If writer-directors Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant had put more effort into their new film Hell Baby, they could have had one of the best parodies of recent horror movies. The film has some huge laughs as well as some insight into the genre’s weaknesses, but Lennon and Garant’s sketch comedy roots wreck the picture in the worst way. They’re content to let their scenes run on way too long, they have no idea how to tie their scenes together, and the result feels like we’re in the middle of something that’s being workshopped rather than a finished feature. Despite a memorable performance from Keegan Michael Key, Hell Baby feels like a gigantic waste of potential that keeps us interested because we’re waiting for the next great joke.
Just because you forgot about it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Paramount is still trying to develop a feature film based on the popular slow motion running drama series Baywatch, and some new blood has been brought in to revitalize the project. Screenwriter Peter Tolan (Rescue Me) was previously tapped to write the script, and last year he revealed that his take would be a comedy adaptation more akin to Stripes rather than a straight feature film iteration of the self-serious lifeguard series. Now Vulture reports that Reno 911! co-creator and star Robert Ben Garant has been lined up to direct the film.
Garant previously directed Reno 911! Miami and Balls of Fury and has forged a successful screenwriting career with fellow Reno 911! cohort Thomas Lennon. The duo wrote the Night at the Museum films as well as other family fare like Herbie Fully Loaded and The Pacifier (they chronicled their success in the book Writing Movies For Fun And Profit). Though a Baywatch film in and of itself sounds like a bad idea, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing a Reno 911! take on the group of lifeguards. No word on whether Garant would take a stab at the script himself, but I assume he’ll put his own spin on the material.
Director Tom McGrath (Megamind) may make his live-action debut directing denizens of the afterlife in Rentaghost, starring Ben Stiller. The picture, inspired by a British children’s TV series, follows “an American turnaround consultant who is sent to the UK to reinvigorate a failing company,” and finds jobs for ghosts and ghouls. Having co-directed all three of the wildly successful Madagascar movies, McGrath would reunite with Stiller, who voiced Alex the Lion in the animated films.
Before Fox picked the picture up from Warner Bros., it had starred Russell Brand in the lead role. With Stiller attached and Night at the Museum scribes, Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant writing, McGrath’s addition could further seal up box-office gold as families will likely head to the theaters in droves when the movie opens next year. McGrath’s entry into negotiations comes via Variety.
Peter Segal (Get Smart) is reportedly in talks to direct Vin Diesel (The Fast and the Furious) in the action film, The Machine for MGM. At the moment, Segal is currently attached to Warner Bros. pictures Grudge Match and the adaptation of the manga, Bleach, so this more than likely won’t be his next feature. Segal is producing Bleach and may end up directing the picture, while he is attached to direct the Grudge Match, about a boxing rematch between aging fighters. Diesel, meanwhile, is currently in post-production on The Untitled Chronicles of Riddick Sequel, which we can expect to see sometime early next year. Hit the jump for more information on his involvement in The Machine, as well as the picture’s plot synopsis.
We’ve got a few bits of casting news to bring to you today. Here they are at a glance:
- Steve Carell and Jake Johnson ( New Girl) will join an untitled mob-themed comedy for Warner Bros.
- Joelle Carter (Justified) joins Saw 3D director Kevin Gruetert’s horror-thriller, Jessabelle.
- Jose Maria Yazpik (The Burning Plain) will star in Pedro Almodovar’s upcoming romantic comedy, The Brief Lovers.
Hit the jump for more on each project.
Reno 911! stars and non-stop screenwriters Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant are set to make their co-directorial debut on the horror comedy Hell Baby, and they’ve found their two leads. Darko Entertainment announced today that Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb (Talladega Nights) have signed on to star in the comedy that centers on a young expectant couple who moves in to New Orleans most haunted fixer-upper and calls upon The Vatican’s elite exorcism team to save them from a demonic baby. Lennon and Garant wrote the script, will co-direct, and plan to star as the Vatican’s exorcism team.
Lennon and Garant have made a nice living in recent years writing younger-skewing comedies like The Pacifier and the Night at the Museum films (they even wrote a book entitled Writing Movies for Fun and Profit). Hell Baby sounds like it has hints of Rosemary’s Baby, and for Corddry’s sake as a comedian I hope they’ve written a more adult comedy. Bibb currently stars on the ABC series GCB and Corddry recently wrapped the zombie adaptation Warm Bodies. Hit the jump to read the press release.
For the past three decades, Nicolas Cage has given us, the movie-going public, all that he has to offer. Do you think he dresses up like a bear and throws devastating hay-makers at unsuspecting women to satisfy some sick urge of his own? No, he does it for us! He gives and he gives and he gives and all we do is take. But twelve years ago, we took too much. And at long last, someone will shed light on the harrowing tale of how somebody stole Nic’s ultra-rare Action Comics #1, the 1938 comic that introduced the world to Superman.
In Action No. 1, Reno! 911 creators Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant have scribed a comedic (and obviously fictionalized) account of the robbery, which has been picked up by Lionsgate. Lennon and Garant wrote the script with the hope that Cage would be willing to play himself, but that likely won’t happen. Hit the jump for more.
Last December, Russell Brand signed on to Rentaghost based on the British children’s TV series that ran from 1976 to 1984. The show centered around a company that rents out ghosts to perform various tasks, and Brand was set to play “Fred Mumford, a recently deceased loser who feels he can find work for ghosts whose lives were as failed as his.” However, Deadline now reports that Brand has dropped out of the film and has been replaced by Ben Stiller who will partner with his Night at the Museum writers Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant.
The plot will now have Stiller playing “an American turnaround consultant who is sent to the UK to reinvigorate a failing company.” Fox sees it as another strong family franchise and I see it as another film where Stiller will be the straight man to a cast of zany ghosts who help him to learn a valuable lesson. Hit the jump for a recap of other films Stiller has in the pipeline.
The guy who co-wrote the book on writing movies for
fun and profit (no, but really) has landed another gig. Robert Ben Garant, who recently released the book Writing Movies for Fun and Profit with his writing partner Thomas Lennon, has signed on to adapt the Japanese graphic novel Tuxedo Gin for Disney. The project’s title will be shortened to Tux and, according to Deadline, will center on a young street fighter who receives a tough lesson in karma upon lapsing into a coma.
As writer/artist Tokihiko Matsuura’s story goes, the fighter’s selfish earthly ways lead to him being reincarnated as a penguin, an obstacle he must overcome if he wishes to return to his less penguin-like state and former flame alike. Garant will executive produce the film alongside Isamu Kamei. In addition to Tux, Garant also has writing credits on titles such as Night at the Museum, Herbie Fully Loaded, Balls of Fury, The Pacifier, and Reno 911!. Recently, he and Garant co-wrote the screenplay for the action/comedy The Machine starring Vin Diesel.
Vin Diesel provided the voice for eponymous character in 1999′s The Iron Giant and he’s about go back to robotics. Heat Vision reports that Diesel will produce and star in the action comedy The Machine for MGM. Diesel will play “a human-like machine created in secrecy by the Pentagon as the world’s first true ultimate weapon. Twenty years after the project was buried and decommissioned for reasons unknown, The Machine is discovered by a kid who befriends him. When the government learns it has been reactivated, the Machine must protect the family harboring him.” So it’s kind of like The Iron Giant except without the charming animation.
Hit the jump for more details on the film and why I don’t think we’re getting anything close to the level of quality seen in The Iron Giant.
by Jason Barr Posted: January 5th, 2011 at 5:13 pm
Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant will write the Summit Entertainment comedy The Wee McGinty. In addition to splitting scribe duties, the Night of the Museum writing team/Reno 911! cohorts will also take on further responsibilities with Garant set to direct and Lennon poised to take on a supporting role in the film. In case you were curious, Garant’s previous feature directorial work can be found in two 2007 films – Reno 911!: Miami and Balls of Fury. As for Lennon, he can be seen in the upcoming comedy Cedar Rapids alongside John C. Reilly, Ed Helms, and Sigourney Weaver. That film will debut later this month at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Per Deadline, The Wee McGinty tells the story of a “height-challenged wish-granter who loses his memory and settles in with a group of Chicago firefighters” only to have his peaceful existence challenged by his long-lost leprechaun family. At first glance, I can’t decide if this sounds crazy or so crazy it might work. I suppose only time will tell.
I’ll be honest: I am not familiar with Eric Powell’s popular comic book series The Goon. However, people I trust not only say the comic is terrific, but they told me that the panel for the film adaptation for the past several years has been hilarious. After going to this year’s panel and listening to actor Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!) banter with Powell, Tim Miller and Jeff Fowler of Blur Studio (who are animating the film), voice actor Paul Giamatti, and producer David Fincher, I will tell you this: I’m going to make sure I’m damn familiar with The Goon. Not only did it deliver on this promised hilarity, but even more than the panel for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, this one relies on the fans in a big way. You see, The Goon doesn’t have a green light. It has a teaser that’s trying to raise interest for a movie that doesn’t have studio backing yet. That means the fans need to go online and let people know they love it. Needless to say, they loved it and they’re going to go online and let people know that.
Hit the jump for my thoughts on the panel and why I’m not leaving Comic-Con without at least the first volume of the series in my suitcase.
“Reno 911!” was a great show that never should have lasted as long as it did. After one of the funniest first seasons in TV history, the show struggled to maintain an identity and stretched the talents of its very talented improv performers to their absolute limits. Head writers Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, and Kerri Kenney-Silver were consistently the funniest and most enjoyable to watch, and now Lennon and Garant have teamed up to pen and star in a multi-camera comedy for NBC. More after the jump.
Reno 911! is comedy TV’s old reliable. While it has never really captured the zeitgeist in the way that something like South Park or, hell, even Mind of Mencia did, for the last six years it has been chugging along, quietly producing one of the funniest and raunchiest shows on the air.
Created by former State-ers (is that the term? I prefer ‘Statesmen’) Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney and Robert Ben Garant, Reno is a completely improvised faux TV-documentary series. Sort of a cross between Cops and a Christopher Guest film, minus the former’s bleakness and the later’s earnestness. Basically, they take a bunch of locations, add some incredibly talented comedians, film them for a few hours and then splice the footage, vignette style, over the course of the season.
Ladies, you don’t know this, but getting punched in the dick, really hurts. Like, a lot. I mean, I’ve heard that childbirth is really bad and painful but that can only happen at a roughly pre-determined time and plus you’ve had like nine months to prepare. No one sends guys a notice saying “Nine months from now, expect a punch in the dick.” If they did, we’d wear cups.
So I take Thomas Lennon’s threat of punching people in the dick very seriously. I mean, I wasn’t that invested in the Best Kiss category of the MTV Movie Awards and I already voted for his liplock with Paul Rudd in “I Love You, Man” but I kind of think I should vote again just to be on the safe side.
My question is what’s Lennon going to do when all the “Twilight” fans beat him by voting for Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Girls don’t have dicks. YOUR MOVE, LENNON.
Check out Thomas Lennon’s campaign video/threat after the jump and click here to vote for him, especially if you’re a guy. Your dick will thank you.