Can Neil LaBute direct a comedy? It’s debatable whether “Nurse Betty” fit the bill and “In the Company of Men” and “Your Friends & Neighbors” had their moments, but a flat-out comedy? Well, after “The Wicker Man” and “Lakeview Terrace,” it may his savviest career move yet.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, LaBute is on board to helm Screen Gems “Death of a Funeral,” a remake of the 2007 British comedy. However, this version has been co-written and and will star Chris Rock. Also joining the cast are Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, James Marsden, Zoe Saldana, Danny Glover, Regina Hall and Loretta Devine.
The ensemble comedy centers on a funeral that turns into a farce of missing dead bodies and hidden family secrets. Just when things can’t get any worse, a man arrives saying he’s the deceased’s gay lover and threatens blackmail.
This will mark the first project for Lawrence since back to back appearance in the underrated “Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins” and the forgettable “College Road Trip.”
Morgan has made inroads in the movie world thanks to his role on “30 Rock” and recently signed on to star with Bruce Willis in “A Couple of Cops.”
Rock, who will also produce the picture, recently reprised the voice of Marty in “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and agreed to star opposite Adam Sandler and Kevin James in an untitled comedy for 2010.
Production on “Funeral” is expected to begin this spring.
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