Filmmaker Nicholas Stoller set an incredibly high bar for himself by knocking it out of the park with his directorial debut feature Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The 2008 comedy offered a fantastic blend of incredibly funny, R-rated comedy and serious heart, refusing to shy away from that emotional aspects of Jason Segel’s lead character, which made the story that much more affecting—and funny. He followed that up with 2010’s rock star comedy Get Him to the Greek and 2012’s more dramatic The Five-Year Engagement, and in between he also co-wrote the scripts for The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted. But now for his next directorial effort, Stoller ready to tackle an ambitious period piece.
Steve recently sat down with Stoller to discuss his latest comedy, Neighbors, and during the course of their discussion Stoller talked about what he hopes will be his next project, a 1940s buddy cop comedy tentatively titled Black and White. He said the film revolves around the first white cop/black cop pairing and describes it as a bit of a Baz Luhrmann world. Hit the jump for much more.
“The next thing I wanna do is the Seth Rogen/Kevin Hart movie that Rodney Rothman wrote. It’s about the first white cop/black cop pairing in history, and they have to infiltrate the jazz scene to bust jazz musicians for weed, so it’s this incredibly racist, anti-semitic world—pretty funny, right? [It takes place] in the late 1940s. It’s a bit of a Baz Luhrmann world, like I don’t want it to be a strict period piece so the jazz is a little bit of rap. But it’s gonna be nuts. I’ve never done anything like it, but I’m pretty excited about it.”
Rothman has worked as an executive producer on three of Stoller’s four projects so the two have a history, and he also wrote the script for the upcoming sequel 22 Jump Street. The allure of Black and White, Stoller said, is pushing the boundaries that are inherent in a 1940s cop movie involving race, and he said Paramount Pictures has no hesitations about the subject matter:
“Rodney’s script is so funny and it’s so out there and Paramount was like, ‘This is the funniest script we’ve read.’ It’s insane. We just want to push it, and the other thing with these movies is you shoot everything, and then you test it, and then you take out what doesn’t work.”
“It’s at Paramount, and yeah we’re figuring it out and Rodney’s been rewriting the script and Seth and Kevin are excited about it.”
The only issue that Stoller might run into, he said, is budget, since a period piece costs more than a contemporary comedy:
“It’s not like a big budget, but it can’t be a really low budget because it’s action and period. It’s not gonna be like $50 million or $60 million, but it’s [a little more].”
When Steve asked if Stoller had another project he’s developing in case Black and White doesn’t move forward for some reason, the filmmaker said he’s put all his chips on the cop comedy:
“No, I’m all-in on these guys. If it’s not them I don’t know what to do (laughs). And I don’t develop stuff, I go all-in on the movie I’m interested in doing. It’s always risky because your movie could fall apart, but I’d rather do it that way.”
“Right now it’s called Black and White, but I don’t know. We call it Jazz Cops (laughs).”
He also revealed this nugget from the current iteration of the script, which gives us a sense of the tone:
“Right now there’s a DJ in it called ‘Whitey McWhite.’”
Watch the portion of Steve’s interview with Stoller concerning Black and White below, and look for the full video interview closer to the release of Neighbors.