EXCLUSIVE: New Regency has teamed with Gore Verbinski‘s Blind Wink banner on Pyongyang, a dark comedic film that Verbinski will direct and produce, based on the Guy Delisle graphic novel. Steve Conrad, who scripted The Pursuit Of Happyness and most recently the Ben Stiller-directed remake The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, is writing the screenplay. The film is about outsourcing run amok when a young animator sent to North Korea is accused of espionage. Verbinski’s next film, The Lone Ranger, opens through Disney in the summer and Blind Wink’s first project was the Oscar-winning Rango, which Verbinski directed. Both he and Conrad are repped by CAA.
BREAKING: Jason Bateman is attached to star with Bridesmaids‘ Melissa McCarthy in the Universal comedy ID Theft. Bateman is producing the comedy with Scott Stuber. Script’s by The Pursuit of Happyness scribe Steve Conrad with Craig Mazin rewriting. The premise was originally for a guy who gets his identity stolen by another guy, and it was written for Bateman and another actor. That changed after Bateman saw McCarthy’s scene stealing role in the summer hit Universal comedy Bridesmaids and he pushed for her to be the identity thief. This is meant to be McCarthy’s first film when Mike & Molly goes on hiatus, shooting in April 2012. Bateman has become an increasingly industrious producer, most recently setting up a movie deal for Under the Banner Of Heaven, the drama based on the Jon Krakauer non fiction book that got set up at Warner Bros, with Ron Howard directing and Dustin Lance Black writing. Bateman is producing the Brian Grazer, Shannon Costello and Stephanie Davis.
EXCLUSIVE: Ben Stiller is in talks with 20th Century Fox to play the title role in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty after the previous script was finally dumped and a new approach and screenwriter was put on the project. That produced a reboot that Stiller wants to make his next film. Stiller sparked to the new take by Steve Conrad, writer of the Will Smith hit The Pursuit of Happyness. Now that Stiller is coming aboard, Fox will move quickly to lock in a cinematic director who can mix action with a PG rating, and get the picture ready for a late fall start. Stiller is repped by WME.
Mitty is still based on the 1947 Danny Kaye film from the James Thurber short story first published in The New Yorker in 1939. The story of a perpetual daydreamer had been in development so long that it seemed like it might never be more than a daydream. Everyone from Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen flirted with that previous script, and directors who have circled include Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Gore Verbinski. Mitty‘s problems stemmed from that script which was never quite right. But then Conrad started fresh and Stiller felt he knocked it out of the park. Stiller, who has starred in the lucrative Night at the Museum and Meet the Parents franchises, might have another big one on his hands. His Red Hour Films banner is based at Fox. Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and John Goldwyn have been shepherding the project as producers for years.