By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 24, 2011 at 3:13AM
It's only half a decade since the Judd Apatow stable reinvigorated the comedy world, plucking actors from TV shows like "Freaks & Geeks," "The Daily Show" and the old staple of "Saturday Night Live" and turning them into bona fide superstars, but already the next wave of comic actors are starting to break through. Names like Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Donald Glover, Ellie Kemper, Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer, many of whom, crucially, broke through with short films on the internet, are all starting to make waves on the big screen, and it's only a matter of time before one of them cracks the A-list.
The next name to join them looks to be Ben Schwartz. The Upright Citizens Brigade grad broke through with sketches on Funny or Die, and has written for Letterman, "Saturday Night Live" and even the Oscars, winning an Emmy for his work on Hugh Jackman's opening number at the latter in 2009. But he's also been carving out equal success as an actor: he was a scene-stealing regular on J.J. Abrams' recently cancelled "Undercovers," walked away with entire episodes on "Parks & Recreation" (a show the entire Playlist staff is becoming increasingly obsessed with), is the co-lead of the upcoming indie drama "Peep World," and recently signed on to join Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell for the Showtime pilot "House of Lies."
Now, he's booked a new gig as a writer, and it's a pretty big one. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Paramount has tapped Schwartz to write a remake of their 1991 comedy "Soapdish," which will be produced by its original backer Alan Greisman, along with Rob Reiner. The original film, which was directed by Michael Hoffman, was set behind the scenes of a daytime soap opera, and featured a fairly starry cast led by Sally Field and Kevin Kline, alongside Robert Downey Jr, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Shue, Teri Hatcher, Cathy Moriarty and Carrie Fisher.
The original wasn't exactly a hall-of-famer, so we're not really up in arms about the possibility of a remake, even if, by the same token, we don't see the point of it either. But we're certainly fans of Schwartz (who's also developing the comedy "Would You Rather" for Universal and Imagine), and it's not like the world of daytime soaps are lacking in material to mine, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this. There's no word if Reiner is planning to direct -- we imagine it's unlikely, but he could certainly use a hit at some point...