By Dave Campbell | April 2, 2009
Source: Focus Features
Production began last week in Los Angeles on the untitled film starring Ben Stiller for writer/director Noah Baumbach, an Academy Award nominee for his original screenplay of The Squid and the Whale (which he also directed). Scott Rudin, an Academy Award winner as producer of No Country for Old Men, and Jennifer Jason Leigh are producing the movie, to which Focus Features holds worldwide rights. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
Mr. Baumbach has written the original screenplay from a story conceived by Ms. Leigh and himself. At a crossroads in his life, Roger Greenberg (Mr. Stiller) ends up house-sitting at his brother’s home in Los Angeles. There, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with his brother’s assistant Florence (Greta Gerwig of Hannah Takes the Stairs), an aspiring singer. Florence and Greenberg’s encounters lead to an uncertain and wonderfully vulnerable courtship.
Rhys Ifans, soon to be seen in The Boat That Rocked, plays Greenberg’s friend Ivan. The supporting cast includes Mark Duplass (of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival success Humpday), Brie Larson (of the hit series United States of Tara), and Juno Temple (of Focus’ award-winning Atonement); Ms. Leigh will also costar in the film.
Mr. Rudin produced Mr. Baumbach’s most recent film as writer/director, Margot at the Wedding, which earned Ms. Leigh a Spirit Award nomination for her performance. The latter feature’s director of photography Harris Savides re-teams with Mr. Baumbach on the new film; the costume designer is Mark Bridges (There Will Be Blood). Focus senior vice president, production Kahli Small is overseeing filming of the new movie for president of production John Lyons.
Mr. Schamus said, “It’s a privilege and a pleasure to finally be making a movie with Scott, Jennifer and Noah, and one that will showcase Ben as an actor. This script has the hallmarks of Noah’s best work, and then some; heart and soul interlaced with biting wit. Filmgoers worldwide will find themselves emotionally engaged by and with these splendidly realized characters.”