While the mild-mannered Jason Bateman and the zaftig Melissa McCarthy may not be the likeliest of Hollywood hotshots, they are about to release the highest-profile comedy of the year so far with “Identity Thief” this Friday, and the two have capitalized on the film’s buzz by announcing their respective exciting next ventures.
McCarthy in particular revealed a sweeping master plan. Together with her husband Ben Falcone (“Bridesmaids,” “Identity Thief”), she has formed a new production company called On the Day, with three projects in development. Universal has already picked up “Michelle Darnell,” based on a character created by McCarthy. She will be starring as well as co-writing the script with Falcone and fellow Groundlings alum Steve Mallory. No word yet on who this undoubtedly outrageous Michelle character is. Other On the Day projects include “Cousin Irv from Mars,” based on the forthcoming book by “The New Yorker” cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan, evidently about a boy and his cousin from Mars. Lastly, On the Day has joined Fox’s existing project, an adaptation of the book “Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives For 101 Days (No Excuses!).” THR reports that McCarthy and Falcone will take a pass on writing the script, and that McCarthy has signed on for a role.
On top of that, THR just announced that McCarthy and Falcone are in talks to co-direct and star in “Tammy,” an old, post-“Bridemaids” project set-up at New Line. Set up quickly after “Bridesmaids” turned her into a breakout star, “Tammy” centers on a woman who is laid off from her job and discovers her husband is having an affair. Angered and upset, she decides to go on a road trip with her alcoholic, foul-mouthed, diabetic grandmother. The script is based on a character created by McCarthy according to the trade. Someone's about to have a banner next few years.
Meanwhile, though we all wish that Jason Bateman would give the potential “Arrested Development” movie his undivided attention, it seems he has other projects coming down the pike as well. His production company Aggregate Films has announced that it will join up with others to produce “Game Night,” starring Bateman. The idea comes from a pitch by Mark Perez (“The Country Bears,” “Accepted”) about a couples game night turned murder mystery. We’re getting a serious “Horrible Bosses” vibe, and the Deadline story corroborates our suspicion. Bateman just wrapped “Bad Words,” his directorial debut starring himself and -- wouldn’t you know it -- Ben Falcone. Looks like despite the identity theft, everyone came out buddies.
1/5/15 Update: MICHELLE DARNELL will be released on Friday, April 8, 2016.