Earlier today, I had the chance to talk with The Muppets producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. The full interview will be up the week of release (November 18), but I wanted to pass along what the producing team had to say about a few of their upcoming projects like the sequel to The Fighter, director Jonathan Levine’s (50/50) Warm Bodies, and Phineas and Ferb, which they are adapting as their first live-action/animated feature film. Lieberman confirmed last week’s news that Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt worked on the draft from series creators Swampy Marsh and Dan Povenmire, which bodes well for the project.
For those that want to see a Fighter sequel, which would explore the Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti fights, Hoberman and Lieberman tell me that “Wahlberg’s in training mode again,” but no one has been hired to write a script. Which means it’s still on the far off horizon. They also talked about the tricky tonal balance in Warm Bodies. Hit the jump for what they had to say on all three projects.
Here’s the video followed by a transcript.
TODD LIEBERMAN: “Something-quel.” Wahlberg’s in training mode again. So when he gets into training mode, the movie ends up happening somehow.
He does seem like he’s pretty busy, but I also think that this must be a priority for him. He loves the character.
LIEBERMAN: Sometimes you have a movie, and you have to formulate what the sequel would be. In this case, there is a story there. There is the relationship between Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti, which wasn’t explored at all in the first one, so there’s a story to tell. And now it’s just a matter of can we get it all together and write a script that would be equally…
DAVID HOBERMAN: Worthy.
LIEBERMAN: …worthy of the first one.
Well that’s my question. Is someone right now writing the script?
LIEBERMAN: It’s in conceptualization phase and all that, and seeing if it’s feasible.
I understand. Definitely want to ask you guys about Warm Bodies and 21 and Over. I know Warm Bodies is currently filming. 21 and Over, is that filming right now, or getting ready to?
HOBERMAN: Post, post.
So talk a little bit about what those projects are and how Warm Bodies has been going.
LIEBERMAN: It’s great. It’s a unique movie. Jonathan Levine, who’s a super talented filmmaker, wrote it and is directing it. It’s based on a book by Isaac Marion. It’s a zombie movie that’s told through the eyes of the zombie. It’s not a straight genre play. There’s a love story in there. There’s some humor. There’s humorous elements to it. It’s very self-reflective. It’s aware of its own genre in a way. The challenge of making a zombie movie through the eyes of the zombie is that zombies don’t really talk. So how do you have scenes with someone who is not talking? So we have a lot of voiceover. Nicholas Hoult’s character “R” will be talking to Teresa Palmer’s character and saying, “I wish I could express what I’m feeling to this girl and speak Shakespeare to her, but all that’s coming out is… [Groans].’ It’s that kind of thing. It’s a very tricky tonal balance, but [Levine] is super talented. 50/50 was a wonderful movie that was also a very tricky tonal balance. We believe that he’ll be able to accomplish it.
This is my last question. What else is bubbling up for you guys? Obviously, I looked at the always-accurate IMDB and there’s, like, 50 different things on the right side for future. But that’s all BS. What’s really bubbling up, or stuff that you’re really excited about?
LIEBERMAN: We’re really excited about Phineas and Ferb that we’re doing at Disney. It’s a television show that my son found three years ago. I started watching with him, then I started watching it without him. Disney is very excited about it. It seems like it could be a ton of fun to do.
Do you guys have a director or a screenwriter on that thing?
LIEBERMAN: Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh, the creators of the show, wrote the draft. They’re busy now running their show, so we brought Michael Arndt on for a few weeks to do some work. We’re in script development right now. No director yet.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about that show from other people.
LIEBERMAN: It’s great. You should really check it out. It’s amazing.
HOBERMAN: Really, it is.
LIEBERMAN: It’s brilliant.