EXCLUSIVE: Borat and Bruno helmer Larry Charles is set to direct the film adaptation of Bill Bryson’s best-selling memoir A Walk In The Woods, with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte starring. The script was written by Little Miss Sunshine‘s Michael Arndt, and it is aiming for a March start. Wildwood Enterprises’ Redford and Bill Holderman are producing with Route One Films’ Chip Diggins. The film is a road-trip comedy about an aging travel writer who decides to hike the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail, accompanied by a long-estranged high school buddy he’s been avoiding for years. Along the way, the duo face off with each other, nature and an eccentric assortment of characters only to discover that some roads are better left untraveled.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …