After nearly a decade of writing scripts that never saw the light of day, Michael Bacall hit back-to-back home runs last spring. His “21 Jump Street” script reinvented the dated ’80s undercover-cop skein as a raunchy comedy, earning $202 million worldwide.
“And two weeks before that release, ‘Project X’ came out and also did great,” he says of the Todd Phillips-produced found-footage project, about a group of high-schoolers’ epic house party. Made for roughly $12 million, the stunt went on to earn more than $100 million, making the former child actor (Bacall had been in “Free Willy”) one of Hollywood’s most sought-after comedy scribes.
Bacall has already finished a “Tropic Thunder” spinoff centered on Tom Cruise’s Les Grossman character. “We’re just waiting on Tom’s schedule,” he says. In addition to writing a “Jump” sequel, Bacall is working on a book adaptation, “The New Cool,” for producer Scott Rudin and Miramax. “It’s a comedy about a high school robotics team and has a bit of ‘The Bad News Bears” DNA in it,” he says.
Bacall also adapted Richard Aleas’ “Little Girl Lost,” which he calls “a really dark, neo-noir detective story,” for producer Marc Platt and Universal. “So not everything’s a comedy,” he says. “In fact, I’m also developing a project I want to direct that’s definitely not comedy.”