This week, we look at a couple of actors getting their chance in the director's chair. I would tell them not to quit their day jobs, but they already know that.
Melissa McCarthy to Co-Direct Tammy?
This project, which McCarthy co-scripted, was being discussed after the breakout success of Bridesmaids. Now that McCarthy has another blockbuster on her hands (albeit this time a pretty awful movie, Identity Thief), she's in talks to star in Tammy, which she would co-direct with her husband, actor (and co-writer) Ben Falcone (the air marshall in Bridesmaids). It's a raunchy road comedy about a woman who loses her job, finds out that her husband is cheating on her, and hits the road with her abrasive alcoholic grandmother. According to The Hollywood Reporter, New Line is likely to greenlight the project soon, and Shirley MacLaine is in talks to co-star. I'm happy for McCarthy's success, but hopefully this won't be another sloppily scripted, mean-spirited but jarringly sentimental comedy like her current hit
Ellen Turns a New Page
Ellen Page is also taking a shot at directing. The talented young actor (Inception, Juno) is set to direct Anna Faris (Scary Movie) in Miss Stevens, a comedy-drama about a high school teacher in the midst of a breakdown who's rejuvenated when she takes a group of students on a road trip to a drama competition. Novice Julia Hart wrote the script, and Gilbert Films and Anonymous Content are producing. Faris is a very appealing star who's only found a few projects worthy of her talent. Page, meanwhile, has been pretty smart about the projects she's chosen. She probably won't act in this one, but it sounds like it has potential.
Fiennes and Dickens
British powerhouse actor Ralph Fiennes is getting ready to make his second feature as a director. Fiennes aka Voldemort will follow up his impressive modern-day Shakespeare adaptation, Coriolanus, with The Invisible Woman, an adaptation of Claire Tomalin's nonfiction book about Charles Dickens' affair with a young actress, Nelly Ternan, which destroyed the great author's marriage. Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady) wrote the script. Fiennes plays Dickens, while Felicity Jones (soon to be seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2) plays his young mistress. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures Classics has bought the U.S. distribution rights for the movie, which is already in post-production. Based on Fiennes' debut, I have high hopes for this one.
The Eigeman Sanction
He may not be as well known as Fiennes, McCarthy or Page, but any fan of 1990s independent films should know who the terrific actor Chris Eigeman is. For you younger folks, he's the editor who fired Hannah (Lena Dunham) from her internship when she asked for a job on Girls. In any case, Eigeman is also working on his second feature as director, Midnight Sun, which will star Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Emile Hirsch (Killer Joe), and Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds). Set in the 1940s, it's about two young geniuses recruited to work on developing the atomic bomb. As with his debut, Turn the River, Eigeman wrote the script for this one. Again, judging by his work as an actor in films by Noah Baumbach and Whit Stillman, I'm intrigued.
Kruger Takes it to The Bridge
Speaking of Kruger, her new series co-starring Demian Bichir (Weeds) has been picked up for a 13-episode order by FX. The Bridge is based on the Scandinavian series Bron, created by Mans Marlind (Underworld: Awakening). It's about an American and a Mexican detective (Kruger and Bichir, respectively) who team up to track down a serial killer who is working on both sides of the border. Meredith Stiehm (Homeland) and Elwood Reid wrote the pilot, which co-stars Ted Levine, Annabeth Gish and Matthew Lillard, and was directed by Gerardo Naranjo, whose feature, Miss Bala, recently made waves on the festival circuit. I hear about an American basic cable remake of a well-received Scandinavian show and I naturally think of The Killing. The Bridge actually sounds genuinely promising, so I'm trying to put those thoughts out of my mind.
Liz and Dick Redux
If you're like me, you made every effort to avoid that awful sounding Lifetime movie where Lindsay Lohan played Elizabeth Taylor. Now you're being rewarded by a new Taylor TV biopic that sounds like a much better bet. In this one, Burton and Taylor, being produced for BBC4, Helena Bonham Carter plays Liz, while Dominic West (The Hour, but really always The Wire's Jimmy McNulty to me) plays Richard Burton. It focuses on the pair starring in a misbegotten Broadway revival of Noel Coward's Private Lives, seven years after they'd divorced. Richard Laxton (An Englishman in New York) is directing the script by William Ivory (Made in Dagenham).
Are you looking forward to any of these? Which one sounds the most intriguing? Please let me know in the comments below.