NEW YORK — After a long run at Disney with “Home Improvement,” Tim Allen is getting serious about shaping his movie future.
Allen had a production company, Boxing Cat Prods., and a first-look deal at Disney. Now, he’s reconceived the company by bringing in veteran producer Brian Reilly as a partner, with a mandate to hatch some starring vehicles for the Mouse. In their first effort, they purchased “Smile,” a pitch for a comedy in which Allen hopes to star.
Allen got the production deal during a Disney run which saw him topline the studio’s most profitable sitcom, write two bestselling books for Disney’s Hyperion label, and star in hit Disney features “The Santa Clause,” “Jungle2Jungle” and “Toy Story.” Allen’s voice will once again be heard in “Toy Story 2” and he toplines the DreamWorks comedy “Galaxy Quest.”
Allen’s next quest will be to control his own destiny as a feature star, according to Reilly, who developed a relationship with the actor by producing “Jungle2Jungle” and “The Santa Clause.”
“After the series finished last spring, Tim felt it was time to focus on the features, and we had talked for a long time how best to do it,” said Reilly. “Tim knows that you either take some control, or somebody else does. He has great ideas, and in the meetings we’ve had, he has exhibited tremendous creative ability. We know it’s no secret that it’s all about material, and we’re looking for material we can fall in love with.”
The first consummation of that material infatuation came with “Smile,” a comedy which casts Allen as an out-of-work comedian hired by a wealthy father to make his teen son laugh. The kid’s traumatized by the death of his mother, so it’s no easy task. Touchstone toppers Nina Jacobson and Todd Garner made a preemptive high-six-figure deal for the pitch by Mick Davis, a scribe who just directed the Propaganda feature “The Match.”
Aside from his past collaborations with Allen, Reilly shared producing credits with Outlaw Prods. on “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead,” and “Don Juan DeMarco.” Allen’s repped by Jim Wiatt at William Morris.