Harry's All Night Hamburgers

Do you like adventurous sci-fi movies tinged with romance and adventure? If yes, you should put Harry’s All Night Hamburgers on your radar. Theodore “Ted” Melfi, the filmmaker behind Hidden Figures and St. Vincent, is in final discussions to direct the Black List-approved screenplay, and this sounds like it could be your next favorite movie.

Steve Desmond and Michael Anthony Sherman‘s script made it onto last year’s Black List, an annual compilation of the industry’s favorite screenplays that didn’t make it into production that year. Here’s how The Black List described the plot:

A down-on-his-luck high school senior discovers that the old roadside diner outside of town is secretly a hangout for parallel universe travelers. He sets off on a mind-bending adventure across the multiverse that takes him beyond his wildest dreams.

This movie is based on Lawrence Watt-Evans‘ 1987 Hugo Award-winning short story, and Deadline reports that Melfi will likely be the guy to bring it to the big screen. ScriptShadow has a more detailed breakdown/analysis of the script, which tells the story of a 17-year-old kid named Andy, who’s never taken any chances in his life – one time he could have kissed Piper, the girl he loves, but he wimped out and now she’s into another guy. When he takes a job at Harry’s All Night Hamburgers, a 50s-themed diner, he discovers that it’s a haven for multiverse travelers.

When Andy learns that each universe is completely different from our own (in some they breed dinosaurs, in others they’ve experienced the apocalypse) he gets the jumping bug. But Harry [his boss] warns him. There’s no way to get back to your original universe. Andy jumps anyway and lucks out. In his first alternate universe, he’s popular and dating Piper. But just as he’s about to have sex with her, the Andy from that universe arrives and our Andy is forced to flee. Hmm, this multi-verse thing is going to be tougher than he thought.

Andy starts jumping from universe to universe, only to encounter messy obstacles along the way. No matter what he does, he can’t seem to get Piper. And even worse, he doesn’t know if he wants to. The Piper he wants is back in his universe. But there’s no way to get back there. Or is there? Andy starts flipping through universes like satellite TV channels, hoping to get home by sheer will. But with each passing jump, he realizes he may have made a mistake he can never correct.

That sounds like it has the makings of a hugely satisfying crowd-pleaser. Melfi has proven adept at telling grounded stories about relatable human characters, so it’ll be fascinating to see how he handles the genre elements of this high-concept story and if he can bring his warm touch to this project. It certainly has lots of potential, so we’ll keep you posted with more as it moves through development.

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