Two of the funniest comedic talents working today are teaming up for a Netflix original movie. Will Forte is poised to star in A Futile and Stupid Gesture, a film that aims to chronicle the tragic story of Doug Kenney, one of the founders of National Lampoon. Per THR, Wet Hot American Summer director David Wain is attached to helm the project, which is in negotiations to land at Netflix where Wain co-created and directed the brilliantly silly prequel series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.
Kenney co-founded National Lampoon with fellow Harvard students Henry Beard and Robert Hoffman shortly after graduation, forming what would become a cornerstone of American comedy that flourished from a humor magazine into a nationwide brand. The success took its toll on Kenney, who moved to Hollywood to work as a writer on films like National Lampoon’s Animal House and Caddyshack and subsequently developed a serious drug and alcohol abuse problem.
The negative reviews that Caddyshack received sent Kenney on a downward spiral, and in an effort to lift his spirits, Chevy Chase took him to Hawaii. When Chase had to leave to return to work, Kenney’s girlfriend flew down. She stayed until she also had to leave to get back to work, but as Chase was preparing to fly back down, he got a phone call that Kenney was missing. His body was found at the bottom of the cliff, with his death at the age of 33 officially ruled an accident albeit somewhat unclear as to whether it might be a suicide.
Forte is a tremendous performer who has proven adept both at comedy on SNL and in his Fox series The Last Man on Earth, and drama with Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. There’s a deeply human quality to Forte’s work that makes him a perfect fit here, and I’m eager to see how Wain will handle more serious material.
Production is aiming to get underway in April, so luckily we won’t have to wait long to see this thing. Ed Helms is executive producing while former Harvard Lampoon editors and Children’s Hospital writers Michael Colton and John Aboud wrote the script, based on the 2006 book of the same name by Josh Karp.