By Simon Dang | The Playlist November 11, 2010 at 2:07AM
After carving a successful screenwriting career penning blockbusters for such directors as Michael Bay ("Transformers") J.J. Abram's ("Star Trek," "Mission Impossible 3") and Jon Favreau ("Cowboys & Aliens") as well as producing television shows like "Fringe" and "Alias," one half of the renowned writing duo of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci is set to venture solo into the world of directing with Kurtzman plotting production on his directorial debut.
The project in question is a family drama Kurtzman wrote titled "Welcome To People," which has been slowly coming together and -- last we heard -- had the writer's 'Trek' leading man Chris Pine in talks for the lead role. The actor is now reportedly a lock for the project and will also be joined by the versatile Elizabeth Banks who's set to take the female lead in the story centering on "a twenty-something man who, after the death of his father, must deliver $150,000 in cash to an alcoholic sister he didn’t know he had, as well as her son, a 12-year-old with major anger management issues. The man doesn’t want to part with the money but still reaches out to them without telling them who he really is."
The role was evidently one that was highly sought-after having been name dropped by Hilary Swank in a recent Hollywood Reporter Actresses' Roundtable as one she actively chased. "There was a script I fell in love with just back in August that was sent to me," Swank explained. "It's a first time director but a well known writer and I read the script and I said 'I want to meet you' and he was like ' oh wow, great.' I went in and I didn't get it."
Coincidentally though, another actress on the table had also been in contention. "I'm not getting into this," Amy Adams joked after being cut out, before noting "here's what I will say, I felt that -- at this time -- with my daughter being a baby, I couldn't go there emotionally and still be there for her in a way an infant deserved... it's hard to like to let go with something that's really good that you feel emotionally attached to but I felt like this was my first my first career/mom decision where If I went to work and played this girl every day and came home, I'm not going to have the experience [I want]."
It certainly sounds like a script that's got some meat on the bones, having resonated with some top-tier talent. As for Banks who is largely known for her comedic roles, with this and the upcoming "The Next Three Days," it certainly seems she's looking to broaden her palette and we intrigued to see her in what will likely be her grittiest part to date. Shooting is set to begin in early 2011 with Kurtzman producing with Orci through their Paper Products shingle and Bobby Cohen.