Today in showbiz news: America's favorite British bumbler will attempt to charm us once again, The CW shows generosity to several new shows, and Anna Kendrick can't stop singing.
Probably no actor in the last twenty or so years, other than Tom Hanks, has been more successful at the romantic comedy than Hugh Grant. His trademark British stumble-bumble -- a charming and inviting coating lightly covering a rakish and almost haughty (but no less charming) layer of posh Oxford ease -- has been the perfect complement to many an actress' (usually an American one's) zany wiles. To my mind that hasn't been on better display than in Two Weeks Notice, an underestimated and under-praised little confection from 2002 that rather ingeniously paired Grant up with Sandra Bullock, another stumble-bumbler with a core of confident, moneyed intellect. They were a great fit together, everything sparkled and gleamed, and yet the movie sorta came and went. It did well enough, but didn't become the goofy/smart modern romcom classic it should have. But now Grant has another chance, perhaps! He's re-teaming with that film's writer/director Marc Lawrence to make another romantic comedy. There's no title or costar or anything yet, but there is a plot: It's about a writer who "in 1998 was on top of the world -- a witty, sexy, Englishman in Hollywood who had just won an Academy Award for best screenplay. Fifteen years later, he’s creatively washed up, divorced and broke. With no other options, he takes a job teaching screenwriting at a small college on the East Coast. Although the idea of teaching is less than thrilling, he hopes to make some easy money and enjoy the favors of impressionable young co-eds. What he doesn’t expect to find is romance with a single mom who has gone back to school." So, that sounds potentially promising! Sure two post-Two Weeks Grant/Lawrence collabs, Music and Lyrics and Did You Hear About the Morgans?, haven't been great, but that just means they're due for another success, right? Of course the success/failure odds really depend on who is cast opposite Grant. Music and Lyrics' Drew Barrymore was a bit to checked-out to plug into Grant's tenser energy, while he and Sarah Jessica Parker just didn't have any chemistry for some admittedly mysterious reason in Did You Hear About the Morgans?. (It didn't help that the script was not good.) Those movies sunk because of the couple's failings. So who should be in this one? Please not Cameron Diaz, please not Katherine Heigl, please not, oh who knows, Julie Bowen. What about Julia Roberts? She'd never do it, but she's so good at romantic comedy, or at least was once, and they were good together in Notting Hill, so why not pair up again? It'd be fun. Someone get Julia's people on the horn. This thing should happen. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Homeland is not the only TV series getting good news today. The CW has ordered three more scripts for two freshman dramas, Beauty and the Beast and the ratings-challenged Emily Owens, M.D.. A script order is by no means a pickup or a full-season order, but it's a good sign that the network is interested. And it's a reminder that things just work differently over at The CW. In a lot of places, it seems like maybe a good place to have a show. Sure you don't get the acclaim or attention you might get at other networks, but you can kinda chug along and build an ardent little fanbase and live like that for a while, which isn't a bad way to live. Look at Supernatural. Critically supported for the most part, legion of fans, on for a bajillion seasons, and yet its ratings are, by comparison to most things, pretty darn low. That probably wouldn't happen anywhere else on network television. And that makes The CW special. Though, y'know, it happens all the time on cable. [Deadline]
Oh, and speaking of The CW, the ludicrous new series Arrow has gotten a full-season order. Which, honestly, is surprising. I mean, based on the ratings it's not surprising, but based on the quality of the show it's surprising that people are watching it. What started off fun and shirtless quickly became, about two minutes into the second episode, unwatchably dumb, albeit still shirtless. I don't know if it's the ludicrous sight of world's most engaging actress Katie Cassidy playing a hard-charging lawyer or if it's the lead dude's line readings, which make Tayor Kitsch sound like Canadian Olivier, but the show quickly became too stupid to even tolerate on a jokey level. But, eh, what does a network care about that. People are watching, that's all that matters. So, woodenly act on, sir. Be more wooden than all of Yoho National Park. Just as long as your shirt's off and you're pluckin' bad guys with your arrows, you'll probably keep going forever. [The Hollywood Reporter]
ZOMG. Check it out musical theatre fans: Anna Kendrick's dip into the singing realm with Pitch Perfect wasn't just a fluke. (Or, rather, a continuation of her earlier singing work in Camp.) No, she's been bitten by the singing bug hard it seems, as she's now in talks to possibly star in a film version of The Last Five Years, Jason Robert Brown's lovely two-hander musical that chronicles the bloom and collapse of a marriage. The woman tells/sings the story backwards in time, the man in straightforward chronology, and they meet once in the middle and it's lovely/sad/joyous/heartbreaking/etc. It's not a Major Work, whatever that means (Parade is probably Brown's magnum opus, for now anyway), but it's a great little show. And it might actually make an effective movie, given how each scene is a little contained vignette. So, this actually doesn't sound like a bad idea. Kendrick is a tad young maybe, but whatever. As long as they don't cast Corey Monteith as Jamie, it should be fine. [Vulture]
Werner Herzog is going to direct a movie version of Vernon God Little, a 2003 satirical novel about a school shooting. So yes, Werner Herzog is essentially directing a comedy about school shooting. Werner Herzog. School shooting. Comedy. I mean, dark dark dark comedy about serious things, but comedy nonetheless. Oh and it's set in Texas. And Herzog is playing a villain in that Tom Cruise movie Jack Reacher. That has nothing to do with anything here, exactly, it's just a reminder that Werner Herzog is weird and now he's doing this and it makes him even weirder/more intense. [Variety, via Vulture]
Hey if you've just been dying to read the script to Judd Apatow's upcoming middle-agers comedy This Is 40, here's your chance. The entire script has been put up online so you can find out all those big spoilers (WHAT exactly is 40??) and see all the spaces where everyone's supposed to improv instead of saying what's written. Sounds thrilling! [Entertainment Weekly]