This bit of news would be considerably more interesting if anyone born after 1980 had a clue who John Landis was. Landis hasn’t had a hit in about 20 years, but he has had two major flops: Beverly Hills Cop III and Blues Brothers 2000. But for a ten-year period between 1978 and 1988, Landis was one of the biggest directors on the planet, the man behind Kentucky Fried Movie, Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Coming to America, Trading Places and even Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. Unfortunately, in the past decade, Landis has been relegated to obscurity, save for directing a couple episodes of “Psych.”
He does appear to be mounting a small comeback, however. He’s got three comedies in development, and one has just landed a bona fide movie star. Burke and Hare is based on a true story of a couple of 19th century graverobbers who dug up bodies and sold them to a medical school in Edinburgh.
Simon Pegg has just signed on as one of the stars.
It’s a smart move for Pegg. Although Landis hasn’t made anything notable in two decades, the man knows horror comedy — see American Werewolf in London — and he knows how to direct a funny movie. He’s also pretty great with comedy duos: Eddie Murphy & Arsenio Hall, John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd, Dan Akyroyd & Eddie Murphy. It’s a shame, though, that it doesn’t appear that Nick Frost will be the other half of the Burke and Hare equation, particularly since it’s hard to imagine Pegg working with any other partner. But with Frost and Pegg already working together on two upcoming projects (Paul and The Adventures of Tin-Tin) and the rumored The World’s End, maybe it’s time they take a break from each other. Although, save for his role in Star Trek, Pegg hasn’t had a hit without Frost. In fact, both Run Fat Boy Run and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People were fairly unwatchable, while Nick Frost at least has Pirate Radio (formerly titled The Boat That Rocked), which has recently been pushed back from an August release date to a more profitable November one (presumably).