While they’ll always be known for hatching comedies like “There’s Something About Mary” and “Dumb and Dumber” as writer/directors, Peter and Bobby Farrelly are fast becoming formidable producers on pics that share their outrageous sensibilities.
The Farrellys and producing partner Bradley Thomas formed their Conundrum Entertainment banner 18 months ago at Fox. The trio will produce “No More Mister Nice Guy,” a Fox comedy that will star Rob Schneider — who had a sleeper hit with “Deuce Bigalow” for Buena Vista — as the world’s nicest guy, who gets matched with a lawyer uncle who might be the world’s sleaziest. Schneider and Alex Herschlag will write it.
Conundrum also has made a deal to supervise production of the Warner Bros.-based live action-animation mix “Osmosis Jones,” and the Farrellys will direct the live-action portion of the comedy in scenes that will star Bill Murray (Daily Variety, Jan. 12). In a script by Marc Hyman, Murray plays Frank, a construction worker/slob who drops a meatball on the floor and tosses it down his throat. From there, animation kicks in as the virus-infected nugget heads down Frank’s throat and into his system, where it will wreak havoc unless a white blood cell (voiced by Chris Rock) and a cold tablet (“Frasier” star David Hyde Pierce, can thwart the disease. Conundrum will produce with Zak Penn.
The production co. is moving quickly toward production on six pics aside from their latest directing effort, “Me, Myself and Irene,” the Jim Carrey-Renee Zellweger comedy which Fox opens June 23.
“Sonny Bright,” a Doug Liman-directed pic scripted by Wayne Rice and Gina Goldman is about a guy in a low-level job whose airplane seatmate tells him he’s just out of prison and headed for a liason with a woman who knows him only as a lusty pen pal. When the con croaks abruptly, the guy dutifully seeks out the girl with the intention of telling her the bad news — only to be immediately molested by the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, who thinks he’s the con. Only later does he realize she expects him to mastermind a crime.
The Farrellys and Thomas have also become producers of “The Six Billion Dollar Man,” a takeoff on the TV series “Six Million Dollar Man,” which has been adjusted for inflation and reconfigured as a flat-out comedy. They have joined producer Larry Gordon, who developed it as a drama, and secured the services of “Shanghai Noon” scribes Miles Millar and Al Gough. Dropping the sober premise of the TV series, the pic now features a title character trying to master the man-made gifts of his body, while battling a rival who cost $1 billion more than he did to reconstruct.
Conundrum is just starting production on “Say It Isn’t So,” a comedy marking the directing debut of J.B. Rodgers (first A.D. on such comedies as “There’s Something About Mary” and “American Pie”). Chris Klein, Heather Graham, Sally Field and Orlando Jones will topline a Peter Gaulke-Jerry Swallow-scripted pic about a guy (Klein) who finds the perfect lover (Graham) — until he learns she might be his biological sister.
While they have committed to next direct “Shallow Hal” at Fox with Gwyneth Paltrow, the Farrellys are also holding onto “Stuck on You,” their script about Siamese twin brothers that once looked to pair Jim Carrey with Woody Allen. They also continue to shepherd “Curse of the Bambino,” a pic about a kid who must end the futility of the Boston Red Sox’s inability to win the World Series before his father dies. The pic recently has Matthew Perry and Jack Lemmon buzzing around as possible participants. The Farrellys are repped by CAA.
“COLOR” COMES IN FOCUS: The fixation on all things regarding the Rat Pack continues. With the Dean Martin biopic “Dino” in development at Warner Bros. for Tom Hanks and Martin Scorsese — and a remake of “Ocean’s Eleven” on tap for Steven Soderbergh with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts — a pic about Sammy Davis Jr. and his controversial interracial love affair with screen goddess Kim Novak is taking shape. “Color of Love,” a pic based on a Vanity Fair article by Sam Kashner, has come together quickly.
Pic will be directed by Earle Sebastian, a South African who has directed videos for the likes of Madonna, and U2’s Bono. The pic, being scripted by Kashner and Helen Knode, will be produced by Leigh Blake and Joni Sighvatsson of Palomar Pictures. They’re about to begin casting the Davis and Novak roles.
LOOSE TALK: The long-aborning pic about the love affair between Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera finally might be crystallizing. The Miramax pic is slated to star Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina as the artists. And while “Central Station” helmer Walter Salles has departed, Dish hears that Pedro Almodovar has become interested in the story. Coming off the Oscar-winning foreign pic “All About My Mother,” Almodovar got wind of the project during the rounds of recent Oscar parties, and is now reading the script. If he commits, filming likely won’t start until spring, after Molina, who stars in Miramax’s “Chocolat,” gets time off from his CBS sitcom “Ladies Man.” Miramax declined comment. … British authors continue to be hot in Hollywood. A 16-page proposal shopped by A. P. Watt’s Sam North had several studios mobilizing screen bids. The novel is Cindy Blake’s “The Last Available Man,” the story of female proprietors of a headhunting agency who try to apply business strategy to romance. Working Title and Miramax are moving aggressively. … Brad Silberling has passed on the remake of “Time Machine” at DreamWorks. … Ruth-Ann Huvane, the wife of CAA agent Kevin Huvane and a former CAA agent herself before she became senior veep of talent for Columbia/TriStar TV, has gone the journo route, being named West Coast Entertainment editor for Glamour. … Charlie Kaufman, who used an Oscar-nominated actor as a character in his last film, is focusing on another Oscar nominee as a central character in his new film: himself. Kaufman, who was nominated for his “Being John Malkovich,” is creating strong buzz for “Adaptation,” an adaptation of the Susan Orlean book “The Orchid Thief” at Columbia, which he wrote with his brother Donald Kaufman (another central character in the pic). While the raves for “Malkovich” and the Oscar nom might have subsequently changed his self-assessment, Kaufman is not at all sparing when writing about himself in the script. Sample dialogue: “I am old. I am fat. I am bald. My toenails have turned strange. I am repulsive. How repulsive? I don’t know, for I suffer from a condition called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I am fat, but am I as fat as I think? My therapist says no, but people lie. I believe all others call me Fatty behind my back. Or Fatso. Or, facetiously, Slim. But I also believe this is simply my own perverted form of self-aggrandizement, that no one really talks about me at all. Why would they? What possible interest is an old, bald, fat man to anyone? I am repulsive. I have never lived. I blame myself.” While Charlie seems in desperate need of a hug — and is, to most observers, on the skinny side with a full head of hair — his quirky script, to be directed by “Malkovich” helmer Spike Jonze, is very much on the fast track. A rewrite is under way to fashion it as a possible vehicle for Tom Hanks, who, after starving himself to supermodel thinness for “Cast Away,” is definitely not fat.
PILOT DUTY: Tim Matheson will star in “Breaking News,” a pilot produced by New Line Television and Trilogy Entertainment for TNT. If the show gets picked up, Matheson will get to direct episodes. The “Animal House” star has been recurring as vice president in the NBC hit series “The West Wing,” and recently starred in and directed Showtime’s “In the Company of Spies” and the UPN telepic “Hell Swarm.” He’s repped by CAA and managed by Envision Entertainment’s Beth Cannon … John C. McGinley has joined the ensemble of the WB pilot “The Learning Curve,” to be directed by Brian Robbins. McGinley takes the possible series after toplining the Fox mini “Intensity” and upcoming “Sole Survivor,” both based on Dean Koontz novels. He’ll also be seen in the Sly Stallone-starrer “Get Carter” for Warner Bros. and “A Leonard Cohen Afterworld” for New Line. He’s repped by WMA and attorney Kevin Morris.