Posted on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 by Angie Han
A decade after they played misfit buddies in School of Rock, Jack Black and Mike White are preparing to play longtime pals again in The D-Train. Instead of guiding cute kids to promising futures, however, they’ll be trying to track down a washed-up actor played by James Marsden. Hit the jump for more details on the new project.
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Briefly: Seemed like a weird move when Mike White was hired to direct the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Well, the film is going back to square one after Mr. White, aka the second director on the project, has dropped out. He tells Deadline that scheduling was to blame, “I loved the project and looked forward to working with Lionsgate. Unfortunately, the timing could not be worked out. I wish them the best with the movie.”
Make of that what you will, but the situation is back to basics — a director is needed. Reportedly the film remains a big priority for LionsGate, which is going out to new talent now. I expect we’ll be able to report a new hire within weeks. Until this point the film was going to be based on the script written by David O. Russell, despite the fact that he left as director. We assume that will continue to be the case, but will clarify as new info comes in.
The man behind Chuck and Buck is set to dress well and suck…brains, that it is. Mike White, the writer of School of Rock, Nacho Libre and the aforementioned Chuck and Buck is now officially set to direct his sophomore feature film – an adaptation of the novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austin and Seth Grahame-Smith, which tells the classic Austin love story but fills in gaps with zombie comedy and horror. Think white ruffles and hair bonnets covered with blood and guts.
White, whose only feature film directorial experience before this was the Molly Shannon comedy Year of the Dog, was first on a short list to direct the film and then highlighted as a front runner because of his unique ability to fuse tones and genres. He’s currently working on the HBO show Enlightened with Laura Dern. David O. Russell was long set to direct the film before leaving the project. In his time, he brought Natalie Portman on as a star, who then left but stayed on as a producer. Read more after the jump. Read More »
I evidently need to read the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies script (anyone got it?) because while the idea of inserting zombies in Jane Austen‘s classic story sounds amusing enough to power a bit of sketch comedy, I’m having difficulty coming to terms with it as something that people are jockeying to direct.
The latest contender for the director’s chair, recently abdicated David O. Russell, is School of Rock writer Mike White. Read More »
Yesterday it was reported that Neil Marshall, Mike Newell and David Slade are on the short list of filmmakers being considered to direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper circling the lead roles. The Wrap now adds a couple more interesting names to the list:
Jonathan Demme has read the script and wants to direct the movie, but he’s not the only one interested in the job, as TheWrap has learned that Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield”), Mike White (“Year of the Dog”) and the “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller are also in the mix.
I can understand Demme’s interest, but Matt Reeves seems like a more natural fit coming off of Let Me In. Mike White’s humor seems like an odd match for this property, and his directorial debut Year of the Dog left me thinking he should stick to screenwriting. I have yet to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, despite constant encouragement to do so from friends. I’ve heard it’s hilarious. I really liked Lord/Miller’s animated television series Clone High U.S.A., but does their cartoon-like sensibility fit this period zombie film (even if it is a ridiculous comic take?).
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Ruben Fleischer got his start in commercials and music videos, but his feature film debut Zombieland made Hollywood pay attention to the filmmaker. Columbia Pictures is trying to keep him in the fold, announcing today that Fleischer will develop and direct Babe in the Woods, a screenplay written by Mike White. The story is described as an “action comedy” about an innocent young college freshman from the Midwest who arrives at Yale and becomes a target of the New Jersey mafia.
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Paramount Pictures has hired School of Rock screenwriter Mike White to script Santa Wars, a comedy based on the true story which appeared on This American Life in December 2008. The story, written by Joshuah Bearman, told of two rival factions that developed within a union of professional Santa Clauses, which resulted in a “Santa Claus civil war.”
White is best when put in the dark comedy arena, and this might be a perfect fit. This story is definitely more akin to Bad Santa than Elf. White’s previous credits include Dead Man on Campus, Chuck & Buck, Freaks and Geeks, and The Good Girl. More recently, he’s had a turn in more family-friendly territory with School of Rock and Nacho Libre, before making his directorial debut Year of the Dog.
After the jump you can find more information about the original story that has inspired this feature film, and even listen to that original segment.
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While journalist and documentarian Jon Ronson is currently undergoing a metamorphosis into a screenwriter, the first film to bear his name is not from one of his own scripts but has been fictionalized, and rather heavily so, from his non-fiction book The Men Who Stare at Goats by Newcastle scribe Peter Straughan. What Ronson set down on paper as a darkly comic and increasingly scary investigation into the American military’s more fanciful, or eventually insane, experimentation and research has become an oddball comedy with a tinge of the surreal. Many of Ronson’s ideas run between the lines of Straughan’s invented plot, though I don’t think I personally could have found the film to feel any more different to Ronson’s book or in-parallel TV documentary.
It’s a win-win, though, as far as the book is concerned because those who love the film (and as you’ll find out after the break, that’s an awful lot of people) are bound to find the extra information every bit as engrossing and possibly even more surprising, while those who find some of the film’s seemingly contradictory attitudes towards the paranormal and supernatural or it’s unexpectedly upbeat tone to be off putting will find the book more satisfyingly shaded. I do think, though, that adding sweetness for palatability seems like a curious misstep when you already know your recipe appeals to those with a taste for the bitter.
I’m a very big fan of Ronson’s writing and TV work, so I took great pleasure in interviewing him about Goats. We spoke for over an hour in total but almost immediately, I think, he sensed my disappointment in the film. Neither his enthusiasm or candor were curbed by this and, anyway, as Ronson told me I’m definitely in the minority and the film has been going down superemely well so far.
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