Kay Cannon‘s directorial debut Blockers was easily one of the top-3 funniest films of last year, and I’ve been eager to see what kind of doors it would open for her in Hollywood. Today brings word that Cannon will direct the Lionsgate comedy 79ers, which is being produced by industry heavyweights Seth Rogen and Will Ferrell.
The film follows a group of estranged friends who are forced back together after 20 years to complete a treasure hunt they attempted as misfit teens, but never completed. Lionsgate’s Nathan Kahane said the studio is aiming for something along the lines of “The Goonies for adults.”
Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s Point Grey banner is producing with Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez banner. It’s unclear whether Adam McKay will be involved, as he and Ferrell recently split, but I imagine this project has been in the works for some time, so he’ll likely have some kind of credit, as will Jessica Elbaum. The truth is, none of these names, not even Rogen and Ferrell, were included in Lionsgate’s press release, likely because those producing credits are still being determined.
What we do know is that Dylan Meyer has been hired to work on the screenplay, which was originally written by none other than Ben Schwartz. Lionsgate execs Matthew Janzen and Brady Fujikawa will oversee development on behalf of the studio, while Josh Fagen will oversee the project for Point Grey, and Kevin Messick will oversee for Gary Sanchez.
“Kay is wonderful at capturing characters in situational conflict and is the perfect choice for this re-engineered coming-of-age comedy. I hope when we are finished with this film it feels like Goonies for adults,” said Kahane. “I have loved this script ever since I first read it. It has such great roles for a group of actors, as our estranged friends have the wisdom and life experience of 30 year-olds, but the baggage of their teen years that they have to overcome as they reunite for a legendary treasure hunt that has eluded them for decades.”
Kahane and Rogen previously worked with Cannon on Blockers, which was released by Universal to the tune of nearly $100 million worldwide. That’s the same studio behind the Cannon-scripted Pitch Perfect franchise, which has grossed over $500 million worldwide.
Cannon is the creator/showrunner of the Netflix series Girlboss starring Britt Robertson. That’s where she met her now-producing partner Laverne McKinnon, with whom she launched the production company K&L Productions. Their company has set up several projects through their first-look deal with Sony Pictures TV, including an hour-long action comedy to Amazon Studios, which Cannon co-created and will direct. She’s also the writer-director of Sony’s upcoming musical comedy reimagining of Cinderella, starring Camila Cabello. Cannon is represented by WME.