By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 14, 2012 at 11:39AM
Few companies have had as much success with the romantic comedy as British studio Working Title Films. While the company have had something of a banner year, thanks to the success of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Senna," "Johnny English Reborn" and "Contraband," they were built on the rom-com, and particularly those of Richard Curtis, including "Four Weddings And A Funeral," "Notting Hill" and "Bridget Jones' Diary." However, it's a few years since they've really tackled the genre -- 2008's "Definitely Maybe" is actually one of the better entries in recent years, but it never caught on at the box office.
It's appropriate, then, that on Valentine's Day the news has broken that the company have set up a project that could do for the current generation what Curtis' films did for the 1990s. Variety reports that the company are gearing up to make "I Give It A Year," which will mark the directorial debut of Oscar-nominated "Borat" scribe Dan Mazer, and rising star Rafe Spall is in talks to topline the project.
Mazer is Sacha Baron Cohen's longtime writing and producing partner, going back to "Da Ali G Show," and has form at the company, having penned for them "Eurovision" (a potential vehicle for Baron Cohen) and the rom-com "Lost For Words" (co-written with Richard Curtis' brother Jamie) -- neither got made, but clearly he's a favorite there. The film follows an odd couple as they face the trials and tribulations of their first year of marriage, with Spall looking likely to play the husband.
The actor, the son of veteran character actor Timothy Spall, isn't yet a household name, but he's become one of the most exciting actors in Britain over the last few years, thanks to performances like the one opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor in TV show "The Shadow Line" and on stage currently with Sally Hawkins at the Royal Court Theatre in "Constellations." American audiences perhaps know him best as one of the two Andys in "Hot Fuzz," alongside Paddy Considine, but he was also recently the best thing in both "One Day," as Anne Hathaway's hapless boyfriend, and featured in "Anonymous" as William Shakespeare, and he'll next crop up as part of the ensemble cast of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus."
It's early days yet, but Mazer is a genuinely funny man, and Spall is incapable of giving an uninteresting performance, so we've got high hopes, and look forward to hearing more, particularly in terms of Spall's co-star. StudioCanal are financing the project, and shooting will get underway in London in the next few months. Could we see this for Valentine's Day next year?