Thesps join Billy Crystal in Fox's family comedy
“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” star Bailee Madison and Bette Midler are set to join Billy Crystal in the family comedy “Us & Them,” which will be a co-production between 20th Century Fox and Walden Media.Andy Fickman (“You Again”) is directing from a script by Crystal’s “City Slickers” scribes Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse wrote the original draft, while Crystal and Samantha Sprecher came up with the story. Crystal stars as Artie Decker, a Fresno AAA baseball broadcaster who, along with his wife Diane (Midler), is forced to move in and look after his three grandchildren, one of whom will be played by Madison. Pic will explore ‘old school’ vs. ‘new school’ parenting as the grandparents struggle to cope with the kids’ modern ways. Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark will produce the film for Chernin Entertainent, while Crystal will also produ ce. Production is skedded to start later this month in Atlanta. Madison is among the industry’s leading young thesps, having recently starred in Jim Sheridan’s “Brothers” and the Adam Sandler comedy “Just Go With It.” She won the coveted lead role in “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” after her “Brothers” co-star Natalie Portman recommended her to producer Guillermo del Toro. Madison is also being honored by Variety’s Power of Youth for her work with the childhood cancer charity Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Midler, who last appearen on the big screen in 2008’s “The Women,” recently voiced the title character in the animated sequel “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.” Madison is repped by Coast to Coast Talent Group, while CAA reps Midler.