Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum has been tapped to write the sequel to the 1993 hit comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, which is in development at Fox 2000 and has star Robin Williams and director Chris Columbus attached to return. It’s been 21 years since Williams donned a wig, dress, and prosthetics in the original film, about a San Francisco father named Daniel Hillard who who dons drag to spend quality time with his kids as he undergoes a divorce. Sally Field co-starred as Hillard’s wife, with Pierce Brosnan, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson, Lisa Jakub, and Harvey Fierstein rounding out the cast. After two decades of stalling out through numerous scripts, Berenbaum’s is an original take. Columbus and Williams haven’t officially signed deals for the sequel but Columbus is producing for his 1492 banner and is creatively shepherding the project.
The prospect of returning to series television was intimidating at first, Robin Williams said Wednesday night at TCA. The star of CBS’ The Crazy Ones said the worst part was “the pressure of it being A Robin Williams Vehicle”. Now the series is more of an ensemble, and “that’s the great joy for me – the pressure is off. It’s really become something I enjoy,” he said, adding that he no longer is nagged by the pressure of ” ‘You’re back on TV. After 32 years.’ The ensemble is so good, and we’re growing,” he said, speaking glowingly of the “steady gig like this with a great group of people.”
Lionsgate has picked up North American rights to The Angriest Man In Brooklyn, starring Robin Williams as New Yorker Henry Altmann, whose bad day gets worse when he’s told he has just 90 minutes to live. Mila Kunis stars as the doc who scrambles to find Altmann and get him into surgery as he goes on a panicked spree through Brooklyn to right all of the wrongs in his life. Phil Alden Robinson directs from Daniel Taplitz’s script with Melissa Leo, Peter Dinklage, and Hamish Linklater rounding out the cast. Lionsgate is planning a day and date theatrical and VOD release TBA. Landscape Entertainment’s Bob Cooper & Tyler Mitchell produced the film with Daniel J. Walker of Force Majeure. Backing came from MICA Entertainment and Vedette Finance. WME negotiated the deal with Lionsgate. Cargo Entertainment is repping foreign sales.
“McDonalds did not pay, and did not have approval” on The Crazy Ones pilot episode, exec producer Jason Winer told TV critics today at TCA. In the first episode of the new CBS comedy from David E. Kelly and Winer, a Chicago ad agency head and his daughter, played by Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, try to get Kelly Clarkson to sing the old McDonalds jingle in an effort to hang on to that important client. Using a real brand is exciting…making up the names of products would not seem so real” Winer explained. “So far no money has changed hands”.
“If you look under your chairs there’s a Happy Meal there right now,” Williams jumped in.
CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler introduced him as “the biggest get of the season, actually many seasons” and “one of the defining comedy voices of our time”. Then Robin Williams semi-shocked advertisers with topics not usually discussed on a network upfront stage. Williams plays a “renowned and slightly unhinged” advertising genius/madman in the comedy The Crazy Ones with co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar as his partner and daughter. The show from David E. Kelley and Jason Winer was frenetic and not laugh-out-loud funny but received with big applause. And then Williams walked out. “Nice to come through the strip club motif,” he began. “Welcome to Sugar Daddy’s, where old men dance for young girls.” He likened the upfronts to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show “but with more agents, and a little less ass-sniffing”. I couldn’t make out his punchline about partial circumcisions. But everybody in the audience roared when Robin reminded them, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been on TV, 30 years, when there were much simpler upfronts — and a mound of coke.” He noted how “in the old days there were only 3 networks, but now there are hundreds” offering an assortment of programming. “And if a little child wants to be transported to the Land Of Make-Believe, there’s Fox News.” With that, he ended. “Nice to have a job where the checks will clear.”
Buffy The Vampire Slayer alumna Sarah Michelle Gellar has been tapped as the female lead opposite Robin Williams in David E. Kelley’s CBS comedy pilot Crazy Ones. Written/exec produced by Kelley and directed/exec produced by Jason Winer, Crazy Ones is set in the world of advertising and stars Williams as Simon (Williams), the brilliant head of an ad agency working alongside his daughter Sydney (Gellar), the agency’s creative director. 20th Century TV is producing.
Gellar was recently attached to a 20th TV comedy spec, and I hear that the studio wanted to stay in business with her after that spec didn’t go. This marks the first live-action comedy series gig for Gellar, who starred in the CW drama Ringer last season. She is repped by ICM Partners and Brillstein Entertainment.
CBS Orders Drama Pilots From ‘Homeland’ Trio & Michael Seitzman, Officially Picks Up David E. Kelley/Robin Williams Comedy
CBS has given pilot orders to two more dramas, Anatomy Of Violence, from the Homeland trio of executive producers Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa and Alex Cary, and Intelligence, from writer Michael Seitzman. The network also has made official the pilot order to David E. Kelley’s comedy pilot Crazy Ones starring Robin Williams.
As one of the highest wattage comedy packages this season, the David E. Kelley-written workplace comedy starring Robin Williams has had an informal pilot order ever since the project landed at CBS in August. It has already hired a director, Jason Winer, and has been actively casting the other parts. Now that order has been formalized by CBS. 20th Century Fox TV, where Kelley was based for 22 years before moving to Warner Bros. TV in 2008, is producing.
Even without the big commitment, giving the project a production order was a no brainer. Let’s face it, you can’t judge a Robin Williams-starring vehicle without seeing it as he rarely sticks to the script. His improvisations on his previous TV series, Mork & Mindy, were so hard to contain, Garry Marshall added a fourth camera to the three-camera format for him, thus ushering in the multi-camera comedy setup that is used til this day. Williams will go with one for …
Thirty years after the end of Mork & Mindy, Oscar and Emmy winner Robin Williams is plotting a return to series television with a comedy written by Emmy winner David E. Kelley. The untitled single-camera comedy, written by The Practice and Ally McBeal creator, is set in the world of advertising and would star Williams as a brilliant ad executive working alongside his daughter.
As he often does, Kelley wrote the script before taking the project out, and CBS is now in talks to pick it up. 20th Century Fox TV, where Kelley was based for 22 years before moving to Warner Bros. TV in 2008, is producing. Kelley’s frequent collaborator Bill D’Elia will serve as an executive producer with him.
A deal with CBS would bring Kelley back to the network where he created his first show to score a best series Emmy win, drama Picket Fences. It was followed by wins for The Practice and Ally McBeal, which made him the only creator to score a best comedy and drama series Emmys in the same year. The ad agency project also would bring Kelley back to the half-hour genre where he co-created his first series, Doogie Howser, MD. Kelley most recently created legal dramedy Harry’s Law, which ran on NBC for two seasons, and medical drama Monday Mornings, which premieres on TNT next year.
Williams, Oscar winner for Good Will Hunting, …
Williams will play President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Lee Daniels’ film based on the life of Eugene Allen, a long-time White House servant who worked for eight First Families over three decades. He joins an ensemble cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Vanessa Redgrave, Terrence Howard, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda and Colman Domingo. Danny Strong wrote the script with Daniels based on Wil Haygood’s Washington Post article about Allen. The Butler will be produced by Daniels with Hilary Shor, Cassian Elwes and Pam Williams for Laura Ziskin Productions. The film is scheduled to begin shooting later this month in New Orleans.
Williams also will star in the comedy, The Angriest Man In Brooklyn, opposite Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage, Melissa Leo and James Earl Jones. The film is the story of a stand-in doctor who mistakenly tells an obnoxious patient he has 90 minutes to live. The medic tries desperately to locate the man after her comments send him on a contrite tour of the city to right all the wrongs in his life. Phil Alden Robinson will direct from a screenplay by Daniel Taplitz. Landscape’s Bob Cooper and Tyler Mitchell are producing with Daniel J Walker. Jean-Charles Levy serves as executive producer. Production is set to kick off in September in Brooklyn, New York. Williams is represented by WME and MBST Entertainment.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Amy Brenneman and Jess Weixler have joined Annette Bening, Ed Harris and Robin Williams in the Arie Posin-directed romantic drama Look Of Love. Posin wrote the script with Matthew McDuffie. Mockingbird Pictures’ Julie Lynn and Bonnie Curtis are producers. The film begins shooting April 9 in Los Angeles.
Curtis and Lynn found most of the funding in Dallas. That is where they sourced funds for the Glenn Close-starrer Albert Nobbs, which got three Oscar nominations. In Look Of Love, a widow (Bening) meets a man (Harris) who is a dead ringer for her deceased husband. A flood of old feelings return as she realizes she’s met the love of her life, again. Weixler will play Bening’s daughter in the picture. CAA and WME are co-repping North American distribution and Exclusive Media will sell foreign at Cannes.
The second annual Comedy Awards are set for April 28 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Comedy Central will air the ceremony May 6. Here’s the release:
NEW YORK, March 21, 2012 – “The Comedy Awards,” the annual event dedicated to honoring and celebrating the world of comedy, announced today that Robin Williams will be honored as the recipient of the prestigious “Stand-Up Icon” award. This honor is bestowed each year to a modern icon, an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to stand-up comedy and whose impact and innovations have changed the landscape and inspired future generations of entertainers. Williams will be honored for the unparalleled scope of his imagination, his repertoire of indelible characters, and his outstanding work as a stand-up comedian. Eddie Murphy was the inaugural recipient and he was presented with the honor by Tracy Morgan during last year’s show.
Robin Williams, Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren and Jason Isaacs will be among the presenters at BAFTA LA’s 2011 Britannia Awards, set for November 30 at the Beverly Hilton. Alan Cumming is hosting the ceremony, which will air December 4 on TV Guide Network. The already announced 2011 honorees are Warren Beatty (Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film), Helena Bonham Carter (Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year), John Lasseter (Cubby Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment), Ben Stiller (Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy), and David Yates (John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing).
EXCLUSIVE: There is nothing that infuriates Hollywood agencies more than when they feel they haven’t had warning that a client is about to leave. Which is why CAA’s Bryan Lourd et al asked for a “save” meeting for this morning with Robin Williams. (And CAA is expert at keeping clients with these “save” meetings, I should add.) However, people in the Academy Award-winning actor’s camp tell me that he did give them sufficient warning and therefore turned down CAA’s request. So it’s now official: WME’s Adam Venit and Marc Geiger have signed Williams in all areas. And Lourd is livid. This is not the first time that Williams has left CAA under unpleasant circumstances. He was the first CAA client to leave the agency and join Michael Ovitz’s ill-fated management company. That sparked a war between Ovitz and the partners of the agency he co-founded like Lourd. After Ovitz’s AMG failed, CAA accepted Williams back into the fold.
Williams, who besides his Supporting Actor Oscar for Good Will Hunting also has 2 Emmys and 5 Grammys, will next be heard in Happy Feet 2 and seen in The Big Wedding opposite Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton. Last spring, Williams received great reviews for his Broadway debut in Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo. But for an agency like WME, Williams’ continuing career as a stand-up comedian is what’s …
Lionsgate has acquired U.S. and UK rights to the ensemble comedy The Big Wedding, and has set an Oct. 19, 2012 release for the Nu Image/Millennium Films pic that stars Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton as a long-divorced couple that fakes marriage when the family is reunited for a big wedding. Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Robin Williams, Ben Barnes and Topher Grace are in the film, which is shooting in Connecticut. The Bucket List scribe Justin Zackham is directing.
EXCLUSIVE: Evolution Entertainment partners Mark Burg and Oren Koules are splitting after 12 years. Burg has purchased the 50% of the management/production company owned by Koules. Burg has reconstituted the company and named former CAA agent-turned-producer Michael Menchel its new president.
This brings to an end a partnership that achieved the dream of every boutique management/production company. When these guys got through Evolution’s Gregg Hoffman the script for Saw from Leigh Whannell and James Wan, they put themselves at risk personally to come up with the money to buy it and to cover the $1.2 million budget themselves. They made a licensing deal with Lionsgate but were left owning a film that grossed $103 million worldwide. They continued in that fashion on six sequels, most of which were low budget, with the last costing around $20 million. The cumulative worldwide gross of the series reached $870 million, and Burg and Koules made a fortune. Some of it they parlayed into other fright films under their Twisted Pictures banner, with many of the films directed and populated by clients of the management company. Their client stable includes Charlie Sheen.
Warner Bros has bought a pitch that will be developed to re-team The Proposal star Sandra Bullock and director Anne Fletcher. The script will be written by Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis. The studio recently signed Bullock to team with Robert Downey Jr. in the Alfonso Cuaron-directed film Gravity…Robin Williams is in discussions to play the title role of a talking tiger in the Broadway transplant of Rajiv Joseph’s play Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo.