Here’s a few projects in the works worth discussing:
First up, Jonah Hill is set to star in a high-concept romantic comedy that he’s producing along with the two writers, Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, who were co-producers on Funny People. The movie is called The Best Thing About Pam Rooney, and aside from the “high concept” there are no details given. I suspect the high-concept has something to do with an attractive woman falling for Jonah Hill. Hill also has three other moves in various stages of production: The recently completed spin-off to Forgetting Sarah Marshall called Get Him to the Greek, an untitled comedy with the mumblecore princes, Jay and Mark Duplass, and The Adventurer’s Handbook, based on his own script.
Elsewhere, Alexander Payne is finally making his first feature since Sideways. Actually, he’s got two movies in the works. He’s starting with The Descendants, a family dramedy based on Kaui Hart Hemmings’ debut novel. It’s about a wealthy man who is wrestling with the decision to pull the plug on his wife, who has been in a coma for 23 days following a boat accident. The issue is complicated when he finds out his wife was having an affair. After that, Payne has also set up Downsizing, featuring Paul Giamatti, Sacha Baron Cohen and Reese Witherspoon. It’s about a man (played by Giamatti), who realizes his life would be much easier if he shrank himself.
Finally, the husband and wife team, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, who are together responsible for the phenomenal indies, Sugar and Half Nelson, are developing a coming-of-age story, It’s Kind of a Funny Story. The script centers on a 15-year-old boy named Craig who, battling depression, checks into a psychiatric hospital but finds himself placed in the adult ward. He has a series of colorful and dramatic relationships with a group of adults - many of whom he finds are far crazier than he is - and a girl his own age. It’s based on a YA adult novel from Ned Vizzini, and though I haven’t read It’s Kind of a Funny Story, I’ve checked out a couple of Vizzini’s other works, and they’re pretty brilliant for the YA genre. Expect it to debut at Sundance and do very well with critics and go unseen by audiences. It’s the Fleck/Boden way.