co-write and executive produce, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix co-writing/executive producing and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat‘s Larry Charles directing/co-writing and executive producing. Fox TV Studios, where Nix is under an overall deal, is producing. Details about the premise are sketchy but I hear the project is based on an European format and is described as an edgy comedy. Charles and Crystal are co-writing with comedy writer-producer Ben Wexler, who previously worked with Nix on Nix’s Fox dramedy The Good Guys. The four executive produce with Nix’s manager, producer Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin, both of Fabrik Entertainment (formerly Fuse), which also is under a deal at FtvS. Fabrik’s Kristen Campo co-exec produces. Bondesen and Fabrik have experience adapting European formats for the U.S., most notably with the AMC drama The Killing, which is coming back for Season 3 next month. USA’s Burn Notice will kick off its seventh season also in June. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Actress Mercedes Masohn is leaving ABC’s comedy pilot Mixology. The project, written by feature scribes Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover) in their pilot debut, and directed by Larry Charles, is an ambitious high-concept effort featuring 10 lead characters. Set in the world of a sexy Manhattan bar, Mixology chronicles the exploits of singles, five guys and five girls, in search of love — all over the course of one night. Masohn was to play one of them, Maya. She was one of the first actors cast in the project more than a month ago while Charles’ deal was still being finalized and Nina Wass was just joining as non-writing executive producer. Nine other regulars have been cast since Masohn came on board and Lucas and Moore, with input from Charles and Wass, have tweaked some elements of the pilot, including the Maya character. “Masohn is an incredible talent with comedy chops and has been very accommodating and understanding with us, and we plan to be working with her again soon,” the Mixology producers said in a statement. Read More »
It’s been a busy last couple of weeks for veteran multicamera director Pam Fryman. She just closed a deal to direct the ABC comedy pilot Divorce: A Love Story. Fryman already is working on what is considered the hottest multi-camera comedy pilot this season, Chuck Lorre’s Mom starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney at CBS. Additionally, she made a deal for the ninth and final season of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, on which she has served as director/executive producer since the pilot. Based on an Israeli format from Reshet, Divorce revolves around a recently divorced couple. Mike Sikowitz and Daniel Lappin wrote the script; Sony TV is producing. Fryman is with ICM Partners.
Larry Charles, director/executive producer of another long-running comedy series, Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO, has signed on to direct ABC’s high-concept single-camera comedy Mixology, from writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and ABC Studios. Set in the world of a sexy Manhattan bar, Mixology chronicles the exploits of singles, five guys and five girls, in search of love — all over the course of one night. WME-repped Charles, who has directed Sacha Baron Cohen’s movies Borat, Bruno and The Dictator, recently helmed an episode of New Girl. Read More »
Paramount Pictures has released an early image of Sacha Baron Cohen as The Dictator, the comedy in which he plays the dual roles of a ruthless dictator who heads to the U.S. for a meeting at the United Nations and finds that his number two has replaced him with an unsuspecting sheepherder lookalike. As the dictator wanders the city, he meets the owner of an organic food store (Anna Faris) who gives him a different perspective on the idea of oppression. Baron Cohen’s Borat and Bruno director Larry Charles is helming, and Paramount has set a May 11, 2012 worldwide release date. Scripted by former Seinfeld scribes Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer and David Mandel, The Dictator is being produced by Scott Rudin, Baron Cohen and the scribes.
I saw a report that claimed Baron Cohen was playing Saddam Hussein, a bit of confusion because the filmmakers have said the film was inspired by Zabibh and The King, which was written by the late Iraqi strongman. But that’s a misnomer and I think Baron Cohen’s hairstyle is more Seinfeld’s Kramer than Hussein.
EXCLUSIVE: Anna Faris has been offered and is in negotiations for the female lead in The Dictator, the Paramount Pictures comedy that has Sacha Baron Cohen starring in dual roles. Baron Cohen’s Borat and Bruno director Larry Charles is helming, and Paramount has set a May 11, 2012 worldwide release date. Scripted by former Seinfeld scribes Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer and David Mandel, The Dictator is being produced by Scott Rudin, Baron Cohen and the scribes.
Baron Cohen plays a ruthless dictator who heads to the U.S. for a meeting at the United Nations and finds that his number two has replaced him with an unsuspecting sheepherder lookalike. As the dictator wanders the city, he meets the owner of an organic food store. That’s the role Faris is negotiating. She turns around his dictatorial thinking, and there’s a little romance in it as well. Faris just sold a stalker pitch starring vehicle to Paramount, and she just wrapped the New Regency comedy What’s Your Number. She’s repped by Gersh and Anonymous Content’s Doug Wald. As for an official logline, Paramount released this one recently: “The film tells the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed. It is inspired by the best selling novel, Zabibah and The King, by Saddam Hussein.”
The Dictator was one of the more electric material sales of 2011. Four studios chased … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has set a May 11, 2012 worldwide release date for the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy The Dictator. The studio has reunited Baron Cohen with his Borat and Bruno director Larry Charles. Baron Cohen is producing with Scott Rudin, Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer and David Mandel. This is the project that Deadline first revealed last April, when the former Seinfeld writers Berg Schaffer and Mandel went around town with Baron Cohen to pitch it. We knew Baron Cohen was going to play dual roles of a dictator and a goat herder, but now there’s a logline: “The film tells the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed. It is inspired by the best selling novel, Zabibah and The King, by Saddam Hussein.”
Four studios chased the project when it was first shopped, but when it got down to two studios, Paramount made its serious intentions known by dispatching two goats (wearing Paramount logo T-shorts) to visit both Baron Cohen and his WME reps. The studio won the deal by committing to make the movie (and paying Baron Cohen $20 million). Despite that, the picture is budgeted at $58 million and Paramount executives love the script.
EXCLUSIVE: Ugly Betty alumna Ana Ortiz is set as the female lead of Fox’s off-cycle comedy pilot Outnumbered, which is being directed by Larry Charles. Inspired by the BBC sitcom, Outnumbered revolves around one set of parents who are often overwhelmed by their three children. Ortiz will play the mom, Sue Tulley, a frazzled, at-her-wit’s-end, working mother
of three, a multi-tasker by
necessity and somewhat of a hot-head. The project is being produced by 20th TV, Chernin Entertainment and Hat Trick Prods, the British company behind the original series. Like fellow Ugly Betty co-star Becki Newton, Ortiz was tapped for a new project, ABC’s drama pilot True Blue, shortly after the network announced the end of Betty‘s four-year run. She has been in demand ever since, with several projects in development for next fall trying to attach her as a star. Ortiz is with Gersh, manager Geordie Frey and attorney Brad Small.
EXCLUSIVE: Larry Charles, who steered Sacha Baron Cohen through audacious comic turns in Bruno and Borat, is now ready to do the same for Jim Carrey. Charles has signed on to direct Pierre Pierre, a comedy that has Carrey playing the role of a Frenchman who transports a stolen painting from Paris to London, behaving more obnoxiously than any waiter you’ve ever encountered at Cannes.
This project is moving forward again after weathering some serious setbacks. Two years ago, the script by then-unknowns Edwin Cannistraci and Frederick Seton made the Black List and sold for $1 million, with Carrey to star and Juno‘s Jason Reitman attached to direct. Fox Atomic’s Debbie Liebling and Peter Rice won the bidding battle over three others. Then: Reitman dropped out; Fox Atomic imploded; Liebling moved to Universal; Rice moved up in the Fox hierarchy. Sans champion, Pierre Pierre fell into turnaround. With Charles aboard, the comedy will be shopped again by its producers, Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch, and Category 5′s Brian Sher. They plan to make the movie for just over $20 million.
As a connoisseur of physical comic performances, I salivated over the prospect of Carrey playing Curly Howard (each the best physical comic of his generation) in the Farrelly Brothers-directed The … Read More »