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Michael Bacall Scores with '21 Jump Street' & 'Project X'; Sequels in the Works, Plus Cruise's Len Grossman

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood March 20, 2012 at 8:30AM

It's good to be Michael Bacall. The actor-screenwriter's "21 Jump Street" and "Project X" have both raked in a pretty penny at the recent box office. "21" opened this past weekend to $35 million, while "X" has come out of two weekends with $48 million - and both are getting sequels. Bacall shares story credits with "21" star Jonah Hill (who revealed that the sequel had been greenlit last month), and Matt Drake for "X," but he's currently credited as the sole writer of the latter's sequel. Check out GQ's interview with Bacall here, in which he explains how he boarded "21" (through Hill) and applauds Channing Tatum; "He annihilates in the movie. It's as if we wrote the role specifically for him, which we didn't."
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Michael Bacall
GQ

It's good to be Michael Bacall. The actor-screenwriter's "21 Jump Street" and "Project X" have both raked in a pretty penny at the recent box office. "21" opened this past weekend to $35 million, while "X" has come out of two weekends with $48 million - and both are getting sequels. Bacall shares story credits with "21" star Jonah Hill (who revealed that the sequel had been greenlit last month), and Matt Drake for "X," but he's currently credited as the sole writer of the latter's sequel. Check out GQ's interview with Bacall here, in which he explains how he boarded "21" (through Hill) and applauds Channing Tatum; "He annihilates in the movie. It's as if we wrote the role specifically for him, which we didn't."

Bacall's handful of acting credits ("Inglourious Bastards," "This Boys Life," "Hey Arnold!" and "The Wonder Years") were followed by his emergence as a screenwriter with 2003's "Bookies" (straight to DVD via Sundance) and 2010's "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" (he co-wrote with director Edgar Wright).

Looking forward, Bacall has Paramount's untitled Len Grossman Project with Tom Cruise (inspired by his character in "Tropic Thunder"), which he promises will have "some real emotion and heart," thanks to Cruise; the film's tone should fall somewhere between that of "X" and "21." Bacall tells Cinemablend that "Tom has a lot of knowledge about studio politics. And that was the trick." A draft is with Paramount.

Bacall also has a few projects in development, including remake "The King of Kong" for New Line with writer-director Seth Gordon ("Horrible Bosses"), Universal's "Little Girl Lost" with "50/50" director Jonathan Levine, and pea dispenser comedy "Psycho Funky Chimp" set up at MTV with producer Todd Phillips, which seems to have stalled. Well, it can't ALL be going right.
 

This article is related to: In The Works, Franchises, Box Office, Box Office, Screenwriters


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.