Paramount Pictures’ “Hot Rod” is ready to hit the track.
Pic has been in development at the studio since 1999, but found renewed life and a tentative July start date thanks to a new package with the comedy team Lonely Island: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer.
Samberg will star in “Hot Rod,” with Taccone taking a supporting part and Schaffer making his directorial debut on the project.
Lorne Michaels and John Goldwyn are producing through their recently merged Par-based company, Michaels Goldwyn. Shingle’s Jill Messick is executive producing.
Penned by Pam Brady, “Hot Rod” is about an accident-prone daredevil who plans to jump Snake River on a moped in an effort to emulate his hero Evel Knievel and win over his hard-to-please stepfather.
Lonely Island works closely with Michaels on “Saturday Night Live.” Samberg and Taccone are in the cast and Schaffer is a writer. They collaborate on sketches and caught a lot of attention for their “SNL” digital short “Lazy Sunday.” Samberg starred in it, Schaffer directed and Taccone was music director. Their other notable short was a spoof titled “Chronic of Narnia.”
“Hot Rod” originally had another “SNL” name attached, Will Ferrell, when the actor was getting hot for his work on the NBC sketch comedy show. Michaels brought the project to Paramount when Goldwyn was an executive at the studio, but Ferrell eventually fell out due to scheduling difficulties.
Samberg, Taccone and Schaffer have been friends since childhood; their Web site, http://www.thelonelyisland.com, features short films, comedic episodes and music. Schaffer has directed all “SNL’s” digital shorts, a new addition to the show this season.
Goldwyn also is at work developing “Prep,” an adaptation of the bestselling novel by Curtis Sittenfeld. Noah Baumbach is on board to direct for Par after he finishes his follow-up to “The Squid and the Whale.” That pic, titled “Sisters,” will star Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jack Black for Paramount Classics.