Double ‘Daughter’ derby

Competing president's kid pics race to hit the bigscreen

Who will have the first “First Daughter”?

Forest Whitaker has signed on to direct the romantic comedy “First Daughter” for Regency Enterprises.

Simultaneously, Alcon Entertainment is in pre-production on its own “First Daughter,” a romantic comedy to star Mandy Moore that will serve as TV helmer Andy Cadiff’s feature directing bow.

Regency’s project is slated to begin production in mid-May. Meanwhile, Alcon will begin production May 17 in London and distrib Warner Bros. plans to release the pic in January 2004.

At Regency, “First Daughter” is the tale of the college-age daughter of the U.S. president who insists on going to college without a retinue of Secret Service agents. The president agrees, but slips a downy-faced agent into the school to watch her. They fall in love — until she figures out his identity.

In Alcon’s “First Daughter,” the U.S. president’s 18-year-old daughter gives the Secret Service the slip to go on a romantic European road trip unsupervised by the earpiece set.

Competing projects aren’t unusual in Hollywood — witness the recent race to bring “Frida” to the screen, or the bakeoffs between “Deep Impact” and “Meteor” or “Red Planet” and “Mission to Mars.” However, it’s unusual to see two competing projects move into production in nearly perfect lockstep.

Arrival of the CAA-repped Whitaker kicks into high gear a project acquired in March 1999 from actor-turned-scribe Jerry O’Connell (“Jerry Maguire”). It was rewritten by “Bring It On” scribe Jessica Bendinger, who also recently penned Jonathan Demme’s “The Truth About Charlie.”

O’Connell was to have initially played the secret agent, but now will exec produce. Casting is under way and should be complete in the next two weeks, a Regency spokesman said.

Regency’s “First Daughter” is produced by Fox-based Davis Entertainment prexy Wyck Godfrey. Production is fully financed by Regency and will be overseen by Regency’s senior VP Kara Francis and production prexy Sanford Panitch.

Meanwhile, Alcon execs have spent the last two months prepping “First Daughter,” penned by scribes Derek Guiley and David Schneiderman and rewritten by Randi Singer (“Mrs. Doubtfire”). Alcon announced its acquisition of the spec script in late 2000 (Daily Variety, Nov. 17, 2000).

The Alcon film will be produced by David Parfitt (“Shakespeare in Love”), Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson and co-produced by Alcon VP production Kira Davis and VP development Steven Wegner. Wayne Rice (“Dude, Where’s My Car?”) is executive producer.

Moore is repped by WMA.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • David Lindelof Watchmen Premiere

    'Watchmen' Creator Damon Lindelof Weighs in on Martin Scorsese's Marvel Criticisms

    Damon Lindelof disagrees with Martin Scorsese about his recent claims that Marvel movies don’t qualify as cinema. The director’s proclamation, along with the polarized critical reception of “Joker,” are the latest salvos in a long history of questioning comic book movies’ place in cinematic history. The lingering question: Can superhero fare be considered “high art?” [...]

  • Anne Hathaway Modern Love

    Anne Hathaway Talks Mental Health Awareness, Playing a Bipolar Woman on Amazon's 'Modern Love'

    In Amazon Prime’s upcoming “Modern Love,” Anne Hathaway sheds light on an important facet of living with mental health issues, playing a bipolar woman who struggles with dating. “We’re all becoming more sensitive, wiser and more cognizant of gentility, and especially emotional gentility. I think those conversations are starting to happen. And I think the desire [...]

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Charlize Theron speaks at the GEANCO

    Charlize Theron Talks 'White Privilege,' Growing Up During Apartheid in South Africa

    Charlize Theron, during an onstage discussion with her “Gringo” costar David Oyelowo about philanthropy at Thursday’s annual fundraiser for Nigerian children’s educational and health program GEANCO, said she was a beneficiary of “white privilege” while growing up in Apartheid-torn South Africa. “I obviously am a white person who benefited from my white privilege,” Theron said [...]

  • Lyliana Wray, Sam Ashe Arnold, Miya

    ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark’ Revival Team on Living Up to the Series’ Legacy

    The 2019 revival of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” centers around the Carnival of Doom, a place that star Jeremy Ray Taylor (“It Chapter Two”) describes as “beautiful on the outside, but…in the middle of it, there are definitely dark secrets. Variety caught up with the young star during a carnival-themed celebration at Row DTLA [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content