Well here’s a project we haven’t heard about in years. In 2008, it was announced that writer/director Cameron Crowe’s post-Elizabethtown project would be a romantic comedy called Deep Tiki. Ben Stiller and Reese Witherspoon were attached to star, but due to scheduling conflicts with the two actors Crowe had to keep pushing production back. Months came and went with no update, until we ultimately learned that development had stalled. Crowe’s first narrative feature since 2005 eventually came in the form of last year’s We Bought a Zoo, and I assumed that Deep Tiki was dead.
Now it appears that following a rewrite by Crowe, development on Deep Tiki has picked up again with none other than Emma Stone is set to star. Hit the jump for much more.
Crowe revealed last October that he had finished the script for his next film, which would be a comedy, but I surmised at the time that it couldn’t be Deep Tiki. Deadline broke the news that Sony had acquired the script for Crowe’s new untitled film and that Emma Stone would be starring, but it’s Variety’s Jeff Sneider who revealed that this is in fact a reworked version of Deep Tiki.
Crowe kept the plot for Deep Tiki under wraps as best he could when the project was in development, but the story’s pretty out there. The male lead was a disgraced military weapons consultant who, after being deployed to a dormant base in Hawaii to supervise the launch of a spy satellite, “starts to discover himself and the relationships he left behind against the backdrop of mythical island lore and Cold War-esque diplomacy.”
The story involved visions of Hawaiian Gods and a sacrifice being thrown into a volcano, and drew fair comparisons to the 1990 romantic comedy Joe Versus the Volcano. I figured it was ultimately these rather strange story qualities that led to the project lingering in development hell, and there’s no telling how much—if any—of this story remains in the most recent version of Crowe’s script. What we do know is that Scott Rudin remains as producer and the plan is to start production next spring. Moreover, whether the movie’s great or or not Stone will undoubtedly knock her role out of the park.
I have faith in Crowe, and despite the overt cutesiness of its trailers, I admired We Bought a Zoo for its unapologetic earnestness and complete and utter lack of cynicism. Nabbing Stone for the female lead is a swell first step, and I’ll be interested to see who Crowe chooses to fill the male lead role. Hopefully we hear more soon.