"Cedar Rapids" is about to hit this weekend, but it seems like a year ago, Ed Helms was about to explode. His future ended up being a lot quieter, with a few projects announced suddenly fading away. We chatted with Helms, who can be seen in "The Hangover 2" and "Jeff Who Lives At Home" this year, during the "Cedar Rapids" junket -- more on that later this week -- and got him to share details on a few of his upcoming films.
Helms continues work on the untitled Civil War comedy announced almost two years ago, though it doesn't sound like it will arrive anytime soon. Produced by Steve Carrell, the film would have Helms playing one of a trio of Civil War re-enactors sent back into time with an African American history professor. "That's in Development at Warner Bros. and Steve's producing it," Helms says, noting Carrell won't be co-starring in the film. "I wrote that with my writing partner [Jacob Fleisher], now it's just sort of in the development hopper. Excited about that."
He's deeper in development on "Central Intelligence." The comedy, which was set to start shooting last summer for director Dean Parisot ("Fun With Dick And Jane"), would have Helms playing an accountant who re-connects with an old friend, only to end up getting involved in a spy conspiracy. "We're right in the trenches in that, trying to get that together," Helms said, hesitant to commit to talking about a project that still doesn't have a green light. "It could be off to the races, or dead in the water [this week]."
Don't look out for "A Whole New Hugh," however. First announced in 2007, the film was being shepherded to the screen by producer Judd Apatow, with a storyline involving a man experiencing new success in his life thanks to his friends' lies and deception. "There's nothing really there," he shrugged, "Nothing to talk about there. We wrote a script for Judd and it's just sorta on the shelf right now."
Helms also continues work on "The Office," though the show's lead, Carrell, is departing the highly-rated sitcom. Speaking of this pivotal season of the show, he says, "We're in this incredibly exciting transition phase, and Will Ferrell is coming on next week, which is insane." As for who is taking Carrel's place, Helms would not budge. "All they have told us is that it will sort of work itself out over a few episodes. They're not really gonna give us the cold hard facts. It will be something all the characters are vying for. I don't know if someone's gonna step into that position, or if the position is going to change. We just have such an incredible staff, anyone could step in, even temporarily."
"Cedar Rapids," Helms's first starring vehicle and one that he carries, quite well we might add, hits theaters this weekend, February 11 in limited release.