In today’s film news roundup, Will Ferrell’s sports comedy hires a director, Leonard Maltin launches a film festival and Spike Lee’s “Son of the South” fills out its cast.


“Fist Fight” director Richie Keen has signed direct a previously announced eSports comedy at Legendary Pictures that has Will Ferrell attached to star.

Keen has directed segments of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “The Goldbergs” and the Kathy Bates Netflix series “Disjointed.” He will direct from a script by Jordan Dunn and Michael Kvamme with Ferrell starring as a member of a professional eSports team, competing in a sport where players usually retire in their 20s due to slowing hand-eye coordination.

He most recently starred with John C. Reilly in “Holmes & Watson.” The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.


Film critic Leonard Maltin is launching a three-day Maltinfest on May 10-12 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

The showings include films and Q&As with Alexander Payne and Laura Dern, for 1996’s “Citizen Ruth”; Phil Rosenthal for 2010’s “Exporting Raymond”; Nicole Holofcener, for 2010’s “Please Give”; Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski with 2014’s “Big Eyes”; and Holly K. Payne, representing her late partner Jon Schnepp’s 2015 documentary “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?”

Every feature screened will be accompanied by a 35mm short subject or cartoon courtesy of UCLA Film and Television Archive, the Academy archive, Paramount, Universal or Warner Bros.


Laurissa “Lala” Romain and “Green Book” actor Jim Klock have joined the cast of Barry Alexander Brown’s civil rights-era drama “Son of the South,” Variety has learned exclusively.
Spike Lee is attached as an executive producer along with Brown. Romain will portray Brenda Travis, who was imprisoned for protesting a segregated bus station and in 1961 helped catalyze public sentiment against segregation. Klock will play an unsavory character attempting to silence activist Bob Zellner.
Brown wrote the script based on Zellner’s autobiography “The Wrong Side of Murder Creek.” The film is currently shooting on location in Montgomery, Alabama. The cast includes Lucy Hale, Lucas Till, Julia Ormond, Brian Dennehy, Dexter Darden, Ludi Lin and Cedric the Entertainer.

Zellner, an Alabama native and the grandson of a Birmingham Klansman, became involved in the civil rights movement witnessed the heroism of John Lewis during the Montgomery Freedom Riders in 1961. Klock is repped by Nick Terry and Molly Hurwitz at Zero Gravity Management; and L.T.A.