Macdonald set for MGM pic

'Dirty Work' skedded for May 15 release

NEW YORK — While Norm Macdonald’s news anchor career on “Saturday Night Live” may be over, but his film career with MGM is just hitting its stride.

With the studio gearing up for a May 15 release of Macdonald’s first starring vehicle, “Dirty Work,” MGM president Michael Nathanson has sealed a deal with the Robert Simonds Co. and Brillstein-Grey Entertainment to buy worldwide distribution rights to “Ballbusted,” the comedy that will be Macdonald’s next film.

“Ballbusted” was scripted by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who also will make their directorial debut on the film. Alexander and Karaszewski began their current writing run with the Tim Burton-directed “Ed Wood,” then won the Golden Globe for “The People Vs. Larry Flynt,” which featured Macdonald in a small role. Their Andy Kaufman biopic script at Jersey Films and Universal, “Man on the Moon,” just landed Jim Carrey to topline with Danny DeVito for director Milos Forman.

In “Ballbusted,” Macdonald plays a disgruntled chauffeur who decides to kidnap his rich employer’s dog. This follows “Dirty Work,” where Macdonald plays an entrepreneur who opens a business helping people get revenge. That film was produced by Simonds, who will produce “Ballbusted” with Brad Grey and Ray Reo exec producing. Greg Foster is the MGM exec on the film, as he was with “Dirty Work.”

‘A put-upon everyman’

“The script is a tour de force of plot mechanics,” said Simonds, who’s coming off the New Line hit “The Wedding Singer,” which starred Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. “On the surface, Norm is a put-upon everyman, a butler for a wealthy woman. It has the element of snob vs. slob, us vs. them, but everything he does to screw her over puts him more in the hole.”

The “Ballbusted” deal was structured as a negative pickup primarily because MGM is signatory to the Directors Guild, which generally prohibits double directors unless they are siblings like Bob and Peter Farrelly or Allen and Albert Hughes. The film will be financed by the Simonds Co., then acquired for distribution by MGM.

Alexander and Karaszewski have been eyeing a directing gig for some time, scripting a biopic of the Village People with plans to helm. Rights complications in that film delayed it and instead, the writers will take their first turn behind the camera with “Ballbusted.”

Endeavor repped Macdonald, the writer-directors and Simonds in the deal.

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