Exclusive: Danny McBride is first and foremost known as a comic actor, and these days he's perhaps best known as Kenny Powers, the shameless and insufferable former professional baseball pitcher on HBO's "Eastbound & Down." But McBride is also a writer, penning "The Foot Fist Way," which essentially was his calling card into Hollywood; many episodes for "Eastbound & Down," which he is a creator on; and "Your Highness," his upcoming medieval stoner comedy co-starring James Franco, Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel and directed by David Gordon Green ("Pineaaple Express") that hits theaters April 8.
Not only is the comedian a writer, he's a film school graduate who attended the North Carolina School of the Arts along with Green and his filmmaking buddy Jody Hill ("Observe and Report" and the aforementioned "Foot Fist Way"). So naturally, what McBride really wants to do is direct his own film. And that appears to be what might be his next major movie.
"We're writing the last season of 'Eastbound' and we'll shoot that this summer and then I'm trying to develop something to get behind the camera," McBride told the Playlist about his what's-next timeline in an interview this weekend. "I went to film school and that's where I met Jody and David and I was focusing on being a writer and director there and I really would love to step into that role so I'm really trying to focus on doing that next."
So what would that directorial project be? Could it one of the multitude of projects set up at McBride, Hill and Green's Rough House Pictures like "Olympic Sized Asshole," "Bullies," "Free Country" or "Taking Flight"?
"Exactly," McBride said. "There's a few things I'm developing at Rough House right now and I'm zeroing in on which one I want to make a reality. It could end up being one of those and there's been some stuff that hasn't been announced that I've been working as well."
Rough House essentially allows great shooting-the-shit ideas to not get lost in the ether of conversations, and the development house allows them to put writers and producers on the ideas that the trio don't have time to actively work on. "That's the beauty of that company, now we have a development machine," he said. "All these ideas that we love and dig, we can now put those into our machine to try and get those films to a place where we can jump on them."
One of those is "L.A.P.I.," a project announced last year for Jody Hill to direct and McBride to star, and it's a film that the Rough House gang is trying finish developing while they write the final season of 'Eastbound.'
So far, there's been little details revealed on the project, but McBride did give us a little taste. "It's a dark L.A. noir tale," he said. "Its kind of in the vein of [Robert Altman's] 'The Long Goodbye' or [Roman Polanski's] 'Chinatown' and it's just about a private detective in Los Angeles."
A comedic take on those two L.A. noir private dick tales? Hell, sign us up. Presumably since Jody Hill is directing the picture it will have that hilariously acidic and mean-spirited comedic vibe that courses through all of the filmmakers project so far.
"I don't know why that is," McBride laughed at the mention of Hill's comedically bitter take. "I think Jody loves to push the envelope, he loves to take audiences into very uncomfortable places and David likes to push that envelope in different ways, he loves when shit gets silly and crazy. Both of those guys are trying to blaze a path for audiences that aren't typical, but I think what gets those guys off creatively and comically are two different things."
Either way, the Rough House Pictures crew seems to be chugging along nicely and a McBride directorial vehicle could be just another spin on their DIY comedic bent. More from this interview later in the week. "Your Highness" opens on April 8.