EXCLUSIVE: They have been an integral part of two of the defining family sitcoms of two separate decades. Now Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal and Happy Days star Henry Winkler have teamed with Winkler’s son, director Max Winkler, and son-in-law, actor Rob Reinis, for a new multi-camera family comedy project, which has landed at ABC with a pilot production commitment. The untitled project is designed as a starring vehicle for Henry Winkler and is based on his relationship with his son-in-law. Written by Rosenthal, Max Winkler and Reinis and to be directed by Rosenthal, the comedy hails from 20th TV and Max Winkler and Jake Johnson’s studio-based Walcott Co. It centers on an emotionally reserved construction worker who learns about love, life and hugs while unexpectedly living with his in-laws — Henry, to be played by Henry Winkler, and Stacey Winkler. (In real life, Henry Winkler has been married to his wife Stacey Winkler for more than 35 years.)
Family Comedy From Phil Rosenthal, Max Winkler & Rob Reinis To Star Henry Winkler Gets ABC Pilot Production Commitment
EXCLUSIVE: Having worked together on New Girl and the feature Ceremony, Jake Johnson and Max Winkler have now formally teamed up with a production company at 20th Century Fox TV. The new shingle is called The Walcott Company and the duo have brought Management 360’s Mary Lee on board to run it for them. This follows the actor and the writer-director collaborating on the single camera comedy pilot The B-Team for Fox TV and Imagine TV last year as well as Winkler directing a number of episodes of New Girl’s recently concluded second season. The two sold a mob feature comedy pitch to Warner Bros last year. Repped by CAA and Management 360, Winkler is set to direct The Coward, based on an adaptation he co-wrote with Matt Spicer of Nick Jones’ comic play about 18th century English aristocrats. Chris O’Dowd will star in the film. Returning for New Girl’s third season in the fall, Johnson will be seen with Olivia Wilde in the upcoming indie Drinking Buddies later this summer as well in the Fox action pic Let’s Be Cops which is expected out next year. The actor is repped by UTA and 3 Arts.
EXCLUSIVE: In his first film lead since his breakout turn in the HBO series Girls, Adam Driver has signed on to play the lead role in Coward, a period comedy feature that will be directed by Max Winkler. Winkler wrote the script with Matt Spicer, based on a play by Nick Jones that was produced for Lincoln Center’s LCT3. Big Beach is financing.
The comedy takes place in 18th century England and is considered a match between Barry Lyndon and Trading Places. Driver plays Lucidus, a nobleman who hails from a family with a track record of men who came out on the losing end of to-the-death duels. When Lucidus is challenged to trade pistol shots, he panics and hires a common criminal to take his place in the duel. Trouble is, that criminal decides the life of a nobleman is a step up and he steals his employer’s identity.
EXCLUSIVE: New Girl co-star Jake Johnson is expanding his relationship with Fox, the network behind the quirky comedy. Johnson has teamed with writer-director Max Winkler for The B Team, a single-camera comedy produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV. Johnson and Winkler are co-writing the project, about five regular underdogs who, sick of getting screwed over, come together and form a real-world version of The Avengers. But, lacking any actual superpowers, they must rely on their intelligence and cunning to turn the tables on those who take advantage of the powerless. Winkler is attached to direct the potential pilot, while Johnson is poised to make his directorial debut with an episode if the project goes to series. The two executive produce with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo.
EXCLUSIVE: Max Winkler and Matt Spicer are on board for The Coward. The duo will co-write the adaptation of Nick Jones’ comic play about 18th century English aristocrats. Winkler will direct and Spicer will executive produce the Big Beach Films project. American Work’s Scot Armstrong and Ravi Nanden, along with Big Beach’s Mark Turtletaub and Peter Saraf, will produce. The duo, along with Jason Reitman, worked together on 2010’s Ceremony, starring Uma Thurman. Winkler has also been attached to direct a crime comedy with Steve Carell for Warner Bros. Both Winkler and Spicer are repped by CAA and Principato Young.
EXCLUSIVE: NALA Films has set Paul Blart: Mall Cop helmer Steve Carr to direct and Rob Riggle and Thomas Lennon to star in The Boondoggle, the comedy that the producer/financier bought in January as a spec. Riggle and Lennon play two guys who attend a boondoggle business trip. Despite the island-paradise setting, everything possible goes awry. Christopher Halvorson wrote the original draft. The film will shoot in late summer with NALA Films funding it.
NALA’s Emilio Diez Barroso and Darlene Caamano Loquet are producing with Joe Roth, Palak Patel and Barrett Stuart. Shooting will get underway in the summer. Carr’s Rumpus Entertainment partner Jason Taragan will be exec producer. Riggle will next be seen in the Tom Hanks-directed Larry Crowne and is shooting 21 Jump Street, while Lennon will next be seen in Bad Teacher. Lennon, who rewrote this script with Riggle, usually writes with Ben Garant, who hatched Night at the Museum and Reno 911!
NALA Films just financed and produced House of My Father, the Spanish-language comedy that stars Will Ferrell, and the Max Winkler-directed Ceremony.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has acquired a new project and made forward progress on another that will star Johnny Knoxville, who has made the studio huge money with the Jackass films. Best of all for Knoxville, both comedies are scripted, which should spare his body at least some abuse.
The studio has preemptively bought First Man, a pitch that Matt Spicer & Max Winkler will write, with Knoxville’s Dickhouse Entertainment producing. Knoxville will play a man whose wife is elected president. A natural hellraiser, he has totally behaved himself during his wife’s presidential campaign, only to find the dynamic of their relationship changes after he moves into the White House and becomes First Man. He is prompted to return to rowdy form. Dickhouse Entertainment and Priya Swaminathan are attached to produce. Winkler wrote and directed, and Spicer produced Ceremony, which Magnolia will release April 8 with Uma Thurman, Michael Angarano and Lee Pace starring. Winkler & Spicer also scripted The Adventurers Handbook with Jonah Hill and wrote Whispers In Bedlam for Jason Reitman to direct at Fox Searchlight.
Paramount is also reconfiguring Mustache Riders, a project the studio bought in 2008. This comedy is about three small-time crooks who set off on an adventure to find a buried treasure with a grizzled old outlaw. Knoxville and his Jackass cohorts Bam Margera and Ryan Dunn [who died in a car crash since this news was posted] are attached to star along with singer Willie …
Magnolia has released a trailer for Max Winkler’s feature directing debut Ceremony, one of the films that came out of the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Here it is: