Helmer ends hiatus with bigscreen adaptation

After an eight-year hiatus, helmer Whit Stillman is making a return to movie directing with a bigscreen adaptation of the Christopher Buckley novel “Little Green Men,” to be produced by Ed Pressman and U.K.-based Golconda Films.

Pic is a Washington, D.C., insider comedy about a political talkshow host who’s plucked off a golf course by aliens after a particularly probing presidential interview concerning America’s space program.

Pic is currently out to at least one comic actor as a possible lead, and casting on the other starring roles is under way.

Stillman said that the production’s start date depends on casting, but that the “Green” team is ready to go later in the year if cast gels.

“Whenever Mr. Comedy Star wants to do it, that’s when we will,” said the helmer. “If he wants, we can do it in his backyard, and there’s even a part for his girlfriend.”

Stillman news comes soon after Criterion’s DVD release of his 1990 critical darling “Metropolitan,” which is also currently being re-released theatrically in the U.K. by Metrodome.

“Green Men” marks the first directing project Stillman has not penned himself.

Helmer recently wrote an “alibi” entitled “Confessions of a Serial Drifter” in the Brit broadsheet the Guardian, outlining why he’s been away from the film biz, and how his last planned project announced at Cannes, “Red Azalea,” ultimately fell apart in 2002.

Stillman said he doesn’t see “Green Men” as a one-off: He’ll now aim to alternate between pics he doesn’t pen and ones he does.

“I see this film as a departure,” explained the helmer, whose credits also include “Barcelona” and “The Last Days of Disco.” “It’s the kind of comedy that I would want to do, and a script that I saw as really well-done.”

Stillman told Variety that the project came together when he sat next to Pressman at a Gotham screening celebrating “Metropolitan’s” DVD rollout, and Pressman pitched him on the project.

Stillman has been plotting a move back to the States after years of living abroad, a shift that would bring him closer to the industry.

“Green Men” was penned by Sean Bates and Gregory Mackenzie, who co-heads Golconda with Brett Walsh.

Pressman, Walsh and Mackenzie are producing, with Alessandro Camon and Charles Finch exec producing.

Whitman’s announcement in Cannes also marks a sort of homecoming: The filmmaker worked for years as a foreign sales agent for Spanish producers.

Golconda is currently in pre-production on its first pic, “Camille,” starring Sienna Miller and James Franco.

Pressman’s Edward R. Pressman Film Corp.’s slate includes “The Mutant Chronicles,” starring Thomas Jane, John Malkovich, Ron Perlman, Benno Furmann and Stephen Rea. Pic added Devon Aoki to its cast during Cannes.

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