In a deal not far from seven figures, Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios has signed Darryl Quarles to script an untitled hockey comedy as a vehicle for Oscar-winning “Jerry Maguire” star Cuba Gooding Jr.
Revolution exec Todd Garner hatched the concept for the pic, sparked Gooding to it and pitched the idea to Quarles. That makes the film unusual in that Quarles, who came up with the idea for the Martin Lawrence hit laffer “Big Momma’s House,” usually creates his own comedy concepts.
“It’s a buddy comedy set around the world of hockey,” said Quarles. Gooding will play a gridiron great whose propensity for dirty play results in his being fined and traded — to a team in the National Hockey League, where for the most part, the only black participant is the puck. The transplanted player can’t even skate, but even tougher is acclimating to the new league and buddying up with the white-hot and white-as-bread Gretzkyesque scoring star the gridironer is charged with protecting from opposing thugs.
“What attracted me to it was that it’s sophisticated comedy, and I really want to do movies that a black writer does not conventionally do,” said Quarles. “And it’s a chance to work with Cuba, who I have the greatest respect for.”
The role won’t be too much of a stretch for Gooding, who plays ice hockey in a recreational league, has the football background from “Maguire” and the fisticuffs experience from the 1992 pic “Gladiator.” He’ll also have the benefit of tutoring from bona fide NHL tough guy Marty McSorley, who’ll consult on the film.
Quarles parlays success
After “Big Momma’s House,” Quarles has found himself in high demand as a reliable writer of high concept pics for African American talent, which explains his escalating price. With Chris Tucker, Quarles wrote “Guess Who’s President?”; he recently sold “Stray Dawgz” to New Line as a vehicle for Ice Cube; and Warner Bros. brought him in to script “The Bomb,” an African American redo of the Dudley Moore/Bo Derek comedy “10.”
Quarles is repped by UTA and managed by the Firm’s Aaron Ray, while Gooding is repped by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment.