Indie comedy "The English Teacher" is about to get an infusion of 1990's-flavored star power. Julianne Moore has signed on to play the title role, with Greg Kinnear in an unspecified supporting position (filthy!). Moore plays a small-town high school educator who has to deal with the unannounced return of a star pupil who crashed and burned trying to start a career in New York City. Moore eventually convinces the former student to direct his unproduced play at the high school, which yields all sorts of misunderstandings. Frankly, we'd rather see Amber Waves in this role than Moore, but perhaps that's our old high school teacher fantasies flaring up again. And again. And right there, again.
The script is from Dan and Stacy Chariton, and shooting is to begin next month in New York. The director is Craig Zisk, a TV helmer from Showtime's stable, cutting his teeth on episodes of "Weeds" and "The Big C" among others. Which is appropriate, because this kind of sounds like bad TV.
Maybe it's the fact that this plot pivots around a horribly unprofessional move by Moore's character. Or that it's probably the result of struggling writers who wish they were coddled by a Julianne Moore-type. Or that you can see it from a mile away, that there's going to be inappropriate sexual tension between the teacher and her former student. Or that Moore, so good in so many movies, is also an actress that can be just a disaster when forced into comedic situations. Mostly, it's Zisk's background that gives pause: this is just going to be like a terrible Showtime pilot that never got picked up, isn't it?