Universal Pictures has picked up a pair of interesting new projects, as the studio has acquired Meredith Dawson‘s spec script When Michael Met Carrie… and Other People, as well as the family adventure project Outside the Box from Freaks filmmakers Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein.
Paul Feig will produce When Michael Met Carrie, which promises a new take on the romantic comedy, while Mandeville Films duo David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are attached to produce Outside the Box under their first-look deal at Universal.
Lipovsky and Stein will write and direct Outside the Box, which was chased by several suitors thanks to its sci-fi/fantasy elements and a tone that is said to recall Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin films of the 1980s. I caught Freaks at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and really enjoyed it. I was impressed by what the duo accomplished with a relatively low budget, and by the performances they elicited from Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern and newcomer Lexy Kolker, who plays a young girl with special powers. The film has drawn comparison to Spielberg’s early work, and coincidentally, both Lipovsky and Stein were contestants on On the Lot, Spielberg’s short-lived reality show about filmmaking.
As for When Michael Met Carrie… and Other People, plot details remain under wraps, but Dawson will direct from her own screenplay, and Feig will produce under his FeigCo banner. He previously directed Bridesmaids and the upcoming holiday rom-com Last Christmas for Universal, and has long advocated for the industry to hire more female filmmakers — not that Universal’s Donna Langley needed a push. She has made it her mission to diversify the studio’s pool of directors, which now includes Stella Meghie (The Photograph), Gandja Monteira (Talent Show) and Sophia Takal (Black Christmas), while Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison (Mudbound) is slated to make her directorial debut with the Universal drama Flint Strong. Universal executives Erik Baiers and Lexi Barta will oversee Dawson’s film on behalf of the studio.
Reports describe Dawson as a Mindy Kaling protege who worked in the writers room for her Hulu series Four Weddings and a Funeral. Dawson also wrote the original screenplay Spark, which was voted to the 2018 Black List and is currently in development at Amazon Studios and Reese Witherspoon‘s Hello Sunshine banner. She and Feig are represented by CAA, while Stein and Lipovsky are repped by Verve and Ground Control.