EXCLUSIVE: Jason Statham has been working up a storm in serious films, but he’s taking time to go back to the comic roots that launched his career with Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. I’m told that Statham has met with director Paul Feig and that talks will start soon for him to join Melissa McCarthy in Fox‘s Susan Cooper. That comedy, which puts Feig and McCarthy back together after they did the hits Bridesmaids and The Heat, casts her as an unlikely secret agent. Statham will play a spy on the same side, if the deal makes. He’ll next be seen with James Franco in Homefront, and he just wrapped The Expendables 3. Statham is just beginning work on The Fast & The Furious 7. He’s repped by CAA and managed by Steve Chasman.
When Melissa McCarthy didn’t lash back after New York Observer film critic Rex Reed’s out-of-bounds review of Identity Thief back in February — in which out of the blue and most cruelly he called the actress “tractor-sized” and “a …
EXCLUSIVE: Naomi Watts is in talks to star in St. Vincent De Van Nuys, the film that Ted Melfi will direct from his script for The Weinstein Company, Chernin Entertainment and Don Cheadle’s Crescendo. Watts will …
Melissa McCarthy To Get Offer For Coveted Female Lead Opposite Bill Murray In ‘St. Vincent De Van Nuys’
EXCLUSIVE: Melissa McCarthy will soon be offered the female lead in St. Vincent De Van Nuys, the film that Ted Melfi will direct from his script for The Weinstein Company and Chernin Entertainment, with Bill Murray in the starring role. This is a role that all the top comic actresses chased, and it should give McCarthy a chance to show some of her colors as an actress after playing vulgar characters in Identity Thief (which grossed over $116 million domestically) and when she next opens opposite Sandra Bullock in The Heat, helmed by her Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.
Murray plays the title character, a cantankerous train wreck of a neighbor who takes under his corrupt wing the 12-year-old son of a struggling single mother who has moved in next door. McCarthy is the choice to play the single mother and she campaigned hard for this. The project, based on Melfi’s Black List script, has been compared to As Good As It Gets or even TWC’s recent Silver Linings Playbook for the way it mixes comedy and human pathos. Much the way that Jennifer Lawrence Skyped an audition that got her the Oscar-winning role in Silver Linings Playbook even though David O Russell initially thought she might be too young, McCarthy auditioned for this role and her work put her atop the list and will win her this job.
McCarthy will first make Tammy, which she’s directing with her husband and co-writer Ben Falcone. She’s got time from her series Mike & Molly, so the scheduling right after July 4 fits into her wheelhouse.
Of the single mom’s decision to entrust Murray’s character with her son, Melfi called it “the worst parenting decision ever made by this single mom, but she works two shifts at the hospital and the guy next door seems harmless enough.” Melfi told me this when TWC acquired his Black List script, which he’d spent two years developing with Chernin Entertainment. “The relationship transforms both the man and the boy and even though he teaches the kid everything about his decadent lifestyle, from fighting to drinking, gambling and how to cheat lie and steal. And the 12-year-old has such a pure soul that he only extracts the good from all this.”
Melfi makes his directorial debut on the $13 million budget movie, which became a big priority all over town when Murray agreed to play the title character. Shooting begins in July. The film will be produced by Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping, Melfi, Fred Roos and Don Cheadle who is producing via Crescendo Prods. TWC production president Dylan Sellers is overseeing it.
Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Oscar coverage.
As I like to say, you’re only as good as your last gown. And while no one really spilled blood on the red carpet at the Oscars, a few actresses missed the mark today. Mostly because they just didn’t seem to care enough or try very hard. Jennifer Aniston’s matronly tomato-red Valentino reminded me of a sad little bowl of vanilla ice cream when I’m on a PMS snack binge. Yawn. The classic silhouette also called for more effort with her hair and makeup. She looked like she came straight from Zuma Beach. Kristen Stewart’s cream strapless Reem Acra gown felt like a wishy-washy afterthought for the edgy, young star who fronts for Balenciaga. She appeared sullen, like she was heading for an arranged marriage.
Related: Oscars Fashion: Who Wore What?
Hayek Pinault earned an Oscar nomination for her leading performance in “Frida.” She will be seen next in “Grown Ups 2.”
McCarthy earned a nomination for her performance in a supporting role in the 2011 hit film “Bridesmaids.” She stars in the recently released film “Identity Thief” and will be seen next in “The Heat.”
Why Melissa McCarthy’s Lack Of Vanity Is Important, Despite What Cranky Critic Rex Reed Spews In ‘Identity Thief’ Review
UPDATE: Now here’s why Freaks And Geeks creator and Bridesmaids helmer Paul Feig is a highly paid screenwriter, and I am not. It’s all about economizing your words. What took me three long paragraphs to convey, Feig does in this simple tweet: @Paul Feig: For his catty and school bully name-calling of the supremely talented Melissa McCarthy, I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go fuck himself.
PREVIOUS: I have as thick a skin as anybody, but I must say I’m appalled by New York Observer critic Rex Reed and a review of Identity Thief where he spends all his cleverness on cruel adjectives for the weight of its star, Melissa McCarthy. Here is a woman who probably has been on the heavy side all her life, but who has developed the self-confidence to be comfortable enough in who she is that she is willing to put herself on the screen in most unglamorous ways because it serves the comedy. Having first seen her work in Mike and Molly, where she is pretty glamorous in my book, I remember being put off in early Bridesmaids trailers when I saw her wearing no makeup and looking pretty raw. When I saw that raucous comedy, I felt that, if she didn’t steal the film she came close, playing a grounded character. Her hosting gig on Saturday Night Live put on display some of the best physical comedy skills I’ve seen since the early days of Jim Carrey, Chris Farley, Steve Martin, John Candy and even Curly Howard of The Three Stooges. There are no women on that short list because I just can’t think of any. Like all those guys, McCarthy’s lack of vanity is astonishing.
When I was in college, Rex Reed was described by my profs as one of the new generation of film critics who was changing that game. I read a lot of his stuff and found his writing graceful and bold. I don’t know if he has kids, but I have two daughters. It sensitizes you to many things, including the temptation to obsess about being rail thin. All you want for your girls is that they feel comfortable in their own skin, and McCarthy is a shining example of that. Reed obviously doesn’t even consider that McCarthy is breaking boundaries and making it okay for girls all over to feel good about themselves even if, when they look in the mirror, they don’t see a waif-like Victoria’s Secret model staring back.
This one provides a little more graphic look at Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as reluctant partners in The Heat, written by Katie Dippold (Parks And Recreation) and directed by Bridesmaids‘ Paul Feig: