There are days when there is just a torrent of news you’re interested in, and other days where there’s nothing at all. It’s almost funny when one news story has about a dozen names you’re interested in, all working together, a collision of many different interests all at once.
We talked yesterday about the needless panic about the prospect of a sequel to “Bridesmaids” happening without Kristen Wiig, and one thing that renders that question moot at this point is her schedule. She’s busy nine months of the year with “Saturday Night Live,” and then she’s got, evidently, 40 movies she’s making in those other three months. Those better be some well-scheduled months, but I think it could be worth it.
After all, who wouldn’t want to be part of the second narrative feature film from acclaimed legendary documentary filmmaker Errol Morris? True, his first shot at making a fiction film was the adaptation of Tony Hillerman’s “The Dark Wind,” a 1991 film that barely got any distribution after a troubled post-production process. Even so, this is one of those guys whose voice is so strong and who has so much to say and who has been so consistently interesting since the amazing “Gates Of Heaven” in 1978, and if anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt as a storyteller, it’s him.
Zach Helm arrived with much fanfare, and then audiences saw “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” or to be more precise, they did not see it, but they saw the trailer, and they still sometimes cry in the shower as a result. His “Stranger Than Fiction,” as rendered by Will Ferrell and Marc Forster, is okay but not great, and it doesn’t really nail its main conceit. I think Helm is promising. I think he aims high. I think he wants to write a great movie every time out. I’m not sure he’s done it yet.
But this cast that’s rumored to be part of the film that Morris is putting together is pretty great, and I’m hoping that’s because Helm nailed the script. “Freezing People is Easy” is a knockout title, and I think the idea that this came from an episode of “This American Life,” with Ira Glass in the mix as a producer of the movie, makes this a whole different kind of interesting suddenly. And then add Steve Zallian and his big brain as another producer, and it sounds to me like this is a lot of good voices in the mix. That’s a cool combination of voices in there. And it’s a true story, so there’s a starting point, something they can all agree draws them for whatever reason.
Bob Nelson was a TV repairman in the ’60s, and he had an idea, a vision for the way to bring cryogenics to people. He tried to go into business, and found many willing customers in Los Angeles, but… well… struggled. And that seems like a very bad field to go into if you’re not really sure what you’re doing.
Paul Rudd’s going to be playing Nelson in the movie, which automatically stacks the deck a certain way. I am serious when I say Rudd may be the most successful guy today at winning the audience’s sympathy, no matter what the circumstances. I think if you cast Rudd as Tom Ripley right now, audiences would find a reason to excuse his behavior. That’s how well-liked he is. He’s like Tom Hanks Prime squared. That’s a whole lot of likable.
Reports have Owen Wilson, Wiig, and Christopher Walken all also discussing roles in the film. If this shoots mid-year, there’s a chance we might even see it by year’s end. I wish the filmmakers luck with this, and I’m rooting for Morris to crush it his second time up. I think his darkly sardonic take on things could be just right for the type of story this sounds to be.
Hopefully we’ll hear more on this one soon.