Scribe is ‘Sunday’ driver

Talbert to pen, helm 'First'

Screen Gems has set David E. Talbert to write and direct “First Sunday,” a caper story about two petty criminals who rob their local church. Firm Films will produce with Tim Story.

Talbert, who’ll be making his feature directorial debut, is a playwright and stage director with more than a dozen plays to his credit, including “The Fabric of a Man,” which was nominated for 13 NAACP Awards.

Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper, whose shingle just distributed the $4 million-budgeted “Gospel” and watched it gross $14 million, said he’d had his eye on Talbert and that he moved aggressively to distribute his first feature. Culpepper said he was also eager to make another film with Firm Films’ Julie Yorn and David McIlvain, who’ll both produce with Story.

Screen Gems most recently teamed with the Firm on “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.”

Yorn said Story was considered a strong choice to guide Talbert, partly because the aim is to achieve a tone comparable to that of the Story-directed “Barbershop.”

“It’s an original idea we hatched together, one that is steeped in the gospel and church themes that are prevalent in David’s plays,” Yorn said. “As these two hoods rob a church, the question becomes, why would a man rob God? The tone we’re aspiring for is a ‘Barbershop’ or ‘Soul Food,’ a gospel-flavored drama with comedy and heart.”

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