Sonnenfeld helming for Touchstone
Stephen Schiff, hot off the opening of “Lolita” last week, has inked to pen the saucy biopic “Chippendales” for Barry Sonnenfeld to direct at Touchstone Pictures.Pic, based on Rodney Sheldon’s nonfiction manuscript, will follow the rise and fall of Chippendales founder Steve Banerjee, who emigrated from India to L.A., where he created a lucrative male strip club chain. Schiff said he was at first hesitant of the strip sensibility of the material as a knockoff of “The Full Monty.” “But when I looked at the material, I said ‘Oh my god, this is a fantastic movie. What it really is is an inky black comedy about the underside,” he added. Sonnenfeld and Barry Josephson, who have a deal at Disney, are producing. David Permut and Prelude Pictures are also attached to produce. Sonnenfeld has been with the pic since March, when he and Josephson made an outright purchase of the unpublished Sheldon book. He said at the time he was interested in making the pic as a black comedy in the spirit of “Get Shorty.” Schiff was a former magazine writer for Vanity Fair, but segued into screenwriting with “Lolita” three years ago. Since then, he has scripted the upcoming “Deep End of the Ocean” and Clint Eastwood’s “True Crime.”
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